ICBA LIVE is back this month

For the first time since the pandemic started, community bankers from across the country have a space to gather. ICBA LIVE 2022 starts at the end of this month, and attendees will have the opportunity to forge new connections, learn from a wide range of speakers and learn how to better serve their communities.

By Tiffany Lukk

For the past two years, community bankers have stood at the ready to help their customers and communities navigate the pandemic by providing Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and other vital services. Now, it’s time for community bankers to take a moment to celebrate—in person.

ICBA LIVE is back for the first time in two years. In 2021, hundreds of community bankers gathered virtually to connect and be inspired. This year, bankers from across the country will gather in San Antonio, Texas, to connect with friends old and new, learn about trends emerging in banking and celebrate as a community. Here’s a glimpse of what you can look forward to.

at a glance

Where: Henry B. González Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas
When: February 27–March 3, 2022

  • Two inspiring keynote speakers
  • Speeches from ICBA leaders Rebeca Romero Rainey, Robert Fisher and Brad Bolton
  • The 33rd annual ICBPAC Auction Fundraiser on March 2

How to register
Go to icba.org/icbalive to register on or before February 11. After that date, please call 866-843-4222. See the FAQ for more details.

Learning labs

This year’s ICBA LIVE will feature learning labs on some of the most relevant topics in banking today. Community bankers will have a chance to attend a wide variety of learning labs that fall within seven tracks:

  1. Recruit, retain, reward employees
  2. Risk, regulation and exams
  3. Technology, payments and innovation
  4. Lending and deposits
  5. Growth and marketing
  6. Management and strategy
  7. Banker-to-banker leadership

These learning labs will allow bankers to discuss the topic at hand with the assistance of a moderator, roundtable-style. In addition, ICBA LIVE 2022 will introduce the EDGE Stage, a space where community bankers can learn about vital topics in banking and where Denise Hamilton will speak about the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion. Read more about Denise Hamilton »

Boots and bling

The annual Independent Community Bankers Political Action Committee (ICBPAC) Auction Fundraiser is back for its 33rd event. In true Texas style, grab your boots and don your bling on March 2 for a night of fundraising and entertainment. Proceeds go to ICBPAC—the only bipartisan federal PAC that fights for community bankers to have their voices heard. Afterwards, attendees will gather for a “Night to Celebrate,” the final social event of the convention.

Inspiring speakers

By Roshan McArthur

Mike Walsh

Photo by Eddy Ming

Mike Walsh
Futurist and CEO of global consultancy Tomorrow

Mike Walsh is a futurist, but he’s quick to point out that he doesn’t give advice on buying bitcoin and can’t forecast how soon we’ll have colonies on Mars. What he does do is bridge the worlds of disruptive technology and business leadership, advising some of our biggest organizations on how to reinvent themselves in the digital era.

A self-described global nomad, Walsh grew up in Australia, the son of a Malaysian Chinese mother and an English father. He has since traveled the world, exploring the intersection of technology and business.

Like all of us, his ability to travel was radically curtailed in early 2020. However, he soon discovered the pandemic had a dynamic flipside, helping unleash what he describes as “a decade’s worth of transformation in 12 months.” This catalyst accelerated the use of latent technologies, such as those for remote work and online shopping, and much more.

“Companies invested in new ways of creating value,” Walsh says. “We matured mRNA technology, which is more than just a vaccine; it’s potentially a platform for all kinds of drug discoveries. We got a lot better at [gene] sequencing. We accelerated the commercial spaceflight. All of those are foundational technologies. In the next few years, we’re going to see the dividends from those investments start to pay off.”

He recognizes the balancing act that community bank leaders face, having an intimate knowledge of customer needs but not always having the resources to invest in the technologies needed for digital intimacy. He believes, though, that with the right partners, it’s now possible to access technologies in ways that would have required huge investment in the past.

