You recently joined Guaranty Bank from DoubleTree Hotel. Why change industries at this point in your career – especially when O’Reilly Hospitality Management LLC is expanding the property to join the adjacent Fairfield Inn, both of which you were slated to manage sales for?
Hospitality was a great career, but nothing I planned. When working at Guaranty Bank came up, it was a perfect fit to work in Springfield and be invested in the community, which is the kind of culture I came from. It was really just the timing of the Guaranty role being open, and also knowing that I was leaving everything at O’Reilly in such good hands. When I left, the former sales manager, Tyler Hart, was promoted to my role as director of sales. I knew he would do a good job taking the role forward. Knowing that made it easier to move.
What was appealing to you about the banking industry?
I wanted a position where I could still work with all the businesses in Springfield. So it was somewhat similar to what I was doing in the hospitality industry, but sort of on a deeper level than what I was doing before.
What did the transition look like?
A lot of what I do is essentially selling the bank to businesses, which is something I’ve done the last 10 years. The banking industry, however, is very regulated. So there is a lot to learn in terms of protecting the customers’ information. The biggest change has been learning all the banking regulations.
How did you prepare to move to banking?
I’m starting a college course called Principles of Banking. There is a lot to learn, and it’ll give me a good foundation. I’m also in an online training program and have a mentor I was matched with. There was not a lot I could do beforehand, so I’m kind of learning as I go.
What do you recommend for someone making a career change to banking?
Really research the bank that you’re thinking of going to. Because even though many banks offer the same services, the bank itself and the culture and people will truly make the difference. Make sure you’re OK with working in an industry that is highly regulated, because there are a lot of rules and regulations that you have to follow – there is no choice, and it’s all for a good reason. But make sure that’s not something that will frustrate you. Also, realize there is so much room for growth and personal development. I’ve met so many people who started as a teller and are now in management. Our CEO Shaun Burke started as a teller.
What is the No. 1 thing you’ve learned about the banking industry?
How much more personal, friendly and relationship-driven it is. I didn’t realize how there could be such a culture of regulation, but also a lot of things that we can do to change, improve, be better and offer better customer service. Even though it is highly regulated, there are plenty of things, especially at a local bank, that we can do to offer the best customer service. One way of doing this is upcoming video teller machines, which will eventually be in all of our branches. It’s similar to an ATM, but when you walk up to the system, you are able to connect via video with a teller at our banking center. It can dispense change to the penny and is much more sophisticated than an ATM.
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