2023 VBA Leadership Conference
Attendee Portal

Internal Links Chandler Owdom Megan Darmanin

The VBA Leadership Conference is designed for emerging banking leaders and members of the Virginia Bankers Association Emerging Bank Leaders (EBL) group, giving attendees the opportunity to share ideas and network with peers from across the state. This webpage houses all of the information you need to know leading up to and during the event.

thank you to our portal sponsor!

VCDC logo

As the only Virginia-based tax credit equity fund, they have been creating high-performing equity funds for over 30 years that prioritize the diverse needs of their investor and development partners, as well as the communities in need of affordable housing and economic development opportunities. Through their efforts, they have facilitated and managed 59 equity funds, directing funding to the construction and rehabilitation of affordable rental housing and economic development real estate projects across Virginia and in surrounding states. VCDC is a VBA Endorsed Provider

Bernard Rogers, Director of Equity Funds & Investor Relations
brogers@vacdc.org | (804) 297-3005

A special thank you to our 2023 EBL Chair Amy mellinger, Powell valley national bank

You can learn more about Amy in her Virginia Banking Monthly Q&A here.

Wi-Fi Information


Password: DCMI2023


Click here for the attendee roster.

Agenda, Session Information & Session Materials

Download the full conference agenda here!

Materials can be accessed using the password Leadconf2023.

Thursday, November 16  
9:00-9:30 a.m.

Registration & Continental Networking Breakfast – Sponsored by Bankers Insurance

Chef’s choice of a hot breakfast special, seasonal fresh fruit, breakfast pastries, yogurts and drinks will be available in the Prefunction Area Outside of Salon B.

9:30-9:45 a.m.

Welcome and Announcements

2023 Emerging Bank Leaders Chair Amy Mellinger

SVP, Human Resources & Marketing | Powell Valley National Bank
9:45-10:45 a.m.

Economic Outlook
Kartik Athreya
EVP & Director of Research | Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

This presentation will provide an overview of national economic conditions, as well as those in Virginia.
10:45-11:00 a.m.

Networking Break

Drinks and snacks will be available in the Prefunction Area Outside of Salon B. 

11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Bank CEOs/Bank Executives Panel

  • Litz Van Dyke, Carter Bank & Trust
  • Todd Hall, First National Bank
  • Jennifer Knighting, First Bank, Virginia
  • Moderated by Amy Mellinger, Powell Valley National Bank
This esteemed group of bankers will share perspectives and insight on leadership. Additionally, the panelists will discuss key themes that we will be addressing throughout the Leadership Conference this year and why they are important.  
12:15-1:15 p.m.

Lunch – Sponsored by CRS Data

A buffet-style fajita bar will be served in the Colonnade Ballroom. 

1:15-2:15 p.m.

Understanding Your Why

Sam Poole
Senior Vice President/Chief Retail Officer | Chesapeake Bank

The most effective leaders have a clear sense of their why and it comes through in just about everything they do. Sam Poole will explore the deep reason we, as leaders, show up. By understanding this, you will create a deeper connection to your work, the people you lead, customers (both internal and external) and the communities you serve. Interactive breakout groups will get past the surface and truly dive into WHY we show up and lead at our banks. Walk away from this session with a deeper understanding of the self-motivation that ties us to the work that we do and the results we get, and how to play up those strengths.   
2:15-3:15 p.m.

The 5 Buckets Principle: The Science of Work-Life Balance

Heather Dunning
Speaker | Anthem EAP

Is it possible to meet the competing demands of finances, friends and family, work, health, and community? The resounding answer is yes! In this fun, interactive session, we will learn the 5 Buckets Principle of work/life balance to get the tools to prioritize what is and should be important to us. We will learn how to think about the BIG PICTURE without ignoring the little things that matter. Heather will show attendees how to find the time to manage it all, including time for ourselves, and for fun, by identifying priorities, making choices, and managing expectations.

View Heather's Session Materials Here!

3:15-3:30 p.m.

Networking Break

Drinks and snacks will be available in the Prefunction Area Outside of Salon B. 
3:30-4:30 p.m.

Compounding Influence: How to Sell Your Ideas, Grow Your Influence & Earn the Right to Be Heard By Decision-Makers

Alyson Van Hooser
President & CEO | Van Hooser Associates, Inc.

