By Jennifer Sobotta
To say that banking is a serious business is an understatement. We are trusted with our customers’ most important asset — their financial health and well-being. Leading the teams that help our customers and represent our banks in our communities needs to reflect that serious nature, right?
In an industry that is filled with important decisions and heavy topics, our teams can benefit from genuine and lighthearted approaches. . . even a little humor. Being ourselves lets others know that their unique approach is beneficial to our banks and new perspectives are welcome.
We have our own Clark Griswold at Forward; the eternal optimist with grand visions. Bill Sennholz is our visionary leader and inspires those around him with a shared sense of purpose. His determination and passion drive the direction and draws everyone in to the fun and hard work.
Christmas wouldn’t be the same without our Cousin Eddie and his eccentricities and unorthodox approach to presenting financials. Rob Mort leads by embracing diversity and recognizing the value of unconventional perspectives. His consistent outreach to all areas seeking feedback on strategy brings more to the table than just financials.
Having a CEO like Bill and a CFO like Rob willing to feature in an article like this is special. What is even more special is that they did dress as Clark and Cousin Eddie for an entire community to witness during a holiday parade. They approached those characters with wild abandon, and the joy and laughter they brought to the team fueled stories for years!
As leaders, they set aside the typical image that titles demand and embraced the creativity of the team that they lead. Being part of, not being above, creates a sense of team that engages and instills a drive for everyone to be part of something bigger than themselves.
We may all be striving for the perfect holiday with family or perfect plan for 2024 at work. Let us approach both with humor and commitment to make the future as joyful as it is successful!
Sobotta is vice president – marketing director at Forward Bank, Marshfield and past chair of the 2022–2023 BOLT Section.