By Lindsay LaNore, ICBA
This 12 months, after nearly 30 years at ICBA, Karen Thomas is retiring. Because the chief of our authorities relations and advocacy staff, she has constructed an distinctive legacy and garnered industrywide admiration for the depth of her data and her outstanding humility. As her departure approaches, we sat down to debate her path to management and her recommendation to others.
Lead by instance
Thomas initially skilled as a lawyer and describes herself as stumbling into monetary companies regulation earlier than becoming a member of ICBA as a part of the regulatory staff in 1992. She realized the way to be a frontrunner from the bottom up, rising together with her colleagues and in the end heading up a staff of 30. As a result of it’s all she has ever completed, Thomas is a agency believer in rolling your sleeves up and diving in, moving into the trenches and studying each function. “I feel that’s helped me to grasp what the challenges are,” she explains, “and to have the ability to information folks, present recommendations and steerage as to the way to strategy issues and the way to get issues completed.”
Thomas attributes any humility she is perceived as having to a willingness to see and be taught from the angle of others. That features studying from these you don’t admire in addition to these you do. At all times attempt to perceive the place the opposite particular person is coming from, she says. It’ll assist