In order to influence people — those people who are like you and those who are vastly different from you — you must be able to think like them. Earning The Right To Be Heard is about more than just getting what you want. It’s about approaching key players and decision-makers in a way that sparks their interest and causes them to want to listen to you both now and down the road. This process shows you the sweet spot of strategic communication that gains you more respect and influence while increasing your professional opportunities. Earning The Right To Be Heard uncovers the five key questions you must have answers for. You’ll learn the process of answering these questions with the right answers every time. Moreover, you’ll discover how to present yourself and your ideas in a way that decision-makers and prime stakeholders respect, trust, and regularly seek out.

View Alyson's Session Materials Here!

4:30-4:45 p.m. Announcements and Adjourn for the Day
6:00-8:00 p.m.

Reception & Dinner – Sponsored by Equifax Sales Agent – RA Business Solution

Featuring Entertainment by the Something Shiny Duo

The reception and dinner will be held in the Colonnade Ballroom, with overflow seating in Magnolia South for dining. The duo will perform in the Colonnade Ballroom from 6:30-8 p.m., when the buffet will also be available. 
Friday, November 17  
8:30-9:15 a.m.

Networking Breakfast – Sponsored by Bankers Insurance

A full breakfast buffet will be available to Leadership Conference attendees via the Magnolia South Breakfast Buffet. Private seating for our group for dining will be available in the Colonnade Ballroom. 

9:15-9:30 a.m. Welcome and Announcements
9:30-10:30 a.m.

It’s Your Career: Grab the Wheel and Let’s Go Places!

Paul Carney
EVP, Chief HR Officer | Carter Bank & Trust

Learning Objectives:

  • Guide you to understand the total value you add to an organization
  • Learn how to use a framework to help you increase your value to the organization, especially through skill and career development
  • Apply the 70-20-10 rule in your career development
  • Why knowing your story and telling your story are keys to your career success
  • Use the 4 P’s of Workforce Management to build effective and engaged teams

View Paul's Session Materials Here!

10:30-10:45 a.m.

Networking Break

Drinks and snacks will be available in the Prefunction Area Outside of Salon B. 

10:45-12:00 p.m.

A Leader Worth Following

Chris Barras
Speaker | Second Story Partnership

This is a true statement.  At the end of the day how your organization goes over the next few years will be driven by the leaders on the team.  Are they good at what they do?  Can they influence others to bring out their greatness?  If you have great leaders, it is highly likely your organization will navigate whatever challenges come your way and thrive.  If you have poor leaders, you are likely to flounder or fail.

There are plenty of books and articles that give techniques and tips for being a great leader. Usually those things are focused on behaviors that anyone can implement to influence other people on the team and get them to perform at a high level.  However, a missing piece that is not talked about enough is how we can actually be the kind of people that are worth following.  People may have the job title in the organization of team lead or CFO or manager, but at the end of the day people follow people, not job titles.  In this talk we will look at the character qualities needed to be people of integrity that are worth following and look at ways we can grow in these qualities.

12:00 p.m. Conference Adjourns

About Our Keynote Speakers

Kartik Athreya
Executive Vice President & Director of Research | Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

Kartik Athreya is executive vice president and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Athreya’s work has been published in a variety of academic journals, including the Journal of Monetary EconomicsAmerican Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, and International Economic Review. He is also an associate editor at the Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control. In recent years, Athreya has taught a doctoral course in macroeconomics at the University of Virginia and authored a book entitled Big Ideas in Macroeconomics (2013, MIT Press). He earned his doctorate from the University of Iowa in 2000.

Athreya’s research interests are in macroeconomics and consumer finance. His current research aims to measure and understand household financial distress and debt repayment decisions, to quantify the links between household investments in human capital and in the stock market, and to assess the importance of risks associated with college enrollment for educational attainment and inequality.

Chris Barras
Speaker | Second Story Partnerships

Chris is a leader who has decades of leadership experience in business, non-profits and even the church world.  He has worked with teams of various sizes and has helped bring the best out of those around him.  A talented communicator – Chris pulls from psychology, business, history, and research to engage audiences and help challenge the way they think.  Chris does this with a lot of humor and some very straight talk.

When Chris isn’t teaching, writing or coaching, he loves to support his three sons with their music and basketball.  He also enjoys spending time with his wife Abby of 25 years exploring the city of Richmond or traveling to fun far away places. Chris loves football, soccer, reading and cooking.

