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Chrys Craig took on her first leadership role when she was 8 years old, and she and her brother entered the foster care system.
“For me, my only objective was to make sure my brother, who was 5 years old, and I stayed together and we were safe,” she says. “Lucky for us, we were only in the foster care system for three years before a wonderful husband and wife adopted us into their family.”
Craig says the experience taught her a lot about herself and who she wanted to be as a person.
“Life is what you make it,” she says. “I approach any adversity with a can-do attitude and tenacious determination to overcome any obstacle with grace, dignity and humility.”
Today, Craig is first vice president and premier banking team leader at BancorpSouth. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business management with a minor in marketing while working full time. She also maintained a 4.0 GPA and was named to the president’s list at Capella University in Minneapolis.
In her role at BancorpSouth, one area of focus is developing the local banking department as a personal premier client manager. Her department provides concierge banking services, aiming to deepen client relationships and grow a new client base.
Prior to starting at BancorpSouth, Craig worked 14 years in various roles at U.S. Bank, from personal banker to associate vice president/private banking relationship manager. At U.S. Bank, she received accolades, including The Pinnacle Award, Top Regional Financial Specialist Award on multiple occasions, and Top Performer Region Award.
Craig says she was one of the first bankers to participate in Missouri’s Dollars and Sense Program. It was established by then-Gov. Bob Holden as a statewide partnership between banks and schools to teach children money management practices.
Craig says her adoptive parents taught her to be a productive member of society from an early age.
“They instilled in me the importance of being involved in your community and to do what you can to make the world a better place,” she says. “At an early age, I wanted to give back to my community to make it a better place, whether that was playing the piano for a local nursing home to residents to volunteering at my local church, to being a junior delegate at the state political convention.”
She has a long list of nonprofit volunteerism to show for it: Queen City Sertoma, Great Circle, Developmental Center of the Ozarks, The Salvation Army, Ozarks Food Harvest, Habitat for Humanity, United Way of the Ozarks, Rotary, Victory Mission, the American Heart Association and Crosslines.
Craig says she doesn’t believe in doing anything halfway, and that if she is in, she’s all in.
“Leadership is not about being in charge of everything at all times,” she says. “It is about finding your passion and then finding the right balance between delegating, participating and guiding those around you.”
SBJ interviews the interim dean at the William H. Darr College of Agriculture at Missouri State University.