Network, Inspire, Engage


I remember the very first ICBA convention I attended like it was yesterday. It was 20 years ago this March, and I had just made the decision to return to Taos to work with my parents at the bank. I was a senior in college and so excited about the possibilities of returning to my hometown to make a difference and to engage in investing in the future of my community. 

ICBA’s national convention was an inspiration at this point in my career, as I was unaware of the community banking industry, yet so excited to engage with thousands of other people just as passionate and excited about what they were doing. 

Fast-forward 21 years, and 21 conventions later, I’m now preparing to attend ICBA Community Banking LIVE next month as ICBA chairman. Wow—what an honor, to say the least! As I gear up for what I know will be the best convention yet, I encourage us all to think about how we utilize this event and other ICBA educational offerings throughout the year to engage and inspire those young bankers considering a career in our industry. 

Now is the time to engage and inspire the next generation, and ICBA Community Banking LIVE is the perfect venue in which to do so.

With education sessions ranging from leadership and FinTech to cybersecurity and compliance, we community bankers will have all of our bases covered. We’ll get to know the latest issues facing our industry and, more importantly, explore opportunities that we can take back to our community banks and begin instituting right now.

As always, ICBA has some amazing general-session speakers lined up for us. This year, we’re lucky enough to hear from three American heroes. I can’t wait to hear what NASA astronauts and twin brothers Mark and Scott Kelly have to say. If my travels across the country have left me inspired and given me new perspective, I have no doubt that two people who have orbited Earth will have something profound to share with all of us. Also, we’ll have the chance to hear from Carey Lohrenz, the first female F-14 Tomcat fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy. I’m inspired already!

And inspiration is so important. We give so much of ourselves as community bankers, and ICBA Community Banking LIVE is a time when we can fill ourselves full of inspiration and invest in ourselves once again. We spend so much of our time in our banks thinking about investing in our communities, the loans we make and the organizations we support. It is up to us to ensure the sustainability of these efforts by also investing in our future, the future leadership and future owners of our community banks. Now is the time to engage and inspire the next generation, and ICBA Community Banking LIVE is the perfect venue in which to do so.   

I look forward to seeing you next month in San Antonio!

Rebeca Romero Rainey is chairman and CEO of Centinel Bank of Taos, in Taos, N.M. Follow her on Twitter at @romerorainey.