Bankers as Leaders: Howard Bank Executives Share Management Skills With Nonprofits
Mary Ann Scully has been a banker for more than 30 years. And at this point, she admitted, "it's actually hard to dissociate my personal and professional feelings."
But whether she's thinking like a banker or a resident of Howard County, the Howard Bank president, CEO and board chair feels "a deep sense of gratification" as she looks around the community she calls home.
Since the day the bank opened in August 2004, its leadership team and executives have looked beyond banking for ways to support the residents and businesses of Howard County. Part of their mission has always been to lead and participate in the nonprofit community.
"We're almost obsessive in our approach to volunteerism and participation," Scully said. In fact, it's a job requirement for every executive to serve on the board of at least one local nonprofit. Many of the bank's executives serve on more than one. And a noticeably growing number have been chosen by those organizations to serve in leadership positions.
For instance, Scully chairs The Maryland Bankers Association, is the immediate past chair of The Columbia Foundation and is a trustee of Howard County General Hospital and Catholic Charities and a member of the President's Advisory Council of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce. Past leadership positions include chairing the Howard County United Way Partnership board as well as the Howard County United Way Campaign.
She finds her leadership roles beyond the bank have their own rewards.
"I feel a deep sense of gratification that my associates and I are able to positively influence the communities where we live, work, and where our children live and may someday work," she said. "Having an impact is what gives many of us a sense of value, a sense that we are creating a legacy, and that makes our efforts very worthwhile. To serve as a leader, not only in our own organization but in others, provides us with an ability to influence and impact the larger fabric of the communities we serve."
From the arts and education to health care, Howard Bank executives are making that impact on almost every area of community life.
Locally, Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Information Officer Charlie Schwabe is president of the Columbia Festival of the Arts Board of Trustees and serves on the Howard County Good Scouts Leadership Award Committee and the Catholic Charities Leadership Breakfast Campaign Committee.
He is also on the board of Maryland Bank Services Inc., a subsidiary of the Maryland Bankers Association, and is a member of the America Bankers Association's Commercial Product Advisory Board and Gladiator Technologies' Advisory Council.
Then there's Executive Vice President, Chief Lending Officer and Chief Client Services Officer Paul G. Brown. He is the immediate past chair of Trinity School's board and is secretary of the Howard County Public School Educational Foundation Board (Bright Minds Foundation).
"The most rewarding parts of these leadership positions is the ability to make a mark on the organization and leave it in better shape than before," Brown said. "It's also rewarding and gratifying to work with a group of very enthusiastic board members who have the best interests of the organization at heart and as a team make significant positive contributions."
More Than Lip Service
"We do not just pay lip service to community leadership," Scully said. "We live it every day with extensive involvement in many organizations."
Like other bank executives, Senior Vice President and Branch Team Leader Rosa Scharf is passionate about the nonprofits she serves. She chairs the Jim Rouse Entrepreneurial Fund Board of Directors and is on the board of Making Change, a financial literacy organization.
"I really enjoy supporting outreach programs like j-ref and makingCHANGE," she said. "They're great boards for me as they work with the financial literacy of individuals and business owners."
In Anne Arundel County, bank Vice President Peter Stephan was asked to serve with the Anne Arundel Commercial Industrial Association, where he is vice president. He's also secretary of the Touchdown Club of Annapolis and a committee member of Hospice Hundred.
Senior Vice President Michael T. Cavey is on the board of the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce. He is past treasurer of the Youth Outreach Foundation in Catonsville and former board member of Mount Saint Joseph High School. Vice President, Relationship Manager Erik M. Chick is a committee member of the South River Colony Conservancy.
Many Howard Bank executives are invited to serve with educational organizations. In addition to Brown's work with Trinity School and the Bright Minds Foundation, Vice President, Relationship Manager Thomas E. Drake serves on the Howard County Public School System's Advisory Board of the Academy of Finance. And Senior Vice President, Relationship Manager and Team Leader Christopher Marasco chairs the Howard Community College Educational Foundation board. He's also on the board of the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults and chairs its Donor Development Committee.
Other bank executives who serve in leadership roles with local nonprofits are Senior Vice President and Team Leader Steve Poynot, treasurer of the Howard County Arts Council; Senior Vice President, Deposit Operations Manager Barbara Knickman, treasurer, Voices for Children, Howard County; and Senior Vice President, Loan Operations Manager Rocco Ricci, Vantage House Retirement Community, where he's on the board and serves on its Finance Committee.
Michael Munoz, a bank vice president, relationship manager, is on The Arc of Howard County's board, is vice president of the board of Conexiones and is a member of the Howard County Financial Literacy Alliance.
Bank executives don't necessarily get to sign up for the boards they want to serve. "We don't choose the leaders of those organizations," Scully said. "Their own boards do that. We're honored that so many of the boards in our communities recognize the quality of our service and the competency that we bring to the organization, as well as the passion each individual has for their respective good cause.
"We are awed most of all by the way in which we can affect in so many areas the very fabric of our communities. For a bank that just celebrated its seventh anniversary, it is one of the very best accomplishments that we have achieved " she added.