Out of Office: Orvin Kimbrough

Orvin Kimbrough

Orvin Kimbrough of Midwest BankCentre teaches at the Bauer Leadership Center of Washington University’s Olin Business School.

The chairman and CEO of $2.3 billion-asset Midwest BankCentre in St. Louis has been teaching students valuable leadership skills for more than a decade as a Washington University adjunct professor.

The truth is, in order to go from good to great, you need effective leadership. You need to talk about what some consider as those very, very soft aspects of organizations. And that’s teamwork. That’s culture. That’s leadership. I’m excited that I get to go on this journey with students.

The first thing we always explore is our personal leadership style, and sometimes we don’t even know. Most people tend to think that, because they’re an introvert, they’re not a leader. We go through a discovery process to understand what our leadership style is. For me, I’m a servant leader. In short, I try to position my team for success.

We as leaders … want to continue to stretch our points of view. I love the fact that I get to teach at Washington University in St. Louis, because I’m engaged with leaders from all across the world. And so, it stretches me to think about alternative points of view to common leadership challenges.

When I was a kid, I was really a below-average student. When I was taking my summer classes, I would go up to Washington University to sit on the campus because it made me feel smarter. The fact that I get the privilege of sharing my gifts and talents and drawing out the gifts and talents of these students on Washington University’s campus today is somewhat surreal.


Hannah Kil is an editorial assistant with Independent Banker.