Episode 2: Christine Benoit of Farmers State Bank gives advice to her 25 year-old self

PWR Peer Group Meeting Notes

The PWR Peer Group holds conference call meetings two or three times a year to discuss professional development topics. Click on the link below to download a copy of the notes from past meetings.

March 13, 2018 Meeting Notes

What You're Saying About PWR – Professional Women Revitalized!

  • "This is wonderful. I appreciate so much that LBA recognizes the need to motivate and encourage women in this industry...Thank you for the motivation and inspiration!"  
  • I would LOVE to join the PWR Peer Group!!
  • “This is such a great opportunity for women in the banking industry, and I sincerely appreciate LBA for offering it!”

Helpful Documents

Click on the links below to download the document.

JMFA article, "How to Prepare for & Ace an Interview, Part 1" (5/21/18)

JMFA article, "How to Prepare for & Ace an Interview, Part 2" (5/21/18)

SB Wellness Group Newsletter (May 2018) (posted 5/1/18)

Mentoring Program Document (posted 3/19/18)

Mentor/Mentee Agreement (posted 3/19/18)

Mentoring Action Plan (posted 3/19/18)

"You Can't Talk Enough About Your Company Values" by Joe Scarlett 

Helpful Resources

Podcast: How Emerging Community Bank Leaders Are Building Their Careers

A lawyer and a professional baseball player walk into a bank.... No, it’s not a joke--it’s the latest episode of the ABA Banking Journal Podcast. Emily Gray graduated from law school, and Blake Taylor began his working life as a minor-league baseball player, but both of them ended up building successful careers in community banking. Gray is now senior credit officer at Hardin County Bank, Savannah, Tenn., and Taylor is an SVP and commercial real estate lender at Southern First Bank in Columbia, S.C. They are chair and vice chair, respectively, of ABA’s Emerging Leaders Advisory Board, and on the podcast they discuss how rising leaders in banking can develop their careers and position themselves to succeed. Click here to go to the ABA Banking Journal article. Click here to listen to this episode. (posted 6/21/18)  

Simon Sinek's Resources
Simon Sinek is an author, motivational speaker and marketing consultant who has some pretty cool things to say. Click here to check out one of his videos. He also has a new book out called Together is Better which he says will inspire readers to ask for help, help others and discover their own courage.  

April 2018

Service Above Self 

By Claire C. Benoit, President & Chief Executive Officer of Rayne Building & Loan Association 

I was an accountant by trade and always happy to be buried in papers and numbers. When I first joined Rayne Building and Loan, my role as a Controller was pretty straightforward. As with most community bankers, new duties got added to my mix pretty quickly, and over time the job was much more than I ever anticipated. It just wasn’t in me to say “no” to a task, I always loved a challenge. We are a small institution and everyone wears multiple hats. 

Luckily, my boss noticed that I was willing to do whatever was needed to get the job done, and gave me positive feedback for it. Through my actions, I proved to him that I was dedicated to helping our organization move forward. This meant occasionally forgoing a son’s sporting event and even working on maternity leave from home. My boys weren’t always happy that I had to miss some occasion, but I hope they learned, as I did from my parents, that serving others—whether it be my family, my community, or my bank—was critically important to our future. It was a sacrifice at times, but I believed it was part of my job as senior management. 

After several years, I was asked to step in as President. I turned it down the first time. Timing is everything, and I felt that I could not give it the attention it deserved. I had young children at home and was torn between both roles. I believed that I needed to be willing to be the first person in the bank and the last one to leave. It was just not the right time in my life to take on that role. Fortunately, a second opportunity presented itself, and I was asked again to become President. I took the leap. I had more experience and felt better prepared, my children were a little older and this was truly the right time.

The struggle of moving from co-worker to boss was not easy. But in my desire to serve the bank and the employees better, I learned I had to leave my comfort zone of papers and numbers and grow to take on things I had never done before. I learned firsthand what Virginia Rometty, chief executive officer of IBM, said, “Growth and comfort do not coexist.” I knew it wasn’t just about me, but about everyone else. 

If I had a conversation with my younger self, I would say we should always do our best at every task, no matter how unimportant it may seem to you or others. Be aware and set a good example for those around you. Don’t let fear hold you back. Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know—it can be your greatest strength. When you take those leaps of faith in your younger career, it helps you experience more and do things differently in the future. 

I’ve always loved Rotary’s international motto, “Service Above Self.” It is such a simple, yet powerful phrase. Rotarians look for ways to get involved and demonstrate the strength of their commitment in the service they render to their club, to their community, and to people throughout the world. I think these same words and actions can apply for all of us and is what community banking is all about.