Akron's Market Leader Krista Dobronos discusses professional development and employee engagement at Westfield Bank.

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Krista Dobronos, SVP, Market Leader:
I had the opportunity to learn banking from the ground up. I started as a receptionist, moved to a teller, and the rest is history. I stayed at that bank for about six and a half years and was recruited, at that point, to come to Westfield Bank. At that point, I came right back into the Summit County market that I was already working in and became Senior Vice President and Market Leader. Employee count when I started - I think it was around 60 and we've more than doubled that today. We've done that all with pretty much the same executive team, same lending team, and added people along the way. It’s been a real challenge and we're all working hard towards the same goal.

The bank has been successful because of their people. We spend a lot of time on the recruiting process and we really do look for good talent in the industry. It's harder and harder to find anymore, but when we find them, we get them, and they stay.

What's made me successful? I have a lot of support here. So, our Senior Management team down, everybody works well with everybody. They give me the flexibility, as a working mother of three kids, to be able to do what I need to do outside of my professional career. I've also had a lot of opportunities within the professional environment. Great mentors along the way that Westfield Bank has supported, and they like me to get out into the community, which has also helped me succeed in getting my name out there and getting the bank's name out there.

Being in Summit County, born and raised all my life, I've had the opportunity to give back a lot to the community. I've had the opportunity to serve on some committees with the Women's Network and with the Akron Community Foundation.

We are a very good breeding ground for getting people involved in learning the next levels within the bank. We can teach a lot of it. Having the financial background is a plus, but we're a company that really promotes from within. So, as long as you have the understanding, we can do a lot of the rest of the skill building within. Employees and staff that work directly with me start off like I did as a teller and want more of a challenge. Just as people along the way have groomed me and invested in me, I've been able now to do that to others. That's what Westfield Bank gives us - the ability to be able to reinvest in people that have the need and want to succeed.

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