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2018 40 Under 40: Sarah Russell, 34

Private banking manager and senior vice president, Arvest Bank

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At Arvest Bank, Sarah Russell is called on to develop process improvements within the banking industry.

“I have worked tirelessly with executive leadership to develop and execute a model in Springfield that can be duplicated throughout our entire footprint,” she says of one of several projects, that also include a banker accountability program.

Since joining Arvest in 2016, Russell says she’s helped increase loan production by $11 million. She also loans her talents to civic efforts, such as leadership and fundraising roles with Junior League of Springfield, Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Children’s Haven of Southwest Missouri and the Foundation for Springfield Public Schools.

What was your first job? A cashier at Tractor Supply Co. in Joplin, my hometown.

What are you doing to make the Ozarks better? Someone told me a long time ago that if you’re going to live here, you need to participate here. So I make sure to balance what I get from the community with what I give back.

What was your professional aha moment? The first time I told a client “I don’t know the answer to that, but I’ll find out,” and the client was fine with that. It made me aware that my clients realize I can’t possibly have all the answers. If I am honest with them and follow through, they’ll maintain trust in me.

What did you learn the hard way? When it comes to family, work and community, I have to be able to say “no” to some things to keep my balance.

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