5 Minutes with the VBA Committee Chairs

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Kelly DeWitt, Farmers Bank
Co-Chair of the VBA Security and Risk Committee

Number of Years on the Committee: 8

How have you benefited from your participation in this committee?
The Security and Risk Committee has provided me with great networking relationships with peers, excellent educational opportunities, and insightful information on ever evolving challenges within the Banking Industry. I value the experience and knowledge that each Virginia Banker brings to our committee. I feel that shared knowledge helps all within the Association grow and meet the fast pace of current and future issues.

Your Media Mix:

  • Favorite Song: Ghosts That We Knew – Mumford and Sons
  • Favorite Podcast: The Dan Bongino Show​
  • Favorite Book: Pride and Prejudice
  • Favorite TV Show: Finding Your Roots
  • Favorite Movie: Top Gun

Lightning Round Questions:

  • What is your secret weapon? Remaining cool during chaos
  • I always start my day with…A prayer for my family and friends, along with asking for guidance for the day.
  • I would most like to have lunch with (dead or alive): My Dad. He has been gone since 2013. I just loved his wisdom and take on life.
  • Favorite Weekend Activity: Hiking, camping, horseback riding
  • If I wasn’t a banker, I would be…FBI Agent and US Navy Pilot
  • If your life right now were a Netflix show, what would it be called? Somewhere in Middle Age
  • What do you consider your biggest accomplishment – career or otherwise? Raising my two sons who are now young adults to be good men!
  • How would you spend one million dollars? Pay off bills for family and donate a large portion to veterans foundations.
  • If you could host a talk show, who would be your first guest? John F. Kennedy
  • What’s the most-used app on your phone? Ancestry
  • What is the top thing still left on your bucket list? Visiting Europe to look at the art, castles, architecture and history.
  • What TV show or movie character would it be the most fun to change places with for a week? Betty White
  • What would someone be surprised to learn about you? That I love history, art, archaeology, and tracing my families genealogy.

Ashley Ratliff-Ives, American National Bank & Trust Co.
Chair of the VBA Training Committee

Number of Years on the Committee: 4

How have you benefited from your participation in this committee?
The Training Committee has been a great source for peer networking and a forum for discussing different learning management systems, new innovative techniques to help improve the virtual learning experience, and a way to connect with other professionals in the field.

Your Media Mix:

  • Favorite Song: The Promise – Tracy Chapman
  • Favorite Podcast: My Favorite Murder
  • Favorite Book: Outer Banks - Anne Rivers Siddons
  • Favorite TV Show: Ozark
  • Favorite Movie: Christmas Vacation​

Lightning Round Questions:

  • What is your secret weapon? The power of persuasion
  • I always start my day with…A cup of coffee and The Today Show
  • If I wasn’t a banker, I would be…Interior decorator
  • What do you consider your biggest accomplishment – career or otherwise? Adopting my daughter from China
  • What’s the most-used app on your phone? Amazon and Etsy
  • What is the top thing still left on your bucket list? Dolly Parton concert

Heather Skigen Romagnoli, Sandy Spring Bank
Chair of the VBA Lending Executives Committee

Number of Years on the Committee: 9

How have you benefited from your participation in this committee?
Being a member of the Lending & Credit Exec Committee has given me the opportunity to meet lenders and other credit professionals from across the state representing banks of various sizes. It is a great forum for discussing such topics as the challenges we all face in the ever-changing regulatory environment or the market trends as they ebb and flow. Through the committee I’ve become more aware of legislative issues effecting the industry, best practices on a variety of topics, and had the chance to become more involved with the VBA by also attending conferences.

Your Media Mix:

  • Favorite Song: Friends in Low Places - Garth Brooks
  • Favorite Podcast: We Can Do Hard Things​
  • Favorite Book: Dare to Lead
  • Favorite TV Show: Grey’s Anatomy​
  • Favorite Movie: When Harry Met Sally​

Lightning Round Questions:

  • I always start my day with…Coffee!
  • I would most like to have lunch with (dead or alive)…My grandma
  • Favorite weekend activity: Hiking in summer, downhill skiing in winter
  • If I wasn’t a banker, I would be a…Baker
  • What is the top thing still left on your bucket list? Skiing in the Alps

Ed Kraemer, Burke & Herbert Bank
Chair of the VBA Ops & Tech Committee

Number of Years on the Committee: 4

How have you benefited from your participation in this committee?
The best part of participation is gaining an understanding of the challenges and successes our members have and the opportunity for collaboration. This particular committee has provided the opportunity to get first glance opportunities with respect to newer product solutions as well as to actively participate in the creation of learning opportunities for the broader member base.

