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HomeBankClasses Realized from ICBA’s Karen Thomas – Unbiased Banker

Classes Realized from ICBA’s Karen Thomas – Unbiased Banker


By Lindsay LaNore, ICBA

Karen Thomas

Karen Thomas

This 12 months, after virtually 30 years at ICBA, Karen Thomas is retiring. Because the chief of our authorities relations and advocacy group, she has constructed an distinctive legacy and garnered industrywide admiration for the depth of her data and her exceptional humility. As her departure approaches, we sat down to debate her path to management and her recommendation to others.

Lead by instance

Thomas initially skilled as a lawyer and describes herself as stumbling into monetary companies regulation earlier than becoming a member of ICBA as a part of the regulatory group in 1992. She discovered the best way to be a pacesetter from the bottom up, rising together with her colleagues and in the end heading up a group of 30. As a result of it’s all she has ever executed, Thomas is a agency believer in rolling your sleeves up and diving in, entering into the trenches and studying each position. “I feel that’s helped me to know what the challenges are,” she explains, “and to have the ability to information folks, present options and steerage as to the best way to method issues and the best way to get issues executed.”

Be observant

Thomas attributes any humility she is perceived as having to a willingness to see and be taught from the angle of others. That features studying from these you don’t admire in addition to these you do. All the time attempt to perceive the place the opposite individual is coming from, she says. It is going to assist you determine what your perspective is, why it’s proper or fallacious and the best way to persuade any person of why you’re proper.

Be thorough

Through the years, Thomas has repeatedly interacted with coverage makers and advises discovering calm in high-pressure conditions by being thorough, credible and considerate. “You must marshal your information and figures,” she says. “You must communicate with authority, and I don’t imply loudly or interrupting everyone. But when what you’re speaking about, it helps persuade different folks of the rightness and authority of one thing that you just’re saying.”

Construct consensus

As a consummate group participant, Thomas believes many heads are often higher than one. Which means permitting concepts to feed off one another, regardless of how “bizarre” they may initially appear. That, she says, is essential to morale and motivation but additionally to good outcomes and effectiveness. “It takes the stress off the chief if you will get consensus,” she provides. “Then everyone’s agreed, in order that they’re joyful, too.”

Clarify the why

Nonetheless, while you’re explaining a call that you just’ve needed to make, at all times embody the why. “You don’t need it to be like while you have been a bit of child and your mother stated, ‘As a result of I stated so,’” Thomas laughs. “Everyone desires to know why, and in the event that they perceive the why, they’ll settle for it or see that it’s the proper method.”

It’s arduous to think about ICBA with out Thomas round, however we sit up for her carving out time for herself away from her overflowing inbox, and we want her huge happiness in her retirement.


Lindsay LaNore (lindsay.lanore@icba.org) is ICBA’s group government vice chairman and chief studying and expertise officer



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