Emerging Bank Leaders

Overview Chandler Owdom

Emerging Banking Leaders (EBL)

VBA Emerging Bank Leaders

The Emerging Bank Leaders (EBL) is a group that connects Virginia’s emerging bank leaders to engage them in the future of the banking industry. More than 500 bankers are members of the EBL, which is split into six regions within the state.

It is free to join the group, and there are no age or participation requirements. You must be an employee of a VBA member bank to join.

Is the EBL Right for You?

  • Are you committed to a banking career? 
  • Are you interested in leadership and career development? 
  • Are you interested in becoming more involved in Virginia’s banking industry? 
  • Are you interested in meeting other bankers in Virginia? 
  • Are you interested in working to increase financial literacy among Virginia’s youth? 
  • Are you interested in becoming more involved in political grassroots efforts in Virginia and in Washington, DC on behalf of Virginia’s banking industry?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then consider joining this growing group of bankers from across Virginia!

Mission Statement

To ensure a continuum of leadership for the future of Virginia Banking.


Did you know the VBA has designed a number of resources specifically for our EBL members? Be sure to check out the most recent newsletter as well as these documents:


DEVELOP. As an emerging bank leader, I develop my professional skills in order to grow and progress within my career in the banking industry. Members participate in the Leadership Conference as well as attend Regional Events. The Leadership Conference gives emerging bank leaders the opportunity to share ideas with their peers, gain valuable career insight from bank CEOs and learn from industry speakers. Sessions and speakers are chosen directly from input from EBL members. At least twelve Regional Events are held across the state. 

CONNECT. As an emerging bank leader, I connect with other bank professionals from across Virginia. In addition to furthering bankers’ leadership and career development, the Regional Events are a great opportunity to get to know other bankers and to build relationships within the industry. There are many networking opportunities at the Leadership Conference, and registering for VBA Financial Literacy programs or Government Relations events provides more opportunities to meet and connect with other emerging bank leaders.

ENGAGE. As an emerging bank leader, I engage with the industry and other bankers. Helping improve the financial literacy of Virginia’s youth is a major focus of the VBA and the entire banking industry. Members of the EBL receive information on VBA Financial Literacy programs and are encouraged to participate in events like Teach Children to Save Day, Get Smart About Credit Day and the VBA Bank Day Scholarship Program. Likewise, VBA works to positively influence the legislative landscape in support of industry initiatives. Members of the EBL will receive information on VBA Government Relations programs and are encouraged to meet and foster relationships with their legislators at events such as VBA Banker Day in Richmond, the VBA/ABA Washington Summit in DC and State Legislative Meetings.

EBL Regions & Leadership


Nicole Martin
SVP/Operations, Benchmark Community Bank

Vice Chair

Sherry Williams
VP, Loan Operations, Chesapeake Bank

The EBL is split into six regions

Region 1: Northern Virginia
Region 2: Capitol (to include Fredericksburg and Northern Neck)
Region 3: Hampton Roads/Eastern Shore
Region 4: Valley
Region 5: Central/Southside (to include Roanoke, Lynchburg, Danville)
Region 6: Southwest Virginia 

Regional Directors

Region 1: Darren Tully, Freedom Bank
Region 2: Jennifer Willner, C&F Bank
Region 3: Dale Schuurman, JPMorgan Chase
Region 4: Jordan Dean, F&M Bank
Region 5: Mary Ann Miller, Bank of Botetourt
Region 6: James Bowen, First Bank & Trust Company

Each region holds two regional events over the course of each year. The purpose of this is to get members together more often and to ensure that members can attend events since they are closer to their respective residences. The Regional Directors are responsible for choosing the type of event, but welcome input and help with planning.

EBL Events

Attended Leadership Conference LIVE and looking for the next educational opportunity? Look to the ABA-Wharton Emerging Leaders Certificates. ABA has joined with the prestigious University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School to offer three leadership certificate programs featuring preeminent Wharton faculty that provide top-notch training for emerging leaders in an accessible online format.

The challenging content helps develop critical thinking and requires participants to demonstrate understanding of key points. Certificates cover leadership strategy, employee motivation and engagement and advanced leadership skills. Read more in our VBA Virtual enewsletter.