Your Media Mix:

  • Favorite Song: Simple Man - Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Favorite Podcast: Whence Came You
  • Favorite Book: The Chairman - Stephen Frey
  • Favorite TV Show: X-Files
  • Favorite Movie: It’s a Wonderful Life​

Lightning Round Questions:

  • What is your secret weapon? Feeling calm in chaos
  • I always start my day with…A chat with my wife
  • I would most like to have lunch with (dead or alive): My Grandfather
  • How would you spend one million dollars? Lake house
  • What is the top thing still left on your bucket list? Skydiving

Lisa Rutherford, First Bank, VA
Chair of the VBA HR Committee

Number of Years on the Committee: 13

How have you benefited from your participation in this committee?
Where do you begin? There are so many benefits to being part of a VBA Committee. The networking with the other committee members ranks very high. The warm and friendly engagement with your peers is amazing. There is never a time when you don’t feel you can reach out to one or more members of the committee, either via e-mail or phone and talk out a challenge. The VBA’s support of the committee is tremendous as well and the value this trade association brings to our bank is invaluable.

Your Media Mix:

  • Favorite Song: In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins
  • Favorite Book: Where The Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
  • Favorite TV Show: The Office
  • Favorite Movie: The Princess Bride​

Lightning Round Questions:

  • I always start my day with…A 60-minute intense workout
  • I would most like to have lunch with (dead or alive): Jesus
  • Favorite weekend activity: Anything done with my two boys!
  • If I wasn’t a banker, I would be…Chief HR Officer for any reputable and forward thinking company
  • If your life right now were a Netflix show, what would it be called? How Many Things Can I Fit in THIS Day??
  • What do you consider your biggest accomplishment - career or otherwise? Raising the best two young men in the world!
  • How would you spend one million dollars? Buy a beach house at Emerald Isle, NC
  • If you could host a talk show, who would be your first guest? Peyton Manning
  • What’s the most-used app on your phone? Waze
  • What is the top thing still left on your bucket list? Trip to Ireland

Betsy Sharon, Chain Bridge Bank
Chair of the VBA Legal Affairs Committee

Number of Years on the Committee: 9

How have you benefited from your participation in this committee?
The best way to keep up on new laws, bills, and caselaw that affect banks in Virginia is to belong to this Committee. DeMarion Johnston and Matt Bruning do an excellent job of letting us know what is going on in the legislature. Doug Calloway is great at tracking trends in new cases. This Committee has been invaluable during the pandemic; keeping up with CDC guidelines, Virginia Executive Orders and OSHA rules. We were able to share remote and back to work tips. I am grateful that the VBA provides such vital resources.

Your Media Mix:

  • Favorite Song: Sweet Home Alabama
  • Favorite Podcast: TED Talks
  • Favorite Book: The Angle of Repose
  • Favorite TV Show: I rarely watch TV
  • Favorite Movie: Constantine, 2005 ​

Lightning Round Questions:

  • I always start my day with…coffee, news, email, exercise
  • Favorite weekend activity: long bike rides or hikes
  • If your life right now were a Netflix show, what would it be called? Finding the Joy and Humor in Everyday Life
  • What do you consider your biggest accomplishment - career or otherwise? Raising my son.
  • What’s the most-used app on your phone? NEWS and Reuters
  • What is the top thing still left on your bucket list? Climbing the via ferrata, biking the Camino de Santiago

Kathleen Croson, Bank of Clarke County
Chair of the VBA Retail Committee

Number of Years on the Committee: 11

How have you benefited from your participation in this committee?
Participation in the Retail Executives Committee has provided me the opportunity to be actively engaged in the VBA as a member and chair; given me a core group of bankers who are strong retail leaders to network and share best practices with, who answer questions at a moment’s notice, and help me find solutions to issues and concerns facing our bank; and I have been able to continue my learning through attendance at numerous educational events put on by the VBA, specifically the Pathways to Connect & Protect Program and the Retail Banking Symposium, through the years.. During the past 12 months, this committee has built comradery, gained trust, and strengthened relationships among our members.

Your Media Mix:

  • Favorite Song: Humble and Kind by Tim McGrow. The words describe virtues my husband and I have tried to always instill in our four children.
  • Favorite Book: I read for informational and educational purposes only. The most recent book which has been extremely impactful from a work perspective is The Ideal Team Player, by Patrick Lencioni. The book focuses on the three essential virtues of an ideal team player…hungry, humble and smart.
  • Favorite TV Show: I watch very little TV, however, when I do, it is the news or sports.
  • Favorite Movie: Movies based on real life sports experiences such as Remember the Titans, McFarland and The Blind Side.

Lightning Round Questions:

  • I always start my day with…A grande chai tea latte with soy milk from Starbucks
  • Favorite weekend activity: Boating during the warmer months, and most recently during COVID, visiting my parents.
  • What do you consider your biggest accomplishment - career or otherwise? My four children who have given my husband and I many proud parent moments through the years.
  • What’s the most used app on your phone? Amazon
  • What is the top thing still left on your bucket list? A trip to Alaska. One week on the cruise ship and one week on a train.

