Christian Lewis has established himself as one of the key faces and leaders in the Springfield-area market for Arkansas-based Simmons Bank.
He calls his promotion to regional community president in 2020 “the most significant transition of my professional career.”
“The magnitude of importance of this market to the bank is unwavering, and I knew when I accepted the position that I had just entered into a new realm of responsibility,” Lewis says, noting at the time, he was the youngest president within Simmons Bank’s footprint. “There were a few key areas I knew I needed to be great at to succeed: preparing myself, negotiating success, securing early wins and building a team.”
A Simmons Bank employee since 2016 who previously worked as a U.S. Small Business Administration credit officer, Lewis says he was fortunate to have a known staff in place.
“I knew if I leveraged the energy I was accustomed to providing, it would give them the support they needed to grow,” he says. “When inheriting a team, you must evaluate, align and mobilize – who are your most valuable players, who are your consistent players and who can be traded to further enhance your team?”
When Simmons Bank makes a donation to a nonprofit in the market, Lewis often is there handing over the checks. He says that’s by design, as community involvement is “at the forefront of my leadership style.”
“It is a priority of mine that I see all our staff involved with our local communities through various initiatives, but it’s important to see these types of efforts start with the top of the house,” he says. “If I know someone is on the fence with community involvement, it is much easier to promote the need for their involvement if they understand what my perspectives are and that they can see what path I have taken to better our community.”
A Springfield resident since 2010, Lewis knew early on he wanted to be deeply involved in the community.
That started with his involvement in the Springfield Metro Rotary, which led him to Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks. He served two three-year terms on the organization’s board.
“Through my time spent with BBBS, I was able to personally contribute or fundraise over $30,000,” Lewis says.
He would later join the board of the Ozarks Regional YMCA and the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce. In 2021, he was appointed to the Mayor’s Initiative on Equity and Equality, an effort designed to shore up diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in the community.
Lewis additionally serves on Simmons Bank’s DEI committee, an important focus for the company.
“Simmons Bank was founded on the ideal that we would help our neighbors and the businesses within our communities realize their financial goals as a trusted partner and friend,” he says. “We discover new ways of thinking, foster a culture of inclusion and make our business stronger by engaging individuals with a wide range of experiences, backgrounds and abilities.”
Mercy Springfield Communities relocated a clinic; San Clemente, California-based law firm Gilson Daub Inc. expanded to the Springfield market; and a second video gaming center for Contender eSports Springfield LLC opened in the Queen City.