By Rose Oswald Poels
As first announced last year, the Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA) has partnered with several banking trade associations throughout the U.S. to present the Society of Bank Executives. Now wrapping up its inaugural year, the Society has already welcomed more than 125 bank leaders from 13 states — including Wisconsin — into its fold. With evolution touching every aspect of the banking industry, and strong leadership needed now more than ever before, I encourage all bank executive teams in the state to consider the invaluable opportunities offered by the Society of Bank Executives.
The Society, facilitated by Dr. Paul Godfrey of the Brigham Young University Marriott School of Business, aims to provide bank leaders with invaluable professional development opportunities. With two, four-month sessions held each spring and fall, the Society focuses on aiding bank leaders in honing critical leadership competencies and skills as well as connecting members with their peers in a non-competitive setting.
Unlike many other leadership seminars, the Society of Bank Executives is designed with bank leadership teams in mind. The experts leading the Society realize that bank management teams are uniquely positioned within their organization and as such ensure the programing is flexible and applicable to all leaders.
Prior to the start of each session, members are recommended a book to help establish key concepts and ideas for the events ahead. Throughout the four-month session, three 60–90-minute online seminars will aid bankers in building on these takeaways and consider elements related to shareholders, regulators, customers, and communities. These sessions are specifically designed to engage C-level bankers in study, analysis, and application of the “art” of leading a bank.
Additionally, new and returning members alike will benefit from self-paced elements and an expansive online library, which includes access to a number of past sessions and materials related to strategic risk management and trust & team building. Each bank member is also assigned to a peer group with bankers in other states. These peer groups determine additional dates/times to meet virtually to follow up on the facilitated sessions and further share in a banker-only group.
During the third month of each session, members take part in a two-day networking retreat. Last week, the Society hosted its fall 2023 Action Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona. Focused on connecting members with their banking peers from across the country, the Society’s Action Summits build time into the event for networking, facilitated sessions with Dr. Godfrey and other industry thought leaders, and table peer group discussions. Before returning to the bank, attendees also have the chance to develop an action plan.
Of course, networking is not only about building relationships. Again and again, I am reminded of how important it is that bankers of all levels invest in their professional growth and leverage the collective knowledge and opportunities within their network to advance their bank’s success. The Society does just that. I’ve heard from several Society members who have, in just one year, found the program to be beneficial in enhancing their soft skills to effectively lead in an evolving landscape and develop strong bonds with bankers from across the country. I encourage all bank leaders in Wisconsin to utilize this unique opportunity to guide new professional and organizational growth and foster non-competitive partnerships.
With new technology, regulatory updates, and shifting customer expectations emerging each day, the spring 2024 session will focus on change management. As this year’s sessions come to a close, now is the perfect opportunity for bank leaders in Wisconsin to sign on by January 2024 as individual members or as a team to enhance their organization’s ability to implement new strategies and drive the industry forward.