Tracy Pastella, Chesapeake Bank
Co-Chair of the VBA Security & Enterprise Risk Management Committee

Number of Years on the Committee: 4

How have you benefited from your participation in this committee?
I have benefited by participating on this committee many education opportunities, connections and collaboration with other community banks in Virginia. I believe that building networks is important because there is so much to maintain and keep current in the Financial Industry, the information is invaluable . Having different perspectives provides all with options when researching or development programs and processes. It is a pleasure serving on the committee and working with the VBA.

Your Media Mix:

  • Favorite Song: Joy, For King & Country
  • Favorite Podcast: Rachel Hollis
  • Favorite Book: Harry Potter Series
  • Favorite TV Show: Big Bang Theory
  • Favorite Movie: Fast and Furious Series

Lightning Round Questions:

  • I always start my day with…Making the bed
  • I would most like to have lunch with (dead or alive): My nanny to ask her recipe for Chocolate pie and chicken dumplings, huge hug!
  • Favorite Weekend Activity: Walking on the beach when the weather permits
  • If I wasn’t a banker, I would be…A teacher
  • What do you consider your biggest accomplishment - career or otherwise? My biggest accomplishment is having my son
  • What is the top thing still left on your bucket list? Tour Europe

Neil Burke, Benchmark Community Bank
Chair of the VBA CFO Committee

Number of Years on the Committee: 9

How have you benefited from your participation in this committee?
The committee has been a great way to meet other bankers from across the state. The opportunity for discussion and the sharing of ideas (and examination notes!) has been invaluable. Seeing how other banks approach things has allowed me to learn and bring new ideas to my bank and improve how we operate.

Your Media Mix:

  • Favorite Song: Music is all over the board for me: Yellow Ledbetter – Pearl Jam
  • Favorite Podcast: Jocko Podcast with Jocko Willink
  • Favorite Book: Lone Survivor
  • Favorite TV Show: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Changes constantly, but Seinfeld is still on the list!
  • Favorite Movie: The Shawshank Redemption or Tombstone would top the list

Lightning Round Questions:

  • What is your secret weapon? Mental toughness.
  • I always start my day with…Waking up!
  • I would most like to have lunch with (dead or alive): My parents…haven’t seen them in a year!
  • Favorite Weekend Activity: A long run, bike ride, or hike in the mountains!
  • If I wasn’t a banker, I would be…Retired and overlanding around the US
  • If your life right now were a Netflix show, what would it be called? Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak
  • What do you consider your biggest accomplishment - career or otherwise? Raising my two boys
  • How would you spend one million dollars? All at once…on a beach house.
  • If you could host a talk show, who would be your first guest? Charles Barkley
  • What’s the most-used app on your phone? I am supposed to say the Benchmark mobile app, but it is probably the Weather.
  • What is the top thing still left on your bucket list? Fly fishing in Alaska
  • What TV show or movie character would it be the most fun to change places with for a week? Lt. Pete Mitchell
  • What would someone be surprised to learn about you? I like to deer hunt

Maria Tedesco, Atlantic Union Bank
Chair of the VBA Government Relations Committee

Number of Years on the Committee: 2

How have you benefited from your participation in this committee?
I have had the opportunity to witness first hand the impact we have in both educating and collaborating with our government constituencies to develop policies that better our communities that we serve.

Your Media Mix:

  • Favorite Song: A Life That’s Good
  • Favorite Podcast: The Moth
  • Favorite Book: 2030
  • Favorite TV Show: Amazing Race
  • Favorite Movie: any James Bond movie

Lightning Round Questions:

  • What is your secret weapon? Assume good intentions when engaging with others.
  • I always start my day with…a good workout
  • I would most like to have lunch with (dead or alive): Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Malala Yousafzai
  • Favorite weekend activity: Road Biking
  • If I wasn’t a banker, I would be…A detective - love a good mystery
  • If your life right now were a Netflix show, what would it be called? Mary Tyler Moore of Richmond
  • What do you consider your biggest accomplishment - career or otherwise? Being a mom of two independent and strong women and being a good role model for them
  • How would you spend one million dollars? purchase a place by the Atlantic Ocean and give to some of my favorite charities
  • If you could host a talk show, who would be your first guest? Warren Buffet
  • What’s the most-used app on your phone? Waze – I have been here in Virginia for 2.5 years and I still need help finding my way around.
  • What is the top thing still left on your bucket list? Road bike trip in Croatia and any other country I have not biked the backroads
  • What TV show or movie character would it be the most fun to change places with for a week? Phil Keoghan – host of the Amazing Race; chance to visit all kinds of places in the world and be a part of a competition
  • What would someone be surprised to learn about you? I hate to cook!

