In 2014 a group of West Bankers attended an Iowa Women Lead Change conference in Des Moines. They came back so inspired that they decided to develop a network of women at West Bank that would work to connect and expand relationships among co-workers, our customers, and our community. They called it Women’s Impact Network (WIN).
The group regularly plans and hosts networking luncheons, customer appreciation events, and professional development opportunities for all West Bankers – men included.“The founding members have become a close-knit group,” says Dawn Henss, West Bank Grand Avenue Branch Manager. “Membership is open to all West Bank women. We have participation across the board from tellers to senior vice presidents. People come and go as their schedules change. The group is a great relationship builder among our women employees and it increases the engagement we have in the workings of the Bank.”
Since golf is an important business tool, WIN has hosted a golf lesson open to all employees. The lessons are geared both for beginners and for the experienced who want to sharpen up their skills. A women’s golf outing connects West Bankers, board members, and customers.
During the fall, the group also hosts a “fall crawl” to tour and learn more about small businesses owned by women in shopping districts like Valley Junction, East Village, and the Ingersoll area. The event is a fun way to show appreciation to women-owned retailers and an opportunity to further develop strong relationships in the community.
One of West Bank WIN’s most notable events was a luncheon featuring speaker Jen Loeb. Loeb is the first woman from Iowa to climb Mount Everest. Loeb was inspirational as she recounted her efforts to scale Everest in harsh conditions. By following her passion she accomplish her goals through hard work, dedication, and perseverance. The motivating presentation was attended by more than 100 customers and community leaders.
West Bank WIN has also hosted panel discussions with women serving on West Bank’s Board of Directors, including Joyce Chapman, Lou Ann Sandberg and Kaye Lozier. Each of the bank’s board members is an accomplished professional and provides valuable insight for women at West Bank.
West Bank Marketing Director, Sara Gallagher says, “I’m proud to be one of the founding members of WIN. This network of smart, strong women gives me an opportunity to build relationships and serve as a mentor to young women at the bank. Our West Bank WIN committee is a terrific source for encouragement and we often turn to each other for support and advice. I believe no matter where you’re at in your career, it’s important to continually develop your leadership skills and to always look for ways to help other young women starting out in their careers.”
“One of my favorite parts is when we have a meeting and we go around the room and share a “Win” we have experienced recently,” says Henss. “For example, I once shared that a younger woman had come to me with a problem about navigating a delicate subject professionally. I was able to help her find her voice in this situation. It is really empowering to examine these experiences and realize that you helped someone succeed.”
Women’s Impact Network is a WIN for West Bankers.