By Monica Dahl, SBA Relationship Manager at Core Bank.
I am, what the industry calls, an accidental banker. I started college headed for a degree in fashion merchandising and woke up one day as a branch manager of a bank. Life has a funny way of working out. As a branch manager I was able to have my hands on all things banking, some good, some not. I loved my clients and employees but the daily operations was monotonous to me. I was stuck in my branch most days. I didn’t realize I was unhappy until life stepped in again and pushed me to a new opportunity.
I joined a new bank in town that offered me the chance to start a small business banking division. Little did I know that decision would change my path completely!
Learning About Small Business
As I began to learn about small business, there where two “ah ha” moments.
1) I needed help and resources to understand what I didn’t know.
2) Most small businesses needed help and resources to understand what they didn’t know.
As silly as it sounds, the main difference in small and large business is lack of personal experience running a business. I wanted to reach beyond an order taker and be a true resource and partner to my clients. I began my mission to know who is who and what is what in small business.
What I found: Kansas City loves small business!!!
We have a wealth of resources available! KC Sourcelink is an entire website dedicated to connecting small businesses to their people, from classes to networking. We have TWO Small Business Development Centers that offer classes and counseling for little or no cost (funded by the SBA, state and local colleges)! The counselors are top notch with real experience. There are industry associations for practically all industries from associations for women owned businesses (NAWBO KC) to ones for re-modelers (NARI) to one for medical managers.
I found out women support women, there are dedicated communities to build up women in business, there’s even the Women’s Business Center!
I fell in love with helping small businesses…
I realized that even though Kansas City has all of these rich resources, business owners still felt alone and a large portion of them did not know about these resources. I then made it my goal to not only assist in the banking aspect of small business but to serve as a connector. I listen to my clients and then offer 360 resources to them to assist with their goals.
To be a part of growing someone’s dreams is truly amazing. I now have had the pleasure to see several of my clients from start up to kicking down their 1MM in sales goals (and higher). I have been a part of businesses buying their first building and shared in the happy tears. I can honestly say I have truly fallen in love with what I do and am blessed to be a part of it.
And now I am at Core Bank!
I recently had the opportunity to become a full time SBA lender at Core Bank. I was so very excited for this change for two reasons.
1) I TRULY believe in the benefits of SBA lending. I have seen the SBA program make dreams happen for clients and am so grateful to be able to offer this program as an expert at a bank that embraces the program to its fullest.
2) Core Bank has strong values. Coming from a bank with strong positive culture, I understand the benefits and the importance. Core has something called the “Recipe for Awesome”, it was laying on my desk my first day. There are 9 key elements and I would have to say these are the same 9 elements I live by. Passionate, Creative, Earned; not entitled, Honest, Humble, Diligent, Trustworthy, and Fun.
I strive daily to make sure I am all of these things. I am thankful for a bank that does also!