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By Michelle Johnson, Sr. SBA Portfolio Manager, Core Bank

Michelle Johnson | Core BankIn 2003, I unknowingly started my career in banking at a small town community bank in Salina, Kansas as a receptionist.

I quickly realized I had a passion for banking, building long lasting relationship with clients, and even the compliance piece of banking if you can believe it! I quickly excelled moving my way up the ladder to an AVP, Branch Administrator.

With over 10 years of retail banking and management experience, I wasn’t feeling challenged and decided it was time for me to make a change. Knowing I wanted to continue a banking career, I found an opportunity at a local bank to become an executive loan assistant. During my time with that bank, I also worked in credit until it was time for me to spread my wings and start making commercial loans of my own!

I’ve spent the last 5 years in commercial lending, specializing in SBA lending and portfolio management. The opportunity to move to Core Bank came about and it seemed as though the writing was on the wall for me. It was time to move onward and upward! The decision to work for Core Bank was an easy one. With a growing SBA presence in the Kansas City market and strong Midwest ties, it was the perfect fit for this small town girl!

Volunteer Work

There are so many children in our community and across the nation that are in need. They have a special place in my heart and I’ve taken great pride over the years to volunteer for some amazing organizations.

I served as a Volunteer Board Member for New Horizon Ranch Therapeutic Riding Center for two years. The center offers equine based therapy for disabled children and adults. I strongly believe in their mission and still support them wholeheartedly. Additionally, I previously volunteered nights and weekends at a local youth shelter and served on the board for Kiwanis.

Why a Criminal Justice Degree?

More times than not, I’m asked why I chose a Criminal Justice Degree. One of my proudest moments in life was when I obtained my Bachelor’s Degree from Fort Hays State University. I worked full time while putting myself through college. The hard work, endless nights, and emotional dedication was well worth the effort.

My ambition was to help children in need, and one of my biggest role models for doing so was my father. He was the Sheriff in our small town for 18 years. He was such a shining light in that community, always helping those in need, and doing everything in his power to make sure that the community was safe.

So, I chose Criminal Justice because law enforcement is ingrained in me. However, at the end of my education, I found that I was truly happy volunteering my time to children’s organizations and helping special needs or at risk youth while working in banking.

Ultimately, I had two passions that I found I could do simultaneously, and I am so glad that it worked out that way because I have the best of both worlds!