By Lindsay LaNore, ICBA
This yr, after nearly 30 years at ICBA, Karen Thomas is retiring. Because the chief of our authorities relations and advocacy group, she has constructed an distinctive legacy and garnered industrywide admiration for the depth of her information and her exceptional humility. As her departure approaches, we sat down to debate her path to management and her recommendation to others.
Lead by instance
Thomas initially skilled as a lawyer and describes herself as stumbling into monetary companies legislation earlier than becoming a member of ICBA as a part of the regulatory group in 1992. She discovered find out how to be a frontrunner from the bottom up, rising along with her colleagues and in the end heading up a group of 30. As a result of it’s all she has ever completed, Thomas is a agency believer in rolling your sleeves up and diving in, stepping into the trenches and studying each position. “I believe that’s helped me to grasp what the challenges are,” she explains, “and to have the ability to information individuals, present ideas and steering as to find out how to strategy issues and find out how to get issues completed.”
Thomas attributes any humility she is perceived as having to a willingness to see and study from the angle of others. That features studying from these you don’t admire in addition to these you do. All the time attempt to perceive the place the opposite particular person is coming from, she says. It is going to assist you determine what your perspective is, why it’s proper or incorrect and find out how to persuade someone of why you’re proper.
Through the years, Thomas has often interacted with coverage makers and advises discovering calm in high-pressure conditions by being thorough, credible and considerate. “You must marshal your details and figures,” she says. “You must communicate with authority, and I don’t imply loudly or interrupting all people. But when you understand what you’re speaking about, it helps persuade different individuals of the rightness and authority of one thing that you just’re saying.”
As a consummate group participant, Thomas believes many heads are normally higher than one. Which means permitting concepts to feed off one another, regardless of how “bizarre” they may initially appear. That, she says, is essential to morale and motivation but in addition to good outcomes and effectiveness. “It takes the stress off the chief if you will get consensus,” she provides. “Then all people’s agreed, so that they’re glad, too.”
Clarify the why
Nonetheless, once you’re explaining a choice that you just’ve needed to make, at all times embrace the why. “You don’t need it to be like once you have been a bit child and your mother mentioned, ‘As a result of I mentioned so,’” Thomas laughs. “All people needs to know why, and in the event that they perceive the why, they’ll settle for it or see that it’s the proper strategy.”
It’s exhausting to think about ICBA with out Thomas round, however we sit up for her carving out time for herself away from her overflowing inbox, and we want her monumental happiness in her retirement.
Lindsay LaNore (email@example.com) is ICBA’s group govt vice chairman and chief studying and expertise officer