15 minutes with… Ginger Martin

CEO and president of the $300 million-asset American National Bank in Oakland Park, Fla.

IB: What do you like best about being a community banker?
Martin: As a community bank, we know our customers. We care about seeing our customers meet their financial goals, both personal and business. One of the things we’re always saying is bring your heart to work. Being CEO gives me a platform to make a difference. Having that CEO title gives me access and influence, and I want to use that for the greater good.

IB: Speaking of the greater good, you climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2015 to raise money to combat human trafficking. Why?
Martin: Statistically, over 24 million women and children are in some way trafficked. They call it modern-day slavery, and foster children are specifically vulnerable. I am a former foster parent, an adoptive parent. Those were the things that captured my attention.
I thought, “I’m a woman, I’m a mother, I’m a businessperson, and I could be doing more than I’m doing.”

IB: Why climb a mountain?
Martin: I have always liked hiking and physical challenge. I got invited to a luncheon in February 2013 hosted by Freedom Challenge [the group that organized the climb], and I knew some ladies who had gone on the first climb to Kilimanjaro in 2012.
The thing that scared me more than the mountain: The minimum fundraising goal was $50,000. I said, no, I’m not going to go. They kept after me, and I kept thinking about it. I finally said yes to Kilimanjaro at the end of November 2014, with three months for training. I was a little late to make a decision, but in the end, I raised $63,000.

IB: So, what’s next?
Martin: I’m doing two hikes this year: Estes Park, Colo., and Machu Picchu, Peru. It’s become my identity. I’m the banker that climbs mountains.

—Colleen Morrison