By Lindsay LaNore
Reimagining traditional leadership concepts and pushing the industry forward is imperative to carrying on the incredible legacy of community banking. Through events like ICBA’s LEAD FWD Summit, we’re able to unite the community banking industry’s next generation of leaders, bringing forth their passion for the great work that we do while teaching them how to think creatively, strive for greatness, and help our industry thrive for years to come through innovation and strength.
ICBA’s LEAD FWD will be held this September in Louisville, Ky. Melissa Kohlsdorf and Cindy Ebert of The Growth Collaborative are two of the renowned speakers who will join us. They will challenge LEAD FWD Summit participants to “Lead with Vision” and reignite their passion to serve and hunger to grow.
I recently spoke with Kohlsdorf and Ebert to explore what it means to lead with vision and how it can benefit community banks and their customers.
Why did your company decide to get involved with the LEAD FWD Summit?
The Growth Collaborative is all about growth! There is nothing better than surrounding ourselves with those who are hungry for more—actively seeking opportunities to strengthen their skillset and increase awareness. ICBA has top-notch programming, and we are so excited to bring something new to those knowledge seekers!
What should attendees expect from the “LEAD with Vision” session?
The “LEAD with Vision” workshop walks participants through new ways to think about development, leadership, and success, giving them a visual representation of their aspirations AND actionable steps to get there. Conferences and events like LEAD FWD are instrumental in generating new ideas and renewed energy, which can be hard to maintain. Our workshop provides leaders with a touchstone to help them refocus when feeling challenged.
Fueling leadership skills and industry knowledge is critical for community bankers these days. What advice would you offer to help them continue to grow?
It’s common to get stuck in a developmental rut. Here are a couple of unconventional tips we recommend to shake up your day:
- Visit your local bookstore magazine rack and select something you would NEVER intentionally read. You will not only discover new industries and perspectives, but also parallels that apply to your role and organization.
- Go outside. Ditch the office or conference room and invite team members (or mentors, peers, contacts, etc.) to a nearby park—or even just a stroll around the block. Have a few themes or ideas ready to “free-think” on and see where the conversation takes you.
- Tap into your local university. Take a professor that heads the business department to coffee and explore his or her insights into the teachings and theory behind business leadership.
As former bankers turned leadership and sales consultants, what motivates you?
Our passion lies in melding banks, small business, and their communities together. We believe community banks are integral to the viability and vitality of Main Street America. Strong leadership and vision is imperative to move the community banking legacy forward, and LEAD FWD is an opportunity for banks to invest in those areas.
What would you say to community bankers contemplating attendance at this year’s LEAD FWD Summit?
Knowledge is never wasted. Even if you leave the conference with ONE new idea, it could be the seed for key actions, behaviors or opportunities that can make an impact for years to come. The connections and new resources are invaluable. This event is such an easy way to recognize emerging leaders, encourage and support personal and professional growth, and create change agents within your organization.
Lindsay LaNore is group executive vice president of ICBA's Community Banker University.