It’s all about overcoming inertia. “The real challenge is cultural, not technological,” Walsh says. “It’s realizing that whatever has made you successful up until now could be what actually kills you if you are not willing to let it go, to evolve or to adapt, to reset your playbook.”

➙ Catch Mike Walsh during general session on March 1 from 10:15–11:30 a.m.

Mallory Weggemann
Paralympic gold and bronze medal‑winning swimmer and motivational speaker

At the age of 18, Mallory Weggemann received an epidural injection for back pain that left her paralyzed from the waist down. A competitive swimmer for over a decade, she faced a stark choice.

Today, she calls the injury her “sudden moment of impact”—the instant where everything changed, and she was forced to adapt.

“So often, we face adversity or go through trauma or loss, or any version of a setback, and we just want to return instantly to where we were prior to that moment,” she says. “But that’s just not feasible. One of the biggest blessings to my paralysis is that, at a very young age, it forced me to realize in a situation like that, there’s literally no going back.”

“I’ve got to figure out how do I celebrate today, and then, how do I celebrate tomorrow?”
–Mallory Weggemann

There is, however, a way to move forward. Within three months, Weggemann was back in the pool. Fourteen years later, she’s a three-time Paralympian with five medals to her name, three of them gold. When we choose to approach adversity with an open mind, continuing to learn and grow, she says, adapting starts to become second nature. Then, we can be more intentional about adapting and evolving. It’s a lesson she believes is as important in the workplace as it is for individuals.

Weggemann also believes in the power of celebrating small victories. As an athlete, she is used to training “for years on end for that gold medal moment.” She says, however, that she “can’t only celebrate once every four years when I do the unthinkable and win a Paralympic gold. I’ve got to figure out how do I celebrate today, and then, how do I celebrate tomorrow?

“Because all those micro steps, those baby steps, are what lead to that moment,” she adds. “Creating an environment where you honor and celebrate that, I think, is what builds a really collaborative team and environment.”

➙ Catch Mallory Weggemann during general session on March 2 from 9:30–11:30 a.m.

Photo by Traci Ling

Denise Hamilton
Inclusion strategist, founder and CEO, WatchHerWork.com

Dictionary.com recently chose allyship as its word of the year, in recognition of its increased prominence in our discussions about diversity and inclusion. According to ICBA LIVE 2022 presenter Denise Hamilton, it’s also the skill of the next century. But what exactly does it mean?

“Allyship,” Hamilton explains, “is leveraging your power and privilege on behalf of those around you in a way that is respectful of them. Allyship is not charity. It’s not do-gooder work. It’s about acknowledging the opportunities that you have and utilizing them on behalf of others.”

The inclusion strategist, founder and CEO of WatchHerWork.com, a digital learning platform for professional women, Hamilton has more than 25 years’ experience in a wide range of industries, during which time she was usually the minority. “I have been ‘the first’ and ‘the only’ in almost every job I have ever had,” she explains. “The first woman, the only Black person…”

Hamilton remembers having to be “twice as good and jump twice as high” to prove herself, and it’s this experience that led her to ally training as a way of encouraging inclusivity in the workplace.

“What if we create a space where people can bring their whole selves, where they can feel like they’re enough?” she asks. “And if they give us their best, we will receive them, we will support them so they can be successful in our organizations. What would that be like?”

The first step, Hamilton suggests, is having the courage to challenge your assumptions. “Don’t believe everything you think,” she says. “You’ve got to ask yourself the hard questions. It’s not really about anyone else. It’s about you unpacking the stuff you bring to conversations. ‘What does a leader look like? Can that soft-spoken woman be a leader?’”

Another step, she says, is remembering to listen. “From a staff standpoint but also for our customers, we want to be able to provide services for everyone, and one of the most important things about providing any service is being a good listener. Not listening is a death knell to any business, and quite frankly some of us haven’t been listening.”

➙ Catch Denise Hamilton on the EDGE Stage on March 2 from 1–1:50 p.m.