The Louisiana Bankers Education Council recently awarded the first-ever Louisiana Young Banker Impact Awards. This award was created to honor Louisiana bankers who are 45 years old or younger for their contribution to their bank and/or the banking industry. This year’s recipients were recognized at an awards luncheon held in conjunction with LBEC’s annual business meeting on November 30, 2021, at the Renaissance Hotel in Baton Rouge.
To qualify, the banker must be 45 years or younger with a minimum of 5 years in banking and made significant contributions to their bank and/or the banking industry. Each year, up to 5 young bankers will be recognized. Examples of contributions include:
- Bank executive or senior officer
- Rising star who exemplifies teamwork—include examples
- Initiates innovative programs and/or processes for efficiencies—include examples
- While working in the back office, provides an effective experience for internal customers—include examples
- Diversity and Inclusion—effectively exemplifies acceptance and inclusion of others—include examples
If someone in your bank meets these qualifications, click here for the nomination form. Nominations for the 2022 awards will be accepted until October 3, 2022, and bank executive approval of the nominee will be required to qualify. These young bankers will be recognized at an awards luncheon in Baton Rouge. For more information contact Lauren Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congratulations to the 2021 Louisiana Young Banker Impact Award Recipients!
Mallie Bowers, Vice President/Director of Human Resources at First Federal Bank of Louisiana in Lake Charles
Mallie Bowers is a cornerstone of employee morale at First Federal Bank of Louisiana. Her engagement, innovation and connection to its employees helps our bank community thrive.
Southwest Louisiana has been hit hard between the hurricanes, ice storm, pandemic, historic floods and tornados. As you can imagine, the morale at First Federal Bank of Louisiana is less than ideal when employees still live in campers and are still fighting to rebuild their homes. Mallie has been a shining light in our employee community. She focuses much of her effort on ensuring that employees feel at home at the bank and know that they are looked after. Her team plans events that get employees out of their offices and allow them love their workplace even more. Mallie also connects with the potential workforce in the area by working with community colleges, universities, vocational schools and workplace development agencies to recruit talent, with an emphasis on veterans, women and minorities. With meaningful activities and programs that employees can participate in, Mallie helps bring a thriving culture of positivity to the bank. She helped lead the creation of the First Federal Change Makers Volunteer Team, which has put numerous volunteer hours into the Southwest Louisiana community. The team helped facilitate hurricane clean-up days and Mallie helped coordinate days when employees cooked free hot meals at several branches during hurricane recovery. She is a force of positivity and generosity at the bank, and she pushes everyone to do better and to be better.
She has been involved with LBA for many years as a member of LBEC, participating in LBA professional development seminars and peer groups, a graduate of LBA Leadership School and an advocate for the banking industry and attends Bankers Day at the Capital. She also participates in 365 to Rich and makes financial literacy presentations in her local community. Mallie has worked in the financial industry for 17 years.
Stephen David, Jr., Senior Vice President & Regional Retail Manager at Hancock Whitney Bank in Baton Rouge
Stephen David has worked tirelessly to ensure that banking services as well as financial education resources are available to the economically distressed communities in the areas where Hancock Whitney serves—not just on a day-to-day basis, but especially following crisis events like coronavirus or one of the several storms that has ravaged our communities over the past few years.
For all that Stephen has accomplished in his career, it's hard to believe that he is only 39. Not only does he have nearly 17 years in the banking industry, he's held several board appointments including being Gov. Edwards' appointee for both Louisiana Economic Development Corporation and the Louisiana Workforce Investment Council. He's a former chairman for City of Central Chamber of Commerce, past president of LBEC, board member of Directors of Sales and Marketing Executives and member of the State Board of Directors for Coastal Conservation Association. He also teaches financial literacy through Junior Achievement, was a Real Men Wear Pink participant and is active with the Big Buddy organization.
Not only does Stephen make a significant impact on the communities in which he lives and serves, he has made a tremendous impact to our clients and neighbors at Hancock Whitney. When a storm hits, Stephen is always first to raise his hand and have boots on the ground to serve. From driving our mobile unit bank across the state to tossing 10 lb. bags of ice out of the back of an 18-wheeler to serving jambalaya to thousands of storm victims living without power, he's always willing to help. Not only does he do it, but he does it with a smile on his face. If building trust in the hearts and minds of our community is the first step in building business with them, then Stephen is our greatest ambassador.
Stephen is an active part of LBA, he has served on LBEC and is now a member of the past president council and he attends LBA seminars and peer groups. He is a graduate of the LSU School of Banking, attended BOLT and participates in the LBA legislative lunches.
