Bankers from around the state gathered in Wisconsin Dells from Oct. 24-25 to network and hone their skills in marketing, sales, retail banking, and consumer education. WBA’s annual LEAD360 Conference featured sessions with expert speakers as well as peer-led workshops and panel discussions, all designed to help the over 100 attendees grow in their positions.

With 10 different breakout sessions catering to many areas of banking, attendees created their own combination of sessions to maximize their educational experience at the conference. The four general sessions at the conference featured presentations on a variety of topics, including how to effectively manage five generations of employees and serve five generations of customers, strategies to gain competitive advantages, surviving disruption and achieving sustainable growth, and the power of personal branding.

The breakfast session on the second day of the conference was sponsored by the Wisconsin Bankers Foundation and featured the annual Wisconsin Bankers Foundation Excellence in Financial Education Awards, which recognize banks and individual bankers for their dedication to promoting financial education in Wisconsin. This year, a total of 406 bankers from across the state reported over 1,200 personal finance presentations. Those volunteer bankers educated more than 55,000 consumers of all ages about the importance of saving and budgeting, how to use credit responsibly, the ins and outs of obtaining a home mortgage or car loan, and many more financial topics. In the month of April alone, in conjunction with Teach Children to Save Day, bankers from over 40 institutions reported nearly 400 presentations that reached over 23,000 students.

This year’s top winners include:

Financial Literacy Banker Awards

                Jay Krcmar, Farmers State Bank of Waupaca

                Karen Kothbauer, The Baraboo National Bank

Wisconsin Teach Children to Save Day Award

                Luke Manke and Lori Stokes, Royal Bank

Banker of the Year Award

                Kay Carlson, Farmers & Merchants Bank & Trust, Marinette

This year’s Financial Education Innovation Award, which recognizes a bank or individual banker who contributed a new or innovative approach to financial education, or has exhibited exemplary dedication to expanding financial education in their community, was presented to Waukesha State Bank in recognition of their “Money and a Movie” programs, which brought teenagers and their parents together at the cinema for a financial education presentation and free movie at two separate events, both of which were well-attended.

Thank you to all of the bankers who dedicate their time and talents to promoting consumer education in Wisconsin.

You can view the full list of winning individuals and banks online at If you have any questions about the Wisconsin Bankers Foundation Excellence in Financial Education Awards, please contact WBA’s Amber Seitz at 608-441-1237 or