Joselyn Baldner was drawn to the field of banking for one very pragmatic reason: No matter where her husband’s career took him, she could always find a job.
Once she entered the financial realm, Baldner discovered a talent for leadership that forged a path to her being named the first female president and CEO of Central Bank of the Ozarks.
Baldner says she owes much of her success to her mentors. Early in her career, one mentor gave her a shot at management when she didn’t have much leadership experience.
She thrived in the role.
“One of my mottos, or tenets, I follow is to give grace,” Baldner says. “I feel like to be a good leader, you have to have a heart for people and you have to believe they want to do their job well. That genuine sense of, I want to help you, I want to recognize you. Those are things I developed early on.”
Baldner says it’s important to assess each employee for their individual strengths and opportunities.
“You may have a host of people you need to achieve the same thing, but they’re going to go about it differently,” she says.
Baldner, who’s worked at Central Bank since 2005, says she was approached several years ago by predecessor Russ Marquart about one day leading the bank.
“I said, ‘No way.’ You have to be a lender in the banking world in order to grow into this role I’m in today,” she says. “He said, ‘That may very well be true. In the end, it may not be my decision; however, we’re going to do everything we can to prepare you for that role.’”
Baldner says she did what she always did when presented with an opportunity and said yes.
“All of those additional opportunities led me to where I am today,” she says. “I didn’t say no, even in the things I was uncomfortable with.”
Her greatest personal challenge, Baldner says, was mastering the lending side of banking.
“I had a steep learning curve,” she says.
Now that she’s settling into the role, Baldner says she has some aggressive strategic goals for the next five years. And, she says, 2021 will be a hard year to top.
“We’ve had an unprecedented year in 2021. We’ve had record earnings,” she says.
She also hopes to build on the corporate culture that she fell in love with early in her career.
“I hope that in this world of the great resignation and the labor-retention challenge, we continue to have a fantastic employee culture,” she says.
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