By Lindsay LaNore
Investing in education and leadership training is vital to preparing the next generation of community bankers and key to any community bank’s succession planning strategy. I recently spoke with Bank of Missouri Regional President Aaron M. Panton to find out why he thinks ICBA’s LEAD FWD Summit is a must-attend annual event.
You’ve attended LEAD FWD event for five years and are planning to join us again in Louisville this September. What are you most looking forward to?
Leaders must constantly strive to improve both personally and professionally to remain effective within the organization. Getting an “outside” perspective is key and the LEAD FWD Summit helps fulfill that quest.
I always look forward to making new connections. Getting to know fellow bankers better and learning what they and their teams are navigating helps me tremendously.
Can you describe a valuable insight you’ve learned by attending?
Each year I am reminded how important it is to recharge, reconnect and plug into where the industry is heading. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and lose sight of what’s going on around you. I highly encourage all leaders, and those aspiring to be leaders, to take time to attend at least one development conference outside of the bank. The LEAD FWD Summit is a great step in fulfilling that commitment to yourself.
Tell us about some of your favorite speakers and topics.
Whoever is in charge of scheduling and selecting the keynote speakers each year has nailed it. My most memorable takeaways have been from speakers like Vinh Giang who talked about the “Power of Perspective” and Eric Boles who talked about how everyone has the ability to “grow from an acorn to an oak tree.”
Describe the LEAD FWD Summit in three words.
Relevant. Innovative. Motivating.
Your bank has sent multiple team members to the LEAD FWD Summit. Why?
Community banks need to have a strong succession planning strategy. ICBA provides the relevant and timely knowledge our bank leaders need to grow themselves and our business. For everything that the LEAD FWD Summit offers, the cost is incredibly reasonable. LEAD FWD has become a part of our team’s development planning process. The benefit of stepping away from the day-to-day shuffle, meeting new people in the industry, and working on leadership skills is truly a ‘must.’
How do you leverage your experience at the LEAD FWD Summit to help support your bank’s initiatives?
Here’s how I see it: if you’re not growing, you’re dying. I have heard many people share their opinions that technology is changing faster than ever, and it will never be this SLOW again! As a community bank, we need the network of other community bank leaders and advocates across the country to continue learning and growing. A team of talented people advocating for our industry’s best interests is crucial. Thank you, ICBA!
You have recently become more involved in ICBA particularly with the ICBA Education Committee. How has this impacted your leadership at the bank and view of the industry?
As you can see through some of my previous answers, I am passionate about remaining in a constant state of learning. After attending my first ICBA LEAD FWD Summit, I immediately saw how the event planning team is committed, talented and shares my passion for learning. I wanted to get more involved and a little closer to that energy (selfishly)!
What motivates you to move your bank forward?
I strive to provide constant value to our customers and community. The better we are as a bank at satisfying the needs of our customers, the better our community is. Staying up to speed on industry trends, learning and developing a higher skill set will only positively impact every one of our customers.
What would you tell community bankers who are on the fence about attending, or sending staff members to the LEAD FWD Summit?
DO it! You won’t be disappointed. Go with a purpose though—be selfish and take as much away as you possibly can to not only improve yourself, but to help make everyone else around you better, too.
Learn more about the 2018 LEAD FWD Summit. Register before Aug. 16 and save $200.
Lindsay LaNore is group executive vice president of ICBA's Community Banker University.