Old National Bank celebrated its first Better Together Volunteer Days of service on September 28 and 29. The two-day event provided staff across Old National’s seven-state footprint the opportunity to volunteer together in the communities where they live and work.

Team members throughout our markets partnered with community organizations to serve food security organizations, seniors, community centers, and more.

There were virtual volunteer opportunities for those who could not participate in person. During the two days, 52% of employees from Wisconsin and the Quad Cities volunteered 511 hours with 10 non-profit organizations. Company-wide, 1,572 Old National team members were able to help 110 organizations, by volunteering 5,311 hours in seven states.

“As Old National grows geographically, serving in our communities really keeps us grounded in terms of our mission as a community bank,” said Kathy Schoettlin, chief brand and culture officer. “We’re excited for this opportunity to help strengthen our communities through volunteerism, and we’re proud of our team members for making service a real part of our company culture.”

Cary Madrigal with David Moyer, SVP of CSB, and Scott Huedepohl, CEO and President of CSB.

Roughly 150 guests including Racine County Sheriff’s Office gathered at Community State Bank in Union Grove on Wednesday, September 28 for the fourth annual Frank Lamping Community Service Award Celebration. This year’s award was presented to Racine County Sheriff’s Office Captain Cary Madrigal (Thompson).

Named in Lamping’s honor, the award was created in 2019 to acknowledge and celebrate a community member who exemplifies positivity, selflessness, leadership, and inspires others to give back to the community.

“I don’t put myself in a class with Frank,” said Madrigal. “He’s in a class all on his own. To be nominated for this award is humbling. I can honestly say that I love serving this community and am honored to have accepted this award.”

As an award recipient, Madrigal was also gifted $1,000 to donate to a non-profit organization of her choice. As a long-time friend of Frank Lamping, Madrigal was motivated to donate her funds to the Go Frank Go Foundation, which was created to inspire local youth to be involved in their community and to “live like Frank.” At the event, Madrigal encouraged attendees to make a donation to support the foundation and she raised an additional $821.

“Cary is so deserving of this award. She dedicates so much of her time towards protecting and supporting our community. We’re very grateful she chose the Go Frank Go Foundation as her donation recipient,” said Foundation Board Member Jason Callewaert.

Madrigal is a lifetime resident of Union Grove. She attended school in Union Grove and raised her three children in the same community. In 2001 Madrigal applied for an opportunity with the Racine County Sheriff’s Office and has now served as deputy sheriff to multiple divisions, sensitive crimes investigator, sergeant, lieutenant, and currently as captain.

Madrigal has also donated her time to support local organizations such as American Cancer Society – Relay for Life, Yorkville 4-H, St. Mary’s in Dover, Sexual Assault Services of Racine (previous board member), and Union Grove Union High School Mental Health Steering Committee (member). She has also volunteered for several years as the main officer for Community State Bank’s financial literacy program, MyLIFE.

“We’re honored to have presented this award to Cary. She is the epitome of ‘living like Frank’… selfless, humble, and putting her community first. Thank you Cary for all that you do in our community and congratulations,” said CSB Senior Vice President and Market President David Moyer.

In honor of Madrigal and her service in law enforcement, Community State Bank will fly the thin blue line flag at their Union Grove location during the month of October. Additionally, CSB will fly the flag in January during Law Enforcement Appreciation Month to honor all local law enforcement for their dedication to the community.

Community State Bank plans on organizing a committee each year to nominate future inspiring leaders. The nominating committee for the 2022 Frank Lamping Community Service Award included: Julie Moyer (stand-in for 2021 Award Recipient James Moyer), Matthew Newholm, Eugene Bower, Donald Meredith, and Barbara Geschke.

Wisconsin bankers reflect on the importance of women in industry leadership roles

By Hannah Flanders

In Wisconsin, we are lucky to not only see a growing number of women emerging into leadership positions in banks across the state, but to be surrounded by women in leadership who advocate on behalf of our industry each day.

Women Leading Wisconsin’s Banks

As of September 2022, women in the position of president and/or chief executive officer represented 16* of the over 170 banks in the state. While this number has grown over the course of the last several years, a lack of female mentors and leaders advocating on behalf of their female peers is often cited as a reason why the banking industry continues to be heavily male dominated.

