Congratulations to the I Believe Leadership Series Class of 2021-22

News | 04.23.2022
At Merchants Bank, we believe in mutual success – it’s one of our Core Stakeholder Commitments to customers. When our customers succeed, so does the bank and our communities. Of course, that starts with a team of strong leaders.

One of the ways we provide development opportunities is through the Merchants Bank “I Believe Leadership Series.” It’s an annual, home-grown leadership program developed by our Training Director, Kristine Valk, who built the course over five years to ensure the training was tailor-made to fit Merchants’ culture and core values.

“We needed a leadership program that was built specifically with our company culture – focused on service and excellence – in mind,” said Valk. “Not only does it help our employees be more successful and empowered in their work, but the skills they learn are certainly applicable to their personal lives as well.”

The program brings coworkers from all different departments, branches and leadership roles to grow their skills together. Congratulations to the Class of 2021-2022 who recently graduated in March: 

Masood Dehnavifar, Trust Manager, Winona
Bruce Goblirsch, Market President, Hastings
Melanie Jorgenson, Lead Teller, Winona
Nick Moon, Commercial & Consumer Appraisal Evaluation Specialist, Winona
Dave Pierret, Commercial Banker, Winona
John Piscitiello, Commercial Banker, Apple Valley
Molli Vodak, Lending Assistant, Winona
Ashley Wagner, Retail Lending Assistant, Winona
Jennifer Welch, Personal Banking Manager, St. Charles

Nick Moon explains the heart of what he learned: “What really stood out to me was the realization that being a leader is not defined by a having a certain job title,” Moon said. “Leaders can be in any role - they’re simply people who are focused on creating an inclusive environment for their team. When people feel supported in their work and personal life, they’re able to produce effective outcomes for all those involved.”

Through the program, employees can dive into honing their leadership skills through classroom style sessions, one-on-one coaching, an accountability partner, a service project and final capstone presentation. 12 sessions throughout the year cover a variety of topics, including:

•    Temperament assessment and working with different personalities
•    Effective coaching skills
•    Understanding and applying strengths
•    Emotional intelligence
•    Communication and conflict resolution
•    Leading through change
•    Employee motivation and accountability
•    Team building

As part of one of five strategic priorities for the bank, talent management and leadership development for employees in all positions will continue to be a key focus for Merchants in the years to come. Interested in learning more about what it’s like to work at Merchants Bank? Hear from our employees and learn more about our benefits

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