Paul Carney
Executive Vice President, Chief HR Officer | Carter Bank & Trust

From the intricate world of business and technology to the dynamic domain of human resources, Paul Carney has covered it all. As a guiding force behind Carter Bank & Trust, Paul performs today as their Chief Human Resources Officer. With over 30 years of experience across business, IT, and HR, Paul seamlessly blends his roles and proudly identifies as a businessperson who manages HR by being a trusted advisor to his business partners.

And Paul isn’t just all talk; he’s penned his wisdom into his insightful book, Move Your Æ(ash): Know, Grow, and Show Your Career Value. Lauded for its innovative way to calculate a person’s career value, the book launched in 2018 and quickly found its place on the desks of many ambitious professionals. His extensive writing and speaking serves as a testament to his dedication to career growth and personal development. Paul’s expertise is not limited to HR alone; he has earned respected accreditations from the Blockchain Council as an AI Expert™ and Certified Prompt Engineer™.

Away from the hustle and bustle of his professional life, Paul shares an active life with his best friend and wife, Lisa. Together, they relish the simple joys – quality time with their two adult children, the natural beauty of the beach, and their shared love for wine. And this isn’t just any ordinary love for wine; Paul and Lisa turned their passion into achievement when they received the prestigious Level 2 Award in Wine, making every sip an educated experience of aromas and flavors.

Heather Dunning
Speaker | Anthem EAP

Heather has been a solopreneur in the health and wellness field for 20 years. Her passion is providing individuals, corporate groups and families with the tools they need to create balance, joy, renewed health, effective communication, solution-finding and stress management. Heather is very present, empathetic and enthusiastic in delivering trainings that she has provided for networking groups, corporations, government organizations, private family groups, Girls Scouts, primary schools, and various non-profits.

She has a degree in business management and numerous certifications encompassing physical, mental and emotional well-being. Her love for humanity and all forms and styles of communication with yourself, your workgroup & your home life is what drives her to keep learning and sharing supportive knowledge with others. Steadfast in the belief that Knowledge is Power, she encourages others to embrace change, stay present, be willing to actively listen and begin enjoying the process of learning and growing as a business and as an individual.

Todd Hall
President, CEO & Trust Officer | First National Bank

Todd is President and Chief Executive Officer of Pinnacle Bankshares Corporation and First National Bank, a position he has held since 2011. He joined First National Bank over 20 years ago, after nearly 11 years with Central Fidelity Bank and its successor, Wachovia Bank. Todd earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting from Lynchburg College (now the University of Lynchburg) in 1992 and graduated from the Virginia Bankers School of Bank Management at the University of Virginia in 2008 and the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University in 2011, where he is a prior member of the board of trustees. 

He serves on the boards of Bankers Insurance, LLC, the Powell Foundation, the Virginia Bankers Association, and VBA Management Services, Inc.  He is a past chairman of the board of directors for the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance and VBA Management Services, Inc.  Additionally, Todd has served on the Boards of the Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce, Region 2000, Virginia Technical Institute, and the Altavista Economic Development Authority.

Jennifer Knighting
Senior Vice President, Director of Sales & Marketing | First Bank, Virginia

Jennifer Knighting has over 20 years of experience in the community bank marketing space and is currently the Senior Vice President, Director of Marketing and Communications at First Bank in Strasburg, Virginia.  She is a member of the VBA’s Executive Women in Banking Peer Group, Emerging Bank Leaders, and also serves on the Virginia Bankers Association Education Foundation Board.  Jennifer is a graduate of James Madison University and the Virginia Bankers School of Bank Management.  

Amy Mellinger
Senior Vice President, Human Resources & Marketing | Powell Valley National Bank

2023 EBL Chair Amy Mellinger is the senior vice president, director of human resources and marketing at Powell Valley National Bank. She joined PVNB in 2014 as electronic banking officer with 11 years of experience in community banking in Abingdon, VA. Throughout her career, Amy has managed a variety of responsibilities in multiple areas, including lending, administration, electronic banking, and marketing. In 2020, PVNB added to her marketing responsibilities the lead role in human resources. She also serves as the recording secretary for the bank’s board of directors.

Amy is a graduate of Clemson University, the Virginia Bankers School of Bank Management and is a current member of the VBA HR Committee in addition to the EBL Steering Committee. Amy and her husband, Blake, along with their two children, Mason and McKenna, reside in Wise, VA.

