Top management powered by team of women at Community State Bank
Community State Bank has been serving its customers and its community for more than 115 years. In that time, the Bank has evolved and adapted with changes in the workplace and in the culture at large. Today, women hold most of the top management positions at Community State Bank.
“I think it’s amazing that Community State Bank has several female senior vice presidents and that many decisions are made by women,” said Kathy Nichols, Senior Vice President of Retail. “And I see other businesses doing the same.”
Community State Bank has five female senior vice presidents in varying fields and specialties, with a collective 118 years in financial services and 68 with the Bank.
“Financial services is traditionally a male-dominated industry. It’s taken our organization a few years to intentionally promote women to leadership positions,” said Jennifer Canelos, Senior Vice President of Marketing. “The Bank did not promote a woman to an officer position until the early 1980s. We’re a 115-year-old company. We’ve gone from a bank in which males held all the key positions to one with women at the helm who are getting the job done.”
We’ve gone from an all-male-dominated bank to one that has women at the helm who are getting the job done
Kathy Nichols also said the Bank truly believes in promoting from within. If a member of her team really wants to grow with the Bank, she focuses on mentoring them and creating a development plan. It’s a wonderful way for the women working for the Bank to start moving their way up the corporate ladder.
Community State Bank is not only committed to its employees, it’s equally committed to its customers. The Bank views building customer relationships as the most important part of doing business.
“Employees genuinely care for our customers and they’re empowered to do what’s right for them,” Canelos said. “Every company wants their customers to have an exceptional experience. I see our employees actually delivering on that value proposition. It’s what sets us apart from other financial institutions.”
One way Community State Bank lives up to this promise is with its Customer Care center. The Bank has real people who answer customer calls, rather than funneling them through an automated system. When customers call, they don’t hear a robotic voice, but a live person.
“I think our customers sense a feeling of true community,” Nichols said. “They’re not an account number, they’re important to us. We project that to our customers through our interactions with them, day-in and day-out.”
While employees cultivate personal connections with customers, they also maintain connections with each other.
Personal connections with others are an important part of emotional intelligence. Several studies have found that women are consistently more skilled in emotional intelligence than men. A study published in March 2016 showed that women outperformed men in 11 of 12 emotional intelligence competencies, including inspirational leadership, coaching and mentoring, organizational awareness, and adaptability.
A Gallup study found that female managers consistently outscored their male peers in engaging employees. And a Peterson Institute study has linked the rise of women in leadership roles to increased profitability.
“We’re seeing a shift in thinking and rationale across industries as far as women are concerned,” Canelos said. “We see it every day as we assist women in starting their own businesses and taking charge of their finances. As for us as a Bank, we have motivated, brilliant young women working in the Bank who will follow in our footsteps someday, and I’m very excited about that.”