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Exchange Bank Santa Rosa branch manager wins North Bay Latino business leadership award

Veronica Rincon

Vice president, branch manager III (Stony Point, Santa Rosa)

Exchange Bank

P.O. Box 403, Santa Rosa, 95402

707-524-3000

www.exchangebank.com

Quick takes

Most admired businessperson outside your organization: Herman Hernandez, Alicia Sanchez

Most want to meet: My faith is very important to me. I am looking forward to the day I get to meet my maker.

Stress relievers: Reading an encouraging devotional from the Bible, journaling, talking with a friend

Favorite hobbies: Reading, games to enjoy with family and friends. Pound workout.

My favorite quote about leadership: “The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” —Jim Rohn

Read about other winners of this year’s Latino Business Leadership Awards.

Times are tough, but it’s only temporary, said Exchange Bank Vice President Veronica Rincon, a 2020 winner of the Business Journal’s Latino Business Leadership Awards.

Tell us your story and that of your organization.

I was born in San Francisco to Arthur and Anna Garcia. I have three sisters, Victoria, Vanessa and Viviana. Growing up in our home was different than most Latino families.

My father, who is Mexican, was born in San Francisco and his parents in California and Texas. My mother was born in El Salvador and came to California when she was seven.

In my home growing up, we did not speak Spanish. I learned Spanish through my mother’s mother and my baby sitter. I met my husband, Marco, in high school and we have been married 20 years this year. We have three children Marcus, Malina and Marisa.

Exchange Bank is a premier community bank headquartered in Sonoma County and founded in 1890. Exchange Bank provides a wide range of personal, commercial and trust and investment services with 18 branches in Sonoma County and a commercial branch in Roseville, California. The Bank’s legacy of financial leadership and community support is grounded in its core values of Commitment, Respect, Integrity and Teamwork.

Exchange Bank is a 15-time winner of the North Bay Business Journal’s Best Places to Work survey, a recipient of the 2020 North Bay Community Philanthropy Award and the 2019 Healthiest Companies in the North Bay Award. NorthbayBiz magazine named Exchange Bank the 2020 Best Consumer Bank and Best Business Bank.

The Petaluma People’s Choice Awards named Exchange Bank the Best Local bank and the North Bay Bohemian’s Best of 2019 Readers Poll named Exchange Bank the Best Business Bank and Best Consumer Bank. Exchange Bank can also be found in the NBBJ’s Book of Lists as a leading lender and wealth management adviser, claiming the No. 1 position in SBA 7(a) lending in Sonoma County for 2019.

Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?

Working as a branch manager at Exchange Bank is different than the branch manager roles I’ve held at previous banks.

This year I expanded my knowledge around business lending. I’m also really proud of my team—2019 was the first year we’ve met our goal in every category—not only sales, but running an operationally sound branch as well. I work with an awesome team!

What is the achievement you are most proud of?

In my personal life, being a mom. My drive in life changed when I had my son. I call him my “reason.” My daughters are strong willed and resilient.

With regards to my career, I left Wells Fargo to open a brand-new branch with WAMU. My team and I grew that branch to a “Top Performing Branch” over the eight years that I was there.

What is your biggest challenge today?

My biggest challenge today is the challenge of the unknown. It feels as if one bad thing after another keeps happening. I have to remind myself that although times are tough, this is only temporary.

What are you most proud of regarding the achievements of the area Latino business community and what are the greatest challenges faced by that community?

I am most proud of our “Si Se Peude” attitude: “Yes we can! “

I love how we rally together as a community. We not only want to make it to the finish line, but we want everyone to get there. The Hispanic Chamber and Los Cien, to name a few, are paving the way for our community to be involved, educated and engaged in working together.

Our greatest challenge is citizenship and earning a living wage. I have seen many families attempt to qualify for a loan yet they are unable to do so because they do not have a social security number.

I have also seen families attempt to qualify for a loan, yet their income is not sufficient—some families even work two to three jobs but are still dependent on their children’s income.

Words that best describe you: Faithful, empathetic, dedicated

As a successful professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?

The biggest obstacle I have faced is working with change. Getting everyone on board, whether the change is welcome or not, can be difficult. Many times change is good; it’s just uncomfortable. As a manager, you have to earn the trust of your team. That does not happen overnight. Your team has to trust that you want what is best for them. You have to inspect what you expect to ensure the desired results are achieved.

How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?

People will continue to move forward using our electronic channels for their banking. They will come to our offices for less transactions and more guidance with their finances and lending needs.

Veronica Rincon

Vice president, branch manager III (Stony Point, Santa Rosa)

Exchange Bank

P.O. Box 403, Santa Rosa, 95402

707-524-3000

www.exchangebank.com

Quick takes

Most admired businessperson outside your organization: Herman Hernandez, Alicia Sanchez

Most want to meet: My faith is very important to me. I am looking forward to the day I get to meet my maker.

Stress relievers: Reading an encouraging devotional from the Bible, journaling, talking with a friend

Favorite hobbies: Reading, games to enjoy with family and friends. Pound workout.

My favorite quote about leadership: “The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” —Jim Rohn

Read about other winners of this year’s Latino Business Leadership Awards.

Who was your most important mentor?

I have been very fortunate to work with some amazing mentors. The person that I think of when asked this question is the first person who helped me believe I could be a leader.

Her name is Christina Pels-Martinez. I was a personal banker at the time and she was my brand-new manager. She valued my opinion, she trusted me in her absence, she was clear with her expectations, she led by example. While my job description was specific, she was also preparing me for my next promotion. With her guidance, I was promoted to a retail service manager II at the age of 22.

Tell us about your community involvement: I currently am serving on the Board of The Living Room.

During COVID-19, we have had to adjust to the needs of our community as well as abide by all the new laws required to keep our community safe. The work that the employees and volunteers have done to keep The Living Room open during this time makes me honored to work with this organization.

I attend Spring Hills Community Church, where we hold study groups which allow us to connect to our community through common interests. I also am a member of the Redwood Empire Cursillo Community where we connect through faith.

What advice would you give to a young person today?

Enjoy being young, don’t try to grow up so fast. If you have the ability to go to school and not work, take advantage of that time to dedicate yourself to your studies, but don’t forget to have fun. Volunteer or be an intern if you can and search for an organization you are passionate to work with. Hold yourself accountable.

It’s a challenging time for all but the COVID-19 virus has been especially tough on the Latino community. Tell us your experience either personally or with the group or company you work with in dealing with the economic impact of the virus.

I have seen firsthand the devastation this virus has caused our community. I have watched people cash their last check, come in to receive their money off their EDD card in fear that the money might not be there or come in with all their rolled coins so they could have money for groceries.

Many of our business customers have been impacted by the coronavirus and Exchange Bank was instrumental in helping many with the PPP loan.

What are the lessons of this difficult year – including the COVID-19 virus, the economic downturn and the fires – for you and how has it changed your outlook for the future?

We must learn to be kind, we do not know what each person has going on in their life. We must think of our neighbor and how our actions can impact them. We must learn to lean on our faith—we may not always understand the struggles in our lives, but we must take the difficult lessons and learn from them. We must give ourselves some credit, it takes a lot to get up each morning and face the challenges of the days. Celebrate the big and small wins.

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