Capstone Conference


Wisconsin bank uses LEAD FWD Summit as a development resource

By Tim Cook

You can feel the energy boost at Park Bank from its leadership development program. Young employees at the community bank in Madison, Wis., are excited. They’re learning new skills. They’re undertaking new challenges. They’re contributing new ideas.

“It really gives people a sense of ownership,” explains James Hegenbarth, the bank’s president and CEO of the employees who have participated in the leadership development program. “They also see a sense of career advancement. They like that they’re making contributions that they can see impact how we do things.

“It’s really cool to watch them grow and develop.”
Recognizing the need to foster future leaders at the bank and across the industry, Park Bank, a $775 million-asset community bank with 185 employees, created a formal program last year to develop the talents and broaden the knowledge of its younger, most-promising employees. In addition to tapping the ideas and energy of its employees, the 12-month program encourages budding leaders to stay with the bank throughout their careers, Hegenbarth says.

For the past two years, Park Bank has capped off its leadership development program by sending its participants to ICBA’s fall LEAD FWD Summit. In 2015, the bank paid for 10 employees to attend the conference. Eleven employees—a mix of loan officers, underwriters and servicers; branch, operations and IT managers; and treasury services and human resources personnel—are going this month.

“It’s kind of neat to get people out of their normal routine. It’s nice to get them out of their comfort zone, too.”
—James Hegenbarth,
Park Bank

nnel—are going this month.
“It’s viewed as a special culmination to the extra work that they’re doing,” Hegenbarth says of the conference. “It’s a treat for them, but it is also a reward and recognition for all the additional work that they’re doing.”

Last year a group of 10 employees selected for Park Bank’s leadership program participated in discussions, meetings and committee research projects. Those projects made recommendations that revamped the bank’s deposit-account-opening procedures, improved its credit card approval process and helped select new interactive teller machines to buy. The group also proposed a new flexible “dress for your day” policy that allows employees to decide what attire to wear each day depending on their work activities, including the particular clients they might meet with outside the bank.

This year, in addition to engaging in leadership development activities, another group of 11 employees involved with the program researched state-of-the-art designs for two branches set to undergo renovations. They also helped create an alternative to annual performance reviews and suggested several new staff recruiting and retention policies.

Importantly, Hegenbarth says, Park Bank’s leadership program is designed to expose employees to roles and functions outside of their current job responsibilities. Operations managers might be exposed to human resources functions, branch managers might learn about IT issues, and loan originators learn about loan servicing.

Hegenbarth says the LEAD FWD Summit adds a valuable educational complement to the bank’s leadership program. The workshops, speakers and interactive networking events at the conference offer solid information and insights, and one speaker from last year’s lineup was invited to the bank afterward to address all of its employees, he says. The chance to relax as a team outside of the bank is an extra benefit.

“It’s kind of neat to get people out of their normal routine,” he says. “It’s nice to get them out of their comfort zone, too.”

Hegenbarth and the employees involved with Park Bank’s leadership program particularly appreciate the opportunities at the conference to network in person with peers across the country. “It’s just a wonderful opportunity for these people to interact with other bankers from around the country and learn something about how to develop their leadership skills,” Hegenbarth says. “People come back with contacts from all over and they develop their network of resources, which is fantastic.”

As a professional colleague and informal mentor, Hegenbarth joined the leadership program’s participants at the conference last year and will again this year.
“I just get to go along and pick up the tab for dinner,” he quips good-naturedly.

Tim Cook ( is ICBA’s senior vice president–publications.

Keynote Speakers

  • Tom Fishburne, a cartoonist, speaks about innovation, marketing and creativity in business branding.
  • Erica Dhawan, CEO of Cotential, explains the concept of “connectional intelligence” to bring employees, teams and customers closer
  • Vinh Giang, a magician, talks about deception and misperceptions influence business and personal lives.
  • Cam Fine, ICBA president and CEO, leads a fireside chat and answers questions from community bankers.