Sam Poole
Senior Vice President, Chief Retail Officer | Chesapeake Bank

Sam Poole is a senior vice president and the chief retail officer for Chesapeake Bank. He shares over 25 years of banking experience with his team and our customers.

Sam earned his A.S. in education from Becker College in Worcester, MA in 1993. He is a 2004 graduate of the Virginia Bankers School of Bank Management where he served as class vice president. He graduated in 2013 from LEAD Historic Triangle, a Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance sponsored program. In 2019 he completed The Center for Creative Leadership’s Leadership Development Program and graduated from the VBA Executive Leadership Institute. He is currently enrolled in the American Bankers Association Stonier Graduate School of Banking at the University of Pennsylvania.

Sam currently serves on the board of directors for The Relationship Foundation of Virginia. He is a past board chair of The Greater Williamsburg United Way and former treasurer and executive committee member of the R. F. Wilkinson YMCA Board of Directors. Active in community life, he spent many years as a recreational and middle school football coach. Sam currently announces high school football games for Atlee High School in Mechanicsville, VA during evenings in the fall.

Litz Van Dyke
2023-2024 VBA Chairman
CEO | Carter Bank & Trust

Current VBA Chairman Litz Van Dyke has been CEO of Carter Bank & Trust since 2017 and CEO of Carter Bankshares, Inc. since 2022. He was appointed to the board of directors in 2017. Prior to joining Carter Bank & Trust in 2016, Litz was a practice manager for CCG Catalyst Consulting Group based in Phoenix, Arizona, assisting banks with strategic advisory services. He served as COO for StellarOne Corporation from 2008 to 2012.

Litz served as EVP and COO of FNB Corporation and as president and CEO of First National Bank, both in Christiansburg, Virginia.

From February 1999 to December 2002, he served as EVP of FNB Corporation and First National Bank, and served as SVP/commercial loans of First National Bank prior to February 1999.

Litz is a 1986 graduate of Hampden-Sydney (Cum Laude with a BA in economics), Stonier Graduate School of Banking and the Virginia Bankers School of Bank Management. 

Alyson Van Hooser
President & CEO | Van Hooser Associates, Inc.

Leaders and business professionals need help reframing and redefining leadership in today’s diverse, multi-generation workforce. Alyson Van Hooser is on a sold-out mission to show them the way.

Tough beginnings taught Alyson the radical power of an ownership mindset–one that transforms the trajectory of personal lives and leadership careers. 

Earning rapid success in the food, retail, and finance industries, and as a City Councilwoman — all by the age of 30 — helped her discover the immense power that comes when leaders own the responsibility of truly understanding and intentionally connecting with the people they serve.

Her books Level Up and Accelerate Your Success unveil powerful stories of lessons learned through struggles and practical strategies needed to be successful at home and at work. With these strategies in tow, individuals and teams everywhere discover ways to successfully work better together.

Alyson’s audiences return to work inspired to take ownership of their success and equipped with future-proof practical, tactical strategies to level up the way they lead themselves, their team, and their entire organization!

Event Attire

The attire for the entire conference is business casual.

Hotel & Parking Information

Hotel 24 South
24 South Market Street
Staunton, VA 24401

The deadline to reserve your hotel room at the VBA rate has passed. If you still need to reserve a room, please call 540-885-4848 and mention the 2023 Leadership Conference to check availability. 

Parking Information

Parking charges are included with the VBA hotel rate and the parking garage is attached to the hotel. Enjoy self-parking in a covered, secure garage.

If you are not staying at the hotel, the parking rate is $1.25 per hour, no more than $7.50 per day. The garage only takes cash ($1, $5 and .25).

Thank You to Our Sponsors!

