By Alicia Walker, SBA Relationship Manager, Core Bank Loan Production Office talking about a minority banking event focusing on collaboration, not competition.
The morning of September 27th, I couldn’t wait to wear my best dress/suit jacket combination and put on my new shoes. I had somewhere important to be! It was the first day of the annual Banking and the Economy: A Forum for Minority Bankers in Kansas City event. This event is a big deal and requires the “good suit.”
For the second year in a row, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, in partnership with the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Richmond and St. Louis, hosted an event for senior level and high potential middle management minority bankers.
The event agenda primarily focuses on the banking industry, the economy, and professional development topics to enhance our careers and networks. Yes, I said “our careers.” I’m proud to say the group of bankers in attendance comprised of minorities and women included me.
The event was attended by over 135 minority bankers, from more than 50 banks, in 20 states.
I always enjoy making new friends and connections (it sounds like I’m in high school.) Now, wait one minute! Did I say “make friends with others bankers, from other financial institutions?!” I sure did! Our focus was collaboration not competition. We were there to be exposed to ideas, information, and connections that could help us be better bankers for the communities and small businesses we’re passionate about serving. (Here are a few of my banker “friends from the east and west coast and in between.)
Now, here’s the part of my blog where I get to name drop…
At this year’s conference, I met some interesting and accomplished minorities in the banking industry, such as Governor Lael Brainard of the Federal Reserve System and Founder and Principal Herb Hardwick of Hardwick Law Firm and a former minority bank owner. And, I couldn’t wait to visit with and hear from one of my all-time “heroines” in banking, President and Chief Executive Officer Esther George of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. President George always gives an open and honest presentation on the U.S. Economy and Monetary Policy. (We took a nice picture together, didn’t we?)
As I conclude my blog, I’d like to leave you with a few words of wisdom I jotted down during the event. I found these ideas to be inspirational and helpful as I continue on this journey as a minority banker, and banker in general.
- Be intentional about the life you want to lead and the contribution you want to make. Live a life with no regrets.
- Pray in the morning, drink at night. (Because life gets complicated interesting.)
- Don’t be obsessed with past opportunities that got away; be obsessed with what is to come.
- Prioritize: You can have it all, just not all at the same time. Learn to say no to things that don’t align with your personal vision.
- Seek mentors who have “fruit on the tree” (Mentors who have proven success.)
- Seek mentors as you transition through each season of your life and career.
- Accept feedback as a gift.
Words of wisdom courtesy of President and CEO Esther George/Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Dionne King/Dionne M. King Consulting, Josh Davies/Center for Work Ethic Development, and Nicole Price/Lively Paradox.