Sunday, Sept. 11

  • 3 p.m.–7 p.m.—Attendee Registration
  • 5:30 p.m.–7 p.m.—Welcome Cocktail Reception in The Collaboratory

Monday, Sept. 12

  • 8 a.m.–2 p.m.—Attendee Registration
  • 8 a.m.–8:30 a.m.—Continental Breakfast in
    The Collaboratory

  • 8:30 a.m.–9:15 a.m.—Collaborating with Innovators in The Collaboratory
  • 9:30 a.m.–10:30 a.m.—Keynote: “Thinking Differently,” by Vinh Giang
  • 10:45 a.m.–12 p.m.—“Leadership in a Box,” Collaboration Challenge by Gina Bleedorn, Sean Keathley and Eduardo Alvarez with Adrenaline
  • 12 p.m.–12:45 p.m.—Lunch in The Collaboratory
  • 12:45 p.m.–1:15 p.m.—Networking in The Collaboratory
  • 1:30 p.m.–2:20 p.m.—Learning Lab: “Engaging Today’s Consumer­—Everything Has Changed,” by John Waupsh, Kasasa
  • 2:30 p.m.–3:20 p.m.—​Educational Workshops
  • 3:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m.—​Fireside Chat with Cam Fine
  • 4:45 p.m.–6 p.m.—Cocktail Reception in The Collaboratory

Tuesday, Sept. 13

  • ​8 a.m.–8:50 a.m.—​Continental Breakfast
  • 8 a.m. – 8:50 a.m.—Eye Opener Session: “Exploring the Changing Debit Landscape,” by Connie Davis, FIS
  • ​8 a.m.–2 p.m.—​Attendee Registration
  • 9 a.m.–10:15 a.m.—Keynote: “Get Big Things Done: The Power of Connectional Intelligence,” by Erica Dhawan, Cotential
  • 10:30 a.m.–11:20 a.m.—Educational Workshops:
  • “Navigating BSA/AML Land Mines at Your Community Bank,” by Heather Archer Eastep and Laura Marshall, Hunton & Williams LLP
    “The Truths and Myths of Financial Forensics at Community Banks 2.0,” by Neil Falken and Josh Juergensen, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP
    “Connectional Intelligence,” Workshop by Erica Dhawan, Cotential

    • 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.—Lunch
    • 12:45 p.m.–2 p.m.—Roundtable Discussions
    • 2:15 p.m.–3:05 p.m.—Educational Sessions:

    “Overcoming Today’s Operational Challenges at Your Bank,” by Heather Archer Eastep and Laura Marshall, Hunton & Williams LLP
    “Current Legislative and Political Landscape in Our Nation’s Capital,” by Aaron Stetter, ICBA senior vice president

    • ​3:15 p.m.–4:05 p.m.—Learning Lab: “The Future of Community Banking: Setting the Record Straight,” by Greyson Tuck and Doc Bodine, Gerrish McCreary Smith
    • ​4:15 p.m.–5:05 p.m.—​Education Session: “Everything You Wanted to Know About Community Banking (But Were Too Afraid to Ask!),” moderated by Chris Kelley, Barret School of Banking

    Wednesday, Sept. 14

  • 8 a.m.–8:50 a.m.—​Continental Breakfast
  • 8 a.m.–8:50 a.m. ­—Eye Opener Session
  • 9 a.m.–9:50 a.m.—Educational Sessions:
  • Improving the Way We Work Through Technology,” by Marla Matlock with RSM and Jeff Becker with Lincoln Savings Bank
    “Consumers and Their New Role in Fraud Mitigation,” by Scott Bright, FIS

    • 10 a.m.–12 p.m.—Keynote: “Overcoming Idea Killers,” by Tom Fishburne, Marketoonist

    For More Details

    Find comprehensive and up-to-the-minute information about the LEAD FWD Summit online at

    Future Building

    Does your community bank have a formal leadership development system in place to support succession planning?


    Source: ICBA NewsWatch Today member poll, July 2016