By Kristin Rulon
When Shauna Stephenson was 17, she walked into a branch of a local bank to make a transaction. She must have made a good impression, because she left with a job offer from the branch manager. “Not that I didn’t have fun perfecting the curl on ice cream cones at Dairy Queen,” she jokes, “but I was eager to experience something new.” She instantly took to her new career. “It’s so much more than banking,” she said. “It is about building relationships with others and developing and helping people along the way.”
Now that she’s the vice president/retail banking manager for the Community Bank of Raymore, she looks for the same qualities in others that the branch manager found in her.
“I just look for people with bright personalities, eager to learn and jump on board,” she said.
As the vice president/retail banking manager of the largest bank chartered in Cass County, Mo., Stephenson is able to groom the front-line staff for future positions, while showcasing their unique skills, and help clients with their specific needs. Although there is no formal in-house training program for employees who are serious about a career in the financial industry, Stephenson simply keeps an eye out for those who stand out.
Stephenson’s optimistic mindset is in sync with Community Bank of Raymore’s commitment to its clients, which she considers to be a unique strength of the bank.
“The genuine care our staff demonstrates day in and day out for our clients and the advocacy many of our clients provide for our bank is what makes our bank unique,” she said.
The bank’s story began at a betterment association meeting at the Raymore Elementary School in 1976. The growing area’s credit needs would be better served by an independent community bank “as opposed to a facility created by an outside financial interest,” according to the bank’s website. Community Bank of Raymore opened its doors in May 1979. Today, the bank has locations in Raymore, Peculiar and Harrisonville, and a sister bank in Pleasant Hill.
The bank prides itself in the services it offers, from mobile banking, a plethora of consumer and commercial loans, notary services and wealth management.
“I am proud that our bank has been willing to implement new ideas and technology to ensure we keep up with consumer demand,” Stephenson said. “It is also important to CBR that the end-user experience is up to expectations. We have been offering online deposit account opening since 2009, implemented mobile banking in 2013, and rolled out mobile deposit and remote deposit capture in early 2014. We understand the importance of remaining competitive, while giving our client the power to bank how they want to bank.”
Volunteering is also a unique trait of the bank and its employees, one which stood out to Stephenson even before she joined CBR. “Volunteering has always held a special place in my heart,” she said. “This value was instilled in me as a child, witnessing my mother’s passion and dedication to make a positive difference in others. I learned so many life lessons from her — one of them being the importance of being selfless.
“Prior to working for Community Bank, one of things that significantly stood out to me was the commitment and dedication CBR and its employees showed to the community. This spoke volumes to me. Community Bank of Raymore is involved in nearly every organization within our respective communities and will always keep this focus a top priority.”
One particular event that CBR is involved with is Stuff the Bus, a two-week event during which people are encouraged to bring in school supplies to the front lobbies of all three locations. Bank employees then “stuff” a bus, located in the parking lot of the main branch, with supplies. The items are then taken to the beneficiary school and bank employees work the drive handing out supplies to families in need.
“Families can receive most if not all of the school supplies their children need,” Stephenson added. “I really enjoy that because it shows a community coming together; it’s not about getting our name in the paper. It’s about giving back.”
Stephenson also serves as the president for the Harrisonville Rotary Club; vice president for the Raymore-Peculiar School Foundation Board; a member of the Ray-Pec Citizens Advisory Council; and co-chair of the annual Ray-Pec Foundation 5K Fun Run benefiting schools and students.
Now that she serves as a role model, Stephenson advises young bankers to be passionate in everything they set their mind to do.
“Understand it is the little things that make a difference,” Stephenson said. “Have fun and be passionate in all you do.”
CBR and Stephenson agree that the future of community banking is in the hands of young bankers and the industry’s ability “to evolve.”
“We need to continue to find innovative ways to enhance the client experience in whatever method they choose to bank,” Stephenson said. The ‘community bank’ difference is all about the relationships that are built and the impact we can make on others.”
And the relationships Stephenson has built and her commitment to others hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“Shauna’s dedication to Community Bank and our customers sets the bar very high and is an outstanding example to follow,” said Tina Graef, vice president, branch manager of the Harrisonville location. “Every decision that she makes is based on doing the right thing and never once has she asked a member of her team to do something that she herself wouldn’t do. Selflessly going above and beyond is not anything she would want credit for, but is part of what makes her a great leader.”
“Shauna has been there for me since my first day of my banking career as a teller. Over the years, I have witnessed her compassion for others on many occasions,” said Fallon Solscheid, vice president, branch manager of the Raymore location. “She is responsible for helping develop tellers in various fields in the financial industry. Her past employees are now operations specialists, banking software developers, Federal Reserve auditors, regional banking managers, and the list goes on. She is continually seeking opportunities to develop and get the best out of others. The lifelong impact that she has made on the careers of those she has mentored can be seen by the positions that her tellers now carry.”
“Impacting lives … that’s what real community bankers do,” said Bill McDaniel, chairman and CEO of Community Bank of Raymore. Stephenson’s dedication to CBR and the communities it serves is a perfect example of how “actions speak louder than words.”
Hopefully, whoever is reading this is taking notes.