Joe Collum, Burke & Herbert Bank
Chair of Virginia Bankers School of Bank Management Board of Trustees

Number of Years on the Committee: 13

How have you benefited from your participation in this committee?
I have benefited from my participation with the strong relationships I have built with the other Trustees, students of the school and the VBA staff. I have built a network of bankers that I can turn to with questions or to exchange ideas. The friendships I have developed are invaluable as well.

Your Media Mix:

  • Favorite Song: Release, Pearl Jam
  • Favorite Podcast: Pardon The Interruption
  • Favorite Book: Seasons, Stephen King
  • Favorite TV Show: The Big Bang Theory
  • Favorite Movie: Good Will Hunting

Lightning Round Questions:

  • I always start my day with…Peloton
  • Favorite weekend activity: Heading to the beach in our Jeep Wrangler
  • What do you consider your biggest accomplishment - career or otherwise? Raising my stepsons
  • What’s the most-used app on your phone? Keto Diet
  • What is the top thing still left on your bucket list? Great White Shark cage dive

Helen Person, Benchmark Community Bank
Chair of the VBA Marketing Committee

 

Number of Years on the Committee: 4

How have you benefited from your participation in this committee?
It is so easy to work in an organizational vacuum where we focus only on our bank. The VBA Marketing Committee allows me to tap into some of the brightest minds in Virginia’s bank marketing world. The exchange of ideas, perspectives, and best practices among our institutions of varying sizes provides invaluable “A-Ha” moments sparking innovation or letting me know that we’re on the right track.

As our Virginia bankers and society as a whole experienced the once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, it was comforting and inspiring to have our weekly Zoom Meetings. Hearing how our organizations were navigating the circumstances, adjusting on the fly, and finding ways to move forward has been both exciting and awe-inspiring. As we move through what we pray is the tail end of the pandemic, I look forward to hearing from our bankers how we anticipate the post-pandemic world will function and our banks within it.

Your Media Mix:

  • Favorite Song: Blessed Assurance by Fanny Crosby (sacred); Love Shack by the B-52s (sacred for those of us who grew up around Athens, GA)
  • Favorite Podcast: The People’s Podcast (Mike Huckabee) and Newt’s World (Newt Gingrich)
  • Favorite Book: The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan or anything by David Baldacci or Eugenia Price
  • Favorite TV Show: Downton Abbey, Midsomer Murders, or Blue Bloods
  • Favorite Movie: Secondhand Lions with Michael Caine, Robert DuVall, and Haley Joel Osment

Lightning Round Questions:

  • What is your secret weapon? A rather disarming sense of humor and the ability to play dumb
  • I always start my day with…Thanking the good Lord for waking me up!
  • I would most like to have lunch with (dead or alive): Teddy Roosevelt
  • Favorite weekend activity: I love to travel and am looking forward to that before too long. Right now, I love to spend my weekends not having to clean or do laundry.
  • If I wasn’t a banker, I would be…a historic site director, a downtown development professional, or professional writer
  • If your life right now were a Netflix show, what would it be called? Tales from the Porch
  • What do you consider your biggest accomplishment - career or otherwise? Being hired by Benchmark! This is my dream job :) Personally, my most thrilling accomplishment – other than becoming a mother and getting her raised – was being a Georgette with the University of Georgia Redcoat Band for four years.
  • How would you spend one million dollars? A lot of “given by a friend” recipients and making sure my husband and I can retire comfortably someday
  • If you could host a talk show, who would be your first guest? Tom Selleck
  • What’s the most-used app on your phone? Outlook
  • What is the top thing still left on your bucket list? Going to Alaska
  • What TV show or movie character would it be the most fun to change places with for a week? Iris in The Holiday
  • What would someone be surprised to learn about you? My graduate degree is in historic preservation – and I waited 32 years to go back to school for it!

Amy Stallings, American National Bank & Trust Co.
Chair of the VBA Compliance Committee

Number of Years on the Committee: 6

How have you benefited from your participation in this committee?
Networking with a smart group of peers has been very beneficial. We reach out to one another as issues or questions arise to find out if anyone else has dealt with something similar. It is very helpful!

Your Media Mix:

  • Favorite Song: Can’t Stop The Feeling by Justin Timberlake
  • Favorite Podcast: Journeys of Faith
  • Favorite Book: The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
  • Favorite TV Show: The Big Bang Theory
  • Favorite Movie: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Lightning Round Questions:

  • I always start my day with…a workout, devotional time, and prayer
  • I would most like to have lunch with (dead or alive): my Grandma
  • Favorite weekend activity: Beachside or poolside
  • What is the top thing still left on your bucket list? To go to Hawaii
  • What would someone be surprised to learn about you? My father retired from over 40 years of banking!

John Settle, Jr., American National Bank & Trust Co.
Chair of the VBA Trust & Wealth Management Committee

Coming soon!