Beth Ryan of Santa Rosa’s Exchange Bank wins North Bay Women in Business award
Beth Ryan says living a balanced life without guilt is a biggest challenge. She is a 2020 North Bay Business Journal Women in Business Awards winner.
Professional background: I have been with Exchange Bank my entire professional career — starting as a teller in 1988. I am currently the Bank’s first vice president and customer experience manager.
Education: Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, Dominican University, summa cum laude
Staff: I oversee the bank’s call center and I have one additional employee dedicated to the bank’s Customer Experience Program.
Tell us about yourself and your company: I have the honor of working for Exchange Bank — a local, community bank founded by Manville and Frank Doyle that is currently celebrating 130 years of service. I am extremely proud of the Bank’s legacy and its culture of duty to the community that has always been an innate part of our cultural DNA.
I tell people that Exchange Bank has raised me –having started there in 1988. I have spent the majority of my career at EB on the Retail side of the bank — first in the branches and then supporting the branch network and call center.
Today, I oversee Exchange Bank’s Customer Experience Program. The program is charged with bringing the voices of our customers into the bank to help shape our strategic planning, fix existing customer pain-points, and celebrating what we do well. It’s been the best, most fulfilling (and challenging) job of my career thus far!
Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?
At Exchange Bank we celebrate customer experience the first week of every October. It’s a week where we thank our employees for their roles in creating exceptional experiences for our customers every day.
It’s a week filled with food, silliness, games and bank wide bingo games that employees lose their minds over. Our CX Week branding and messaging has evolved over the years to the point that we have CX Superhero personas that represent the unique strengths of all our employees.
In 2019 the CX Week planning committee wanted the art and copy to be bigger than ever as we had gone through a huge online banking conversion and we really wanted to capture that hard, hard important work.
Our tag line was “Moving Mountains.” The process that the planning committee went through from floating ideas to finished product was everything - uncomfortable, overwhelming, moments of brilliance, disagreements, visions aligning, valuing different perspectives, asking for help and getting it, recognizing individual contributions - and finally, celebrating a brilliant piece that comes to be only when you have a team that trusts each other completely.
I’m really proud of that creative process and the space needed to produce something so amazing.
What is the achievement you are most proud of?
I do not know how to not make this appear cliché but it’s my truth.
Becoming a mom to my son Jameson (later in life) is by far my greatest achievement. I needed a mom heart and eyes to do all the good things that I was meant to do. I learned that my ability to love was infinite and that my ability to empathize was, too.
And the more I gave of both, the more I had to give. All of my proudest achievements have come as a result of a leadership and life doctrine that holds both of those values as paramount.
What is your biggest challenge today?
Living a balanced life without guilt.
Words that best describe you: Kind, intuitive, influencer, multi-tasker (looks chaotic but I get it done), fun, engaging and occasionally restless (I asked a co-worker for a “bad” trait)
In what ways have the pandemic and the shelter-in-place orders changed who you are as a person that will be a part of you long after the pandemic has passed?
Over the last several years I have really tried to slow down to consider many different perspectives before I move forward on anything of consequence.
Everything worth doing takes more time than we would like and lots and lots of conversations. We see the consequences every day of moving too quickly, not involving the right people and not having enough information before decisions are made and action is taken.
With the pandemic, SIP and now the harsh realities of living Black in America I’ve taken listening, learning, and reflection to an entirely new level.
I’m convinced that the way we move forward on all of our most important work is through conversation. Lots of conversations. I’m committed to coming to every single one with a perspective that is curious, open and self-aware.
As a successful female professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?