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HomeBankClasses Realized from ICBA’s Karen Thomas – Impartial Banker

Classes Realized from ICBA’s Karen Thomas – Impartial Banker


By Lindsay LaNore, ICBA

Karen Thomas

Karen Thomas

This 12 months, after nearly 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 information 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 providers legislation earlier than becoming a member of ICBA as a part of the regulatory group in 1992. She discovered be a pacesetter from the bottom up, rising together with her colleagues and finally heading up a group of 30. As a result of it’s all she has ever completed, Thomas is a agency believer in rolling your sleeves up and diving in, moving 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 ideas and steering as to strategy issues and get issues completed.”

Be observant

Thomas attributes any humility she is perceived as having to a willingness to see and study from the angle of others. That features studying from these you don’t admire in addition to these you do. At all times attempt to perceive the place the opposite individual is coming from, she says. It should assist you determine what your perspective is, why it’s proper or improper and persuade any individual 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 need to marshal your details and figures,” she says. “You need to converse with authority, and I don’t imply loudly or interrupting all people. But when you realize 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 normally higher than one. Which means permitting concepts to feed off one another, regardless of how “bizarre” they could initially appear. That, she says, is necessary to morale and motivation but in addition to good outcomes and effectiveness. “It takes the strain off the chief if you will get consensus,” she provides. “Then all people’s agreed, so that they’re completely happy, too.”

Clarify the why

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

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

Lindsay LaNore ( is ICBA’s group govt vice chairman and chief studying and expertise officer




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