Unfortunately, the stark gender disparity often begins even before individuals enter the workforce. According to UW–Madison’s School of Business, the school has 66% male alumni and only 34% female. This issue is not just the case in Wisconsin. Gender inequality is seen throughout the country at many of the largest business schools and is often reflected in the number of women pursuing careers in banking or finance.

Donna Hoppenjan, president and CEO of Platteville’s Mound City Bank and chair-elect of the WBA Board of Directors, states that “women bankers need to be confident and surround themselves with successful leaders in banking.” To her, a critical aspect of this success is having the confidence to attend training and to build relationships with bankers from other institutions.

It is without a doubt that the banking industry has come a long way — even since the turn of the century. According to Jenny Provancher, CEO of The Equitable Bank S.S.B. in Wauwatosa, leaders today are more likely to find a more diverse mix of both male and female decision makers, rather than there being only one or a few women in the room.

“The true nature of a woman is to be in a leadership role, not to change others, but to be the change we wish to see and then lead by example. The world of banking is changing at a rapid pace; what better time than now to encourage our women bankers to pursue leadership positions and lead by example.”

“For us women fortunate to be in a leadership role, we need to make sure we are visible and serve as mentors. We also need to encourage and develop women early in their career. Awareness of the opportunities is a must.”

Creating Opportunities to Grow

In addition to encouraging team members to attend conferences and training events, and network with other professionals — bankers agree that creating a space where every individual feels they have the opportunity to learn, grow, and advance in their careers is a critical step in ensuring that qualified individuals are able to reach their full potential, no matter their gender.

Hoppenjan states that the best reward of working in leadership is empowering others to make decisions and allowing them to grow in their positions.

Dawn Staples, president of Superior Savings Bank, noted that she was able to forge her own opportunities by having the confidence to volunteer and assist on other projects throughout the bank during her down time.

“I was connected to, and mentored by, some pretty seasoned supervisors, employees, and management from all areas of the bank by doing this,” she states. Bankers agree that confidence, and the ability to advocate for yourself and your abilities, is a critically important factor in establishing a team player and a leader.

“I believe a diverse group of people who have the skills needed to fill leadership positions is needed — a qualified mixture.”

“Be open to learning by showing enthusiasm and saying yes to new projects outside of your comfort zone that build your résumé and expand your expertise.”

Gender Diversity Allows for a Well-Rounded Board

In the board room, diversity is key not only in best serving all members of the community but in recognizing the strengths of every team member. The American Banker magazine reported that the push for greater opportunity for women in executive positions must start at the top. This means more gender diversified boards will recruit diverse CEOs who will ultimately recognize the efforts of and promote a greater diversity of individuals into leadership positions.

As Provancher puts it, “[individuals should] surround themselves with good people who don’t see gender as an impediment to success.”

Peshtigo National Bank President Kelly Heroux states that “the banking industry is changing at an exponential pace, and new opportunities are constantly developing. Women who have the motivation and drive to take on leadership roles will excel in this industry.”

In this, leaders should not only invest in the professional development of women in the bank but ensure there is representation at every level.

Heroux adds that both men and women have attributes that can be leveraged within the bank. “It’s important [as a leader] to know your own abilities and your colleagues’ strengths, then build your teams around those qualities.”

“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers, you cannot be successful or happy.”

“Out of high school when I didn’t know what I wanted to go to college for, my dad said: ‘Go down to the Savings and Loan and see about getting a part time job there — the people are nice. While you decide what to go to school for, learn everything you can about everything; you never know when it will come in handy.’”

“Women often pay great attention to detail and have the ability to juggle multiple projects simultaneously. In addition, a woman’s perspective at the table brings another viewpoint that hasn’t always been considered in the past.”

“Sometimes the best thing you can do for a loan customer is to tell them no.”

Leading Our Leaders

The Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA) has been led by Rose Oswald Poels since 2011. In 2016, the Board of Directors welcomed its first female Chair Cynthia Erdman, who at that time served at Partnership Bank, Tomah, and is currently with Farmers and Merchants Bank of Kendall. Additionally, the Association is expected to welcome Donna Hoppenjan as WBA’s second woman as chair of the Board in the coming year.

Several women have served in leadership roles at Wisconsin’s Department of Financial Institutions (DFI), the state’s regulatory agency, including Secretary-designee Cheryll Olson-Collins, her predecessor Kathy Blumenfeld, and the division of banking’s Acting Administrator Kim Swissdorf.

