5 Minutes with Former Interns Now Working in the Banking Industry
VBA Internship Program Past Participants

Internal Links Monica McDearmon

In this Q&A, you’ll learn more about three of the VBA Internship Program’s past participants, all of whom are working in the banking industry today!

  • David Cahill, Loan Officer, Portfolio Manager at First Bank & Trust Company
    2020 Internship Program Participant
  • Whitney Eriksen, Flexent Accounting Specialist at Chesapeake Bank
    2017 Internship Program Participant
  • John Paul, Assistant Vice President, Business Banker at Atlantic Union Bank
    2019 Internship Program Participant

Describe your role at the bank in one or two sentences. 

DC:  My role at the bank includes creating new customer/business relationships, servicing current relationships, getting involved in the community, and underwriting various credits. 

WE: I work in the Accounts Receivable & Inventory Financing division of Chesapeake Bank. My role includes financial analysis and underwriting for prospects and clients. 

JP: My role at the bank involves making connections with businesses, finding solutions to help them reach their goals, and managing the existing relationships in my portfolio. 

What was your favorite part of the VBA Internship Program?  

DC: Getting to know the employees and the various departments they work in. This allowed me to see what their day-to-day job obligations looked like. I also enjoyed meeting the customers. 

WE: I enjoyed being able to meet other bankers all over the state, as well as the employees of Chesapeake Bank. It was very beneficial learning from employees in diverse positions at the bank and getting a macro-level view of how it operates. 

JP: My role at the bank involves making connections with businesses, finding solutions to help them reach their goals, and managing the existing relationships in my portfolio. 

What made you realize that you wanted to work in a bank beyond your internship? 

DC:  The culture at FB&T made me want to pursue banking. I really believe our culture at FB&T is second to none. I also really enjoyed seeing our customers grow with the bank. It is very rewarding to be able to help someone facilitate their financial ambitions.  

WE: I loved the idea of building relationships with members and businesses of my local community. After interning with Chesapeake Bank, and seeing how the organization cares about the employees, customers, and communities, I knew I wanted to be a part of that. 

JP: Impact. In many service industries, you don’t often speak with your provider on a regular basis. Clients interact with their banks sometimes on a daily basis and lean on bankers for advice and stability in their homes and businesses. 

What advice do you have for future participants in the program? How can they make the most of their experience as bank interns? 

DC:  I would recommend visiting every department at the bank. This will allow you to see what everyone’s day-to-day job obligations look like. I would also encourage the interns to ask questions. Do not be afraid to “sound stupid”. Your mentors do not expect you to know everything about banking. Ask questions to show that you are interested in the banking industry and more specifically the bank you are interning with. 

WE: Don’t be scared to ask questions. Accept any opportunity to join in on a meeting, training, webinar, or conference. Network and attend events and programs hosted by the VBA to meet other bankers around the state, such as at the Leadership Conference, Management Development Program, and more. 

JP: Get exposure to everything that you can! There are a ton of cool things that banks do “behind the scenes” that you would likely not know about without this experience. Try to understand why different departments and functions exist. Additionally, find out what makes the people in those departments successful. Volunteer for tasks to get hands-on experience and ask questions about what you don’t understand. 

Favorite part of working in the banking industry so far? 

DC:  Being able to grow professionally, while watching my clients grow with me. I genuinely enjoy helping people. Banking allows me to service people through purchasing their residences, starting businesses, and planning for retirement. You truly have the opportunity to assist your clients through every financial endeavor in life. 

WE: Learning about different companies and what they do, who they are, and how passionate they are about their product or service. I love being a part of helping their business grow and succeed. 

JP: I enjoy solving problems and being a resource to my clients. I learn something every day that helps me in my new and continued interactions with them. Helping people to navigate challenges and to identify opportunities is perhaps the most rewarding part of my career. 

What’s one project you are working on that excites you? 

DC:  I am currently working with our local Chamber of Commerce to start an “Emerging Professionals” group. This program will be geared toward young professionals, who are seeking to build relationships and meet young individuals from other industries that they can work with/count on. 

WE: I’m starting my second year at the Virginia Bankers School of Bank Management, a three-year program providing a multi-dimensional education experience in banking. So far, I have met some great people in the industry who are in various roles within banking and have learned from intelligent professors and instructors about the economy, ethics, and topics on banking. 

JP: I recently joined the newly created Hampton Roads Special Olympics Young Professionals Board. We are working to grow a group of young professionals centered around volunteerism, networking and community reinvestment.


What would you say to someone considering a career in the banking industry? 

DC:  It is a great industry if you are looking to help people, be involved in your community, and obtain a good work-life balance.  

WE: It truly is a great industry to be in. It is steadily changing and can be fast-paced, but also extremely innovative.  

JP: There is something for everyone in banking. As the industry grows and changes, as do your opportunities within it. 


Lighting Round: 

Favorite Weekend Activity: 

DC: Very stereotypical, but I love to golf.

WE: Boating

JP: Home improvement/DIY

What’s the most-used app on your phone?

DC: Instagram

WE: Instagram

JP: LinkedIn

What is the top thing on your bucket list?

DC: I would love to attend all of the Majors on the PGA Tour.

WE: Travel to Greece 

JP: Visiting the Great Barrier Reef

What would someone be surprised to learn about you?

DC: I was ranked 1st in a Trivia App in relation to the category “Seinfeld” when I was 16.

WE: I am from a very small town that doesn’t have one single stoplight in it.

JP: I am a huge history buff and love learning how past contributions led us to where we are today.