Out of Office: D. Stephen Wooters

Photo: Morgan Ione Yeager

The executive vice president and chief marketing officer, digital banking and payments, of $1.5 billion-asset Fairfield County Bank in Ridgefield, Conn., is rooted in nature.

I’ve been keeping bees for about 10 years. As a sixth-generation owner of a dairy farm in western New York (AmesFarm.org), the connection to the environment and agriculture is really in my DNA. From gardening to beekeeping to raising chickens to even making my own maple syrup, I just love being outdoors.

The bees themselves are fascinating and inspiring. Through millions of years of evolution, they perfected ways to survive and communicate. For example, inside every hive is a common area called the “dance floor,” where bees will make calculated movements to tell other bees where to find the best patch of clover. A bee will rotate and point 10 degrees to the right of the sun, and then shake a certain number of times to tell the distance. Other bees will go to that spot, and if the clover is prolific, they will return and do the same dance. Seeing it up close is a humbling experience.

Whether bees or banking, it takes an entire ecosystem contributing to have a healthy community. Bees are the epitome of the community and demonstrate the value of working together for the common good.

I spent most of my career in large, global institutions and the fast-paced payments industry. It’s a very different environment to be in a more purpose-driven organization. Through our relationships, we improve lives and help build our local economy. —Interview by Andrea Lahouze