Not only do these women at DFI and WBA play a substantial role in supporting the state’s banking industry, working tirelessly to advocate on behalf of all Wisconsin bankers at both the state and federal levels, for many, they serve as examples of mentors of powerful women in our industry and encourage more women every year to pursue their passions, break stereotypes, and create opportunities for both themselves and their institutions.

“I believe that an institution is doing their stakeholders — both internally and externally — a disservice if they were not promoting based on merit.”

“It is extremely inspiring and encouraging to see so many more women in executive roles in banking than ever before. Work hard and don’t be afraid to be the loudest voice in the room.”

Recognizing the Strength of Women in Leadership Roles

One frequently cited barrier to women holding leadership positions is stereotyping. In banking, male leadership has been at the forefront for centuries and unfortunately our society has been slow to recognize the misconceptions placed on women taking on these positions.

Staples states that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to the challenges women often face when looking to expand their career, however, it’s important to not give up.

Although our society as a whole has become increasingly more accepting of women in positions of power, women are often being held to a higher standard than men. According to a Pew Research Center study conducted in 2018, 60% of people say that women have to do more to prove themselves than men to become top executives in businesses.

“Misconceptions such as leading too emotionally, distractions at home, and work/life imbalance affect all leaders — not just women,” said Heroux.

As our business practices and societal norms continue to evolve throughout the 21st century, many women have received greater recognition for their efforts throughout the pandemic. In fact, many businesses found that their women leaders took initiative and acted with resilience during the crisis.

An article by Forbes highlighted that aggressive, transactional approaches to business have created lower engagement, higher turnover, and the emulation of toxic behavior. As diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) become a greater focus of Wisconsin banks, it is important to consider how leadership style plays into this, and how both men and women alike can re-think traditional models of leadership.

It is clear that though the banking industry, and the financial sector in general, is no longer as divided as it once was, there is still work to be done in leveling the playing field for men and women alike by creating opportunities for women to expand their careers and encouraging more diversity at every level.

While women continue to push against tradition and gain leadership positions by demonstrating their abilities, seeking knowledge and information, and taking on greater responsibilities, Provancher encourages women to “actively get involved in making your bank a better place.”

“Know and understand the value that you can offer and to be able to advocate for yourself and the experience you bring to the table when necessary.”

“Over the course of my banking career, I have seen more and more opportunities open up for women. It is important that we continue to provide networking opportunities, leadership development, and think outside of the box. I also would encourage all women to speak up, try new things, and promote yourself — you are your own best cheerleader!”

“Be your authentic self, always! If they don’t like you for you, it is not going to be a good fit long term. Get involved! With your team, with your community, with peer groups, with trade associations. Never stop learning! Banking is constantly changing, and it is a must to stay well-informed of issues, changes in the industry, and the evolution of products and services.”

*As of October 2022, women in the position of president and/or chief executive officer represented 17 of the over 170 banks in the state.

Bank First is pleased to announce the promotion of Sharol Schroeder and Brad Lighthall.

Sharol Schroeder

Sharol Schroeder has been promoted to senior vice president – human resources. She joined Bank First in 1989 as a teller and began working in the bank’s human resources department in 1994.

In her new role, Schroeder will be responsible for the direction of the human resources department which includes employee development and relations, performance reviews, recruitment, compensation, wellness, and benefits.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in business with an emphasis in human resources from UW–Green Bay.

She serves on the board of the Manitowoc/Two Rivers YMCA and the Manitowoc Public School District Foundation. Schroeder is a lifelong Manitowoc resident and is a part of the Lakeshore Human Resources Association, along with 100 Women Who Care of Manitowoc County. Schroeder and her husband have three grown children and eagerly await grandchildren to spoil.

Brad Lighthall

Brad Lighthall has been promoted to retail banking officer. Lighthall joined Bank First in December 2019. Before becoming a member of the Bank First lending team, Lighthall gained extensive experience in the entire home-buying process while managing a title company in Manitowoc for three years. He takes great pride in helping individuals and families reach their personal financial goals through purchasing, refinancing, or building a home.

With his promotion, Lighthall has transferred from the bank’s Eighth Street office to its Valders location and will serve the greater Valders area.

