Over 135 current and future leaders of Wisconsin’s banking industry gathered in Wisconsin Dells on June 11-12 for the WBA BOLT Summer Leadership Summit. The Summits, held twice per year, are the premier networking and professional development opportunities for the BOLT Section, which is organized to build the industry’s future leaders.

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Wipfli’s Julia Johnson opened this year’s Summer Summit with a session on how to solve people problems. In this roll-up-your-sleeves interactive session, Johnson taught attendees an empowering methodology to assist in solving the people problems all leaders are faced with. After a quick coffee break, attendees listened to a panel of experts as they discussed fintech and banking, focusing on what’s next and what Wisconsin bankers need to know.

After lunch, attendees picked two of three different breakout sessions to attend. The first, Meaningful Performance Evaluations with Citizens Bank, Mukwonago Vice President – Human Resources Sarah Oberthaler, highlighted the importance of getting performance evaluations right in order to support an organization’s accountability structure and help leaders build strong relationships with their team. Oberthaler discussed the latest trends in performance evaluations and how all leaders can effectively use the tools their organization offers to develop their teams. The second breakout, led by sales coach and strategic advisor Joe Micallef, Grow Up Sales, highlighted seven common business development mistakes to avoid and how they limit a banker’s ability to win more business. The third breakout option, led by WBA Executive Vice President – Chief Operations Officer Mike Semmann, described the role of advocacy in community banking and highlighted ways that bankers can participate in their association's ongoing efforts to defend and promote the banking industry.

After the breakouts, attendees split off into smaller groups for peer discussion, organized by role. Groups included marketing, commercial lending, and retail management.

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To end the first day of the conference, all attendees reconvened for a closing general session with Sundeep Kapur, Digital Credence. During his presentation, Beyond 2020: People, Process, Technology, Kapur invited attendees to explore how they can insert themselves and their bank into the center of each customer relationship, even as consumer choices expand due to technology. The session also discussed how to discover what customers truly want, what it takes to become a customer’s primary financial institution, and how to leverage emerging technology as an enabler.

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Above: Attendees got moving during Kapur's presentation.

Day 2 kicked off early for the bankers who chose to join Kapur for a sunrise yoga session. After breakfast, speaker and consultant Sarah Noll Wilson opened the conference with a session on how to close the gap between intention and impact. Together, Noll Wilson and attendees explored how leaders can more clearly evaluate their intentions and impact, so they can do great work.

Sarah Noll Wilson

Sarah Noll Wilson

Marci Malzahn

Marci Malzahn

After the ever-popular speed networking session, during which attendees got to know other BOLT attendees and discussed current issues and trends in banking, Marci Malzahn closed the conference with her powerful session, Maximize Your Life Story: Leadership Lessons Learned. Malzahn, president and founder of Malzahn Strategic, shared her inspirational story of an immigrant who started a community bank and helped it grow to over $300 million in assets in less than 10 years. Malzahn encouraged community bankers not to give up the fight and stay in the game, and she shared ways for community banks to thrive while in competition with much larger financial institutions. She shared leadership lessons learned through her life, and attendees walked away inspired to share and maximize their own life stories.

Join us next time!

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Don’t miss out on the upcoming BOLT Winter Leadership Summit, scheduled for Nov. 7! Sign up for your BOLT membership today!

Click here to check out more photos from the BOLT Summer Leadership Summit on Facebook!