Jake Guidry, Vice President/Commercial Banker at b1BANK in Lafayette
Jake’s banking experience expands over 15 years as he started in banking in early 2006 as a part-time teller for the former St. Martin Bank and Trust. Following graduation from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2009, Jake’s career began to blossom at St. Martin Bank as he was selected as the second-ever management trainee in the bank’s 80+ year history. Jake not only learned all departmental functions of the bank but also assisted at a higher level with efficiencies, workflow and internal innovations. Following the conclusion of the trainee program, Jake was promoted five times within a six-year period with St. Martin Bank. Jake joined b1Bank in early 2015 as an assistant vice president/commercial banker and currently serves as a senior vice president.
In 2017, the CEO of b1Bank tasked Jake with the responsibility of developing a scholarship program for employees of the bank and their children. To date, the scholarship program has awarded $51,000 in scholarships. Jake has also served as a market champion for b1Bank’s Community Outreach Initiatives and was part of the bank’s Leadership Development Program in 2020.
Jake is a graduate of the Graduate School at Banking at LSU where he helped lead his team to the top overall bank in BankSim. Jake was also a recipient of the LBA’s Graduate School of Banking Scholarship. Jake is a LBEC past president where he served on the council for over eight years. While serving on the council, Jake also served on a subcommittee that developed and implemented the 365 to Rich Bank Shadow Day program. In 2018, Jake assisted in the development of LBEC’s Past Presidents Advisory Council which focuses on recruiting and selection of new LBEC members and other civic-related responsibilities. Most recently, Jake graduated from Leadership Institute of Acadiana’s Leadership Lafayette program and was selected as one of the co-instructors for the American Bankers Association’s Principles of Banking course offered by the LBA.
Jake’s other accolades and civic contributions include, graduate of the inaugural LBA Leadership School, graduate of ABA’s Commercial Lending School, volunteer for Junior Achievement, Banking on the Leaders of Tomorrow alumni, served as an ambassador for One Acadiana, member of the 705 Club of Lafayette, member of the Acadian Home Builder Association, member of the Leadership Institute of Acadiana and is a Louisiana Notary Public with statewide jurisdiction.
Kelvin Luster, Senior Vice President/Community Development Director at Home Bank in Lafayette
Kelvin’s career in banking began in 2005 at Britton and Koontz Bank in Natchez, Miss. He attended night school at Alcorn State University in order to complete his education while working full time during the day. Kelvin has worked various roles in banking--teller, head teller, vault teller, personal banker and assistant branch manager. After graduation, Kelvin had the opportunity to move to Baton Rouge to open the first office for Britton and Koontz Bank fulfilling the role of manager. Kelvin achieved great success during his time at Britton and Koontz, but he did not stop there. Home Bank acquired Britton and Koontz Bank and Kelvin’s career continued to flourish. He became the branch manager of the three branches of Home Bank in the Baton Rouge area. He built a successful retail staff and focused on their development to further their banking careers knowing this would bring the success and growth to Home Bank. In 2020 Kelvin was promoted to retail group lead where he led three different diverse markets, once again focusing on employee development with an understanding the success would follow. Kelvin would not stop there—in 2021 Kelvin became the community development director for Home Bank which is the role he currently holds. Kelvin’s focus on employee development, attention to detail, team building, customer service and serving in the community has always been the driving force behind his success. Kelvin has countless hours of volunteer work for various organizations around Baton Rouge and surrounding areas. As he moved into management roles, his focus on employee development has paid off—the current branch managers in Baton Rouge were both associates under Kelvin’s branch team. Kelvin is an advocate for banking and carries a tremendous amount of pride in how community banks can help people from all walks of life. He is a current participant of the LBA Leadership School and will graduate in January.
Kelvin’s management style sparks interest in people to come be a part of the banking industry. Because of the various roles Kelvin has held in banking, he can relate to those who are wishing to embark upon a career in the industry. Kelvin has embraced each role he has been in, but his current role seems to be his sweet spot. Kelvin’s desire to help people within various communities by education on finances through financial literacy course, home ownership, heightening the awareness of grant opportunities as well as helping the underserve become successful—this is his true calling and passion in life.
Blake Tolbird, Senior Vice President and Bank Operations Manager at First National Bankers Bank in Baton Rouge
Blake Tolbird has worked in the financial industry for 22 years and is an accredited ACH professional and a national check professional. Through his item processing background, Blake advocated and created a private check exchange network post Check21. Widely adopted by Louisiana banks since 2007, the FNBB NetLink Exchange program has grown into a national network (110,000 monthly items) offering lower check costs across all tiers and free items on participating banks.
Blake is a graduate of the LBA Leadership School, Graduate School of Banking at LSU, Bankers School of Supervisory Training and the Barton Leadership Program. He also is an industry advocate in multiple states and bank PACs and participates in the VoterVoice grassroots program. He serves on ECCHO business committee board, a founding member of the Faster Payments Council and is a speaker at various payment conferences. Blake exemplifies leadership both inside and outside of the bank. He is a problem solver and always puts the customer first. He shares his knowledge and perspective so that others not only understand how to do things but that they also get why.