Written by Arkansas Real Estate
In college, I didn't pursue a degree to become a banker because I thought I would start my own business. By the time I graduated with a degree in Speech Communications/Public Relations, I realized that I would enjoy life more if I worked for someone else because I tend to be a workaholic and knew that owning my own business would consume me. At graduation, I worked for a soft drink company in Los Angeles and worked there five years and served as district sales manager until 1989.
When my fiancé and I decided to move to Arkansas to get married and settle down, my goal was to find a position that would allow me to help others and change lives. I truly stumbled in to Banking in 1989 because a bank president in Bentonville received my resume from a mutual acquaintance and hired me on the spot and told me "I have been trying to turn bankers in to sales people to no avail so I decided to hire a good salesperson and teach her how to be a banker." I accepted the position of "Banker Trainee" because I liked the warm, friendly, professional environment at Arvest, and I recognized that as a banker, we get to HELP OTHERS by teaching how to manage finances, to save money, to buy a home, to plan for retirement, to start a business, and customers look to us and trust us to help them make life changing decisions.
Arvest's Mission Statement is "People helping people find financial solutions for life," which is a good fit for me. I have worked in a variety of branch roles and am now President/CEO of the Springdale Region. I believe my progression at Arvest is due to my positive attitude, my hard work, my willingness to do whatever job is asked of me, and my passion to serve the community to make it a better place to live.
Arvest is known for having an amazing philanthropic presence in NWA. Can you tell me about Arvest's commitment to serving Northwest Arkansas through financial services, but also community service and how this has empowered you as a leader?
Arvest is owned by the Walton Family of Bentonville, and they are the most generous philanthropic family I know (Did you know that the Walton Family Foundation gave $432 million to non-profit organizations in 2012?).
One of the key attributes to become an officer at Arvest is a willingness to serve others, which includes finding ways to serve the community.
While many other banks divest of branches that are in small towns, our owners know the importance of a strong community-minded bank that will loan money in towns of all sizes. We believe that home ownership is the American dream, and citizens will stay in towns where there are good jobs, strong businesses, good schools, and fun things for families to do in their leisure time. Our owners allow us to spend company time and money to support community initiatives, so you probably see at least one Arvest Banker on various boards, like schools, Chambers, and numerous non-profit groups and activities. This is one of my favorite aspects of my role at Arvest Bank!
As part of Arvest's commitment to giving back, I understand that you are the incoming Board Chair for the Springdale Chamber of Commerce. Can you tell us about your new role and what you are most looking forward to in this serving capacity?
I am excited for the opportunity to serve as Board Chair for the Springdale Chamber of Commerce in 2014! I served as Chair of the Bentonville/Bella Vista Chamber in 2003 and the Siloam Springs Chamber in 2008, and I enjoyed watching those Chambers and communities grow and thrive as a result of the vision and hard work of Chamber Board members and volunteers.
Springdale is on the cusp of several amazing things, including an exciting Downtown Revitalization project that includes new walking trails, bike trails, "uncapping" the creek that runs through Downtown, beautiful, landscaped pavilions and play areas for families, and a renewed interest in locating restaurants and retail businesses in Downtown Springdale. Also, Springdale will open a new Wal-Mart at I-540 and Elm Springs in 2014, which should attract other interesting businesses and will keep some of the tax dollars in Springdale to perpetuate more projects in the future. Great things are happening in Springdale, and I am delighted to be a part of it.
As a leader in the Springdale community, how would you describe the growth and development of Springdale? What makes Springdale a vibrant community?
The growth and development of Springdale is in high gear, with the projects I just mentioned and several road and trail projects that are underway. For example, we are working on an interchange off of I-540 at Don Tyson Parkway, which will make commuting easier and will open up the area surrounding Arvest Ballpark for things like retail development, movie theaters, and condo developments. Several major roads are being widened and extended in Springdale to make traveling North to South and East to West easier. I expect that the Elm Springs I-540 exit will attract new and unique businesses after Wal-Mart opens in 2014. Our Springdale Schools offer exceptional education, and we have ample parks, arts, and shopping venues to meet the needs of residents. In fact, we will have many new reasons for newcomers to land in Springdale and for visitors from all over NW Arkansas to spend time in Springdale.
My husband, David, and grown children, Lauren and Skyler love Northwest Arkansas and we enjoy helping with initiatives that improve the quality of life here.