He earned his dual master of business administration degrees with emphases in finance and management from Concordia University Wisconsin and is currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Capitol Civic Centre. Lighthall resides in Manitowoc with his wife and daughter and enjoys spending time downtown, going to Milwaukee Bucks games, and traveling north to spend time on the lake.

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Patty Chambers

Mark Oldenberg, president and CEO of Security Financial Bank (SFB), is pleased to announce that Patty Chambers has joined SFB as director of human resources (HR). In this position, Chambers will work closely with Oldenberg and the senior management team to foster bank culture and drive organizational change.

“Patty will add a lot to our team with her HR knowledge, positive attitude, and fresh perspective for growing Security Financial Bank,” Oldenberg said.

Chambers has an extensive understanding of human resources for financial institutions and knows the Eau Claire area very well. She has worked in various industries in both Texas and Minnesota before she returned to her roots in the Chippewa Valley.

“I’m grateful for the variety of professional experiences I’ve had that have shaped my background in HR,” Chambers said. “I look forward to getting to know the SFB team and supporting the growth goals of our employees and the bank.”

Chambers attended the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire and graduated with a degree in organizational communication. Since then, she has attained her Senior Professional Human Resources certification and is a Society of HR Management – Sr. Certified Professional. Currently, she serves on the CVTC Business Advisory Board and enjoys country living south of Eau Claire with her husband and pets.

Rose Oswald PoelsBy Rose Oswald Poels

Ensuring the financial success and prosperity of our community members is at the heart of the banking industry. Recently, the FINRA Investor Education Foundation released its National Financial Capability Study results, providing insights into the financial capability of U.S. adults. The findings are a helpful resource in understanding the financial circumstances of households in Wisconsin compared to the region and nation.

The summary of FINRA’s findings — split into specific sections such as making ends meet, planning ahead, managing financial products, and financial knowledge — underscore a few of the most important areas relating to financial literacy. Conducted June through October 2021, the results show that Wisconsinites stand ahead of the rest of the U.S. in many critical areas such as having emergency funds, a savings account, and a plan for their future.

Bankers play an important role in outreach efforts in your communities to equip consumers young and old with the knowledge and resources needed to achieve financial stability and prosperity.

In countless ways, Wisconsin bankers do so much to promote financially healthy communities. To support you in this work, the Wisconsin Bankers Foundation (WBF) serves as the hub for all things financial literacy. Annually, Wisconsin bankers venture into schools as part of Teach Children to Save Day in April using WBF’s Reading Raises Interest Kits. In addition, the Foundation is actively working to curate relevant resources bankers can use with people of all ages and levels of financial experience — please wisbankfoundation.org/resources to view what we have available now.

As a reminder, the 2022–2023 Financial Education Summary Forms are now open. Not only does the Foundation assist Wisconsin bankers in providing resources for all consumers, but we also celebrate these important contributions you make each day to our state. If your bank employees participate in any financial education-related event from June 1, 2022 through May 31, 2023, please submit a form as you go to record your activity. Questions related to WBF and resources available for your bank can be directed to Hannah Flanders, WBF coordinator.

Bankers should also be aware of programs such as America Saves, Wisconsin Saves, and ELEVATE Wisconsin that can be implemented in the office, shared with business customers, and members of the community.

  • America Saves: Accessible online guidance, best practices, and goals consumers can pledge themselves to.
  • ELEVATE Wisconsin: An online wellness program providing interactive, effective, and unbiased instruction in personal finance and investing fundamentals to Wisconsin employees.
  • Wisconsin Saves: Small- and medium-sized employers can promote to their employees the ease and benefits of saving automatically for emergencies through split deposit.

Thank you to every bank that assists our industry in continuing its commitment to serving and educating members our communities. Time and time again, data such as FINRA’s National Financial Capability Study reminds us of the strength in our industry — where we’ve come from and where we have yet to go.

*Graphs provided by the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) based on information provided by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation National Financial Capability Survey.

Heather Martell

Peoples State Bank announced that Heather Martell has been named the branch manager of the bank’s Weston location. Martell moves from the bank’s treasury management department, where she most recently served as a treasury management officer.

“Heather brings a vast array of banking knowledge with her to the Weston branch,” said Kari Solomonson, Peoples State Bank vice president, retail team leader. “Throughout her career in banking, Heather has excelled at demonstrating her digital banking expertise to our customers as well as other team members.”

Martell will manage the bank’s retail staff at their Weston location, which is located at 7205 Stone Ridge Drive, near Marshfield Medical Center – Weston.

“I am excited to expand my work with the staff and customers at our Weston branch,” said Martell. “A key strength of Peoples is the relationships we build between our employees and customers. With our community banking touch, and digital banking capabilities, I look forward to providing key resources to our customers — and supporting our branch employees as they grow and excel in their roles.”

Martell holds a mastery level certification in leadership and teams and a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management. She serves on the board of directors for the Blue Hearts organization; is a co-founder of The SAM Foundation, supporting perinatal grief programs; and is the gala chair for the Aspirus Health Foundation’s Festival of Trees. Martell is also a co-founder of the newly launched Peoples State Bank women’s leadership coalition, a self-directed, grassroots council open to all employees, and designed to support, empower, and inspire the growth of all women as leaders within Peoples State Bank and throughout their community. Martell resides in Weston with her family.

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Jon Konarske

Starion Bank has hired Jon Konarske as a business development officer.

Konarske comes to Starion with more than 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, publishing, and business account management. As a business development officer, Konarske will work to establish and grow Starion’s commercial relationships in the greater Madison community.

“I’m thrilled to join the Starion Bank team. Starion is a family-owned community bank with great people, strong Midwest values and a real growth mindset,” says Konarske. “Madison has such an entrepreneurial culture. Over the years, I’ve watched the business community expand, and it’s exciting to enter a new role in helping both emerging and existing businesses.”

Konarske earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and communications from the University of Iowa – Tippie College of Business. He is active in the community as president of the board of directors at Hawks Landing Swim & Dive Club, and as an advisory board member for Dane County Salvation Army.

Market President Jeff Cook is excited about the new addition. “We hired Terry Murawski as our first business development officer in 2021, with great success. Bringing Jon onboard with Terry creates a highly skilled team that will further strengthen Starion’s ability to help local Madison businesses innovate and grow.”

Lindsay Spitzer

Scott Kopp, chairman of the board of directors for Bluff View Bank has announced the promotion of Lindsay Spitzer to president and chief executive officer. The announcement accompanies Kopp’s retirement of the positions effective October 1, 2022.

“On behalf of the board and myself, I am pleased to congratulate Lindsay on her promotion. In the 10 years that I have worked with her, she has shown herself to be an exemplary leader and co-worker. Her attitude, vision, and skill set are exactly what is needed to lead the bank into the future and we look forward to supporting her,” said Kopp. Kopp will remain in the office on a part-time basis while fulfilling his duties as chairman.

Spitzer began her career at Bluff View Bank in 2012 as operations officer. She holds an associate degree in accounting from Minnesota State College Southeast.

As part of her new role, Spitzer will be responsible for providing strategic leadership of the bank by working with the board of directors and the executive management team to establish long-term goals, strategies, plans, and policies.

“I am so fortunate to be able to work with such a great group of people and I look forward to coming to work each day. The bank isn’t just an employer or a job for me, it’s part of who I am,” says Spitzer.

Recently, Spitzer has served as president of the Trempealeau Jackson County Bankers Association, currently serves as board member and treasurer of The Edge Church, and has held previous board member and treasurer positions for the Galesville Chamber of Commerce.

Debbie Poeppel

Badger Bank celebrates the retirement of Debbie Poeppel, a lifelong resident and valued employee of Badger Bank for 25 years.

Poeppel started her career at Citizens State Bank (before the Badger Bank name change) as the trust administrator.

“Debbie has been an integral member of the Badger Bank family”, said Dave Keleher, president of Badger Bank. “She has been a staple to our organization throughout the years, and has been an important member of our team. We wish her all the best in her retirement.”

Poeppel will be enjoying spending time with family during retirement. As soon as the spring air hits again, Poeppel and her husband plan to travel a bit more in their RV. Until then, she will be doing puzzles, several household projects, enjoying the holidays, and spending quality time with friends as well.

There will be a retirement celebration for Poeppel on October 7 at Fort Atkinson Badger Bank (220 Grant St) from 1 p.m.–3 p.m. Please join us in celebrating Debbie as she steps into the next phase of her life.