Bankers Insurance logo

Bankers Insurance
Zachery Kephart, CIC, CLCS, VP of Sales Strategy and Business Development
Email | (540) 904-7572

As one of the largest insurance agencies in the country, Bankers Insurance clients enjoy access to hundreds of insurance carriers with best-in-class pricing. Their commitment to excellence, professionalism, and personalized service has earned them a trusted reputation among clients and partners in the industry with one of their largest specialties being financial institutions. Contact them today to discuss complete insurance packages for your home, auto, business, and employee benefits needs.
VBA Endorsed Provider


Banzai logo

Jake Finlinson, VP of Sales
Email | (214) 417-9426

Banzai is a Premier Financial Literacy content provider for Banks. Banzai has all the marketing tools that you need to create engaging, unique, high-quality content for your website and to partner with community organizations, non profits, schools, and social media.
VBA Endorsed Provider


CRS Data logo

CRS Data
Alwyn Staley, Partner
Email | (865) 414-5597

CRS Data specializes in property tax and mortgage information. They help banks manage lending portfolios, increase fee income, streamline the appraisal process and prospect for new commercial lending opportunities.


DCMI logo

DCMI Mid-Atlantic Inc.
Val Riccardi, Principal
Email | (855) 383-3264

DCMI Mid-Atlantic Inc. is a real estate due diligence consulting firm specializing in the comprehensive assessment of existing real estate and new construction. Their services include property condition surveys, environmental assessments, detailed cost analysis, progress monitoring inspections, construction management, and owner representation on commercial, multi-family, single-family residential, and land development projects.  DCMI is a WBENC and SWaM-certified Class A Contractor serving national lenders and community banks throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.


DDI Technology logo

DDI Technology, an IAA company
Tammy Webster, TRS Account Manager
Email | (803) 808-4918

DDI Technology is a leading electronic title and registration technology firm providing title administration and processing services for vehicle dealers and lenders. DDI Technology is a proud member of the IAA, Inc. family of companies and focuses on delivering superior products, professional service and hi-touch customer service for all areas of vehicle title management.
VBA Endorsed Provider


Dudley Resources logo

Dudley Resources
Chip Jones, Senior Advisor
Email | (804) 873-8593

Dudley Resources provides Flexible Remarketing Solutions, empowering clients with the ability to put the focus back on banking. Their firm offers over 40 years of experience supporting Regional Banks and Institutional Sellers with asset management services and programs which enable their clients to achieve maximum values across an array of asset classes. Their services include A/R collection servicing and purchasing, Senior Accredited (ASA) approved appraisals, online and simulcast auctions for real estate, machinery & equipment, vehicles and all business assets, proprietary surge pricing platforms, trustee & repo services, foreclosure sales, note sales, and buyout options. Equipped with industry leading technology, knowledge, and experience to provide the best customer service in the business. Dudley Resources….a resource to banks offering dependable and reliable results for all your asset remarketing needs.


Equifax logo

Equifax Sales Agent – RA Business Solutions
Amy Cardona, Vice President of Sales
Email | (757) 455-9387
Matt Boyer, Executive Vice President
Email | (757) 455-9326

Retail Alliance was founded in 1903 as the sole credit bureau in Hampton Roads, Virginia. It has been RA’s mission to serve businesses in the Mid-Atlantic region as trusted advisors. The RA team provides lift by leveraging unparalleled Equifax data to power targeted solutions to mitigate risk, grow loans/deposits, and assist with ever changing compliance needs (CECL etc.).


VCDC logo

Bernard Rogers, Director of Equity Funds & Investor Relations
brogers@vacdc.org | (804) 297-3005

As the only Virginia-based tax credit equity fund, they have been creating high-performing equity funds for over 30 years that prioritize the diverse needs of their investor and development partners, as well as the communities in need of affordable housing and economic development opportunities. Through their efforts, they have facilitated and managed 59 equity funds, directing funding to the construction and rehabilitation of affordable rental housing and economic development real estate projects across Virginia and in surrounding states. 
VBA Endorsed Provider


Dietary Restrictions, Special Needs & Americans with Disabilities Notice

Please send any dietary restrictions or special needs that may affect your participation in this event to Chandler Owdom to discuss accommodations.

Upcoming Events for VBA Emerging Bank Leaders!

Women in Banking EBL Dinner

Join us on November 29, the night before the VBA Women in Banking Conference, for an EBL dinner! Be sure to bring your banker friends to dinner who are interested in learning more about the EBL! This dinner is for attendees of the Women in Banking Conference who are members of the EBL or interested in more information on the group.

Please email Megan Darmanin to RSVP.

Pre-Banker Day EBL Reception

Join us on January 10, the night before VBA Banker Day, for the Pre-Banker Day Reception! This reception is for Banker Day attendees, hosted by the EBL. This event is free to attend – drinks are on your own. Click on the image below to RSVP.