Occupation: Vice president, regional private client manager at Busey Bank
Family: I’ve been married to my husband, Steven Strode, for 13 years. Steven is a performance improvement specialist at Exelon in Clinton. We have a son, Kayson, 10, and a daughter, Raelyn, 6.
Career highlights and/or accomplishments: I entered the banking industry in 2012 as a branch manager and, in 2018, I made the move to Busey Bank to become a private client manager. A little over a year later I was honored to receive my vice president title and promotion to regional private client manager. Currently, I lead a team of highly talented individuals in our Decatur market where we deliver our private clients an integrated means of addressing both personal and business financial needs. Prior to Busey, I was in human resources and retail management for almost 14 years. I was very proud at age 19 to be named store manager for the women’s clothing store, The Limited, and manage it for six years before moving into human resources.
Community involvement: As a lifelong Decatur resident, I am so proud to be a member of this wonderful community. Currently, I’m a United Way board member and volunteer, as well as the UW campaign leader in the Decatur market. In addition, I’m a board member for the Symphony Orchestra Guild of Decatur and the Children’s Museum of Illinois. I recently joined PawPrint Ministries’ newly founded advisory board and assist with fiduciary responsibilities. My active participation also includes organizing Busey’s book drive — and receiving 300 donations — for children in need at Decatur Macon County Opportunities Corporation (DMCOC); leading Busey’s efforts for the 2019 WSOY Food Drive in Decatur that raised over $1,000; and volunteering at area Special Olympics events.
What should the community do to attract more young people to the area? I think the community needs to be more transparent with its opportunities to volunteer and help area youth. Social media is a large part of life for the younger generation and can be used to the community’s advantage. It’s a powerful tool that can demonstrate the fundamental values of Decatur and how the community will benefit those it serves — no matter their age.
What are three things most people don’t know about you?
1. I am a huge animal lover. We have three dogs, a cat and a bearded dragon— and I would consider adding to this menagerie.
2. I married my middle and high school sweetheart 13 years ago. This year, we will have been together for 20 years.
3. After high school graduation, my plan had been to become a marine biologist and move away from Decatur. Luckily, plans changed for the better.
What is the best and worst piece of advice you have ever received? The best advice is something my grandmother used to tell me: “Be the good you want to see in the world and always lead with love.” Her heartfelt advice has stayed with me since I was a little girl.
The worst is not necessarily advice but words of caution. I’ve found by letting others control how you feel about yourself, you can become your own worst enemy. On the flip side, you can change that way of thinking and become your own biggest fan. Always choose to bet on yourself even when you are the underdog.
If you were a fictional character, who would you be and why? I love Captain Marvel. She advocates for others in need, stands up for what is right, believes in herself and continues to rise up after being knocked down.
What are your three favorite movies? "Grease," "Top Gun" and "Dirty Dancing."
What would your perfect Saturday be like? A perfect Saturday would be sleeping in and waking up to family cuddles, followed by time outdoors with the entire family, and winding down with a great dinner and discussing what is important to our family right now. I’ll also take a family day at the beach anytime.
Who inspires you to be better? My husband and my children are my primary inspirations. I believe it’s important to never become complacent. You always have to push to be the best possible version of yourself; if not for yourself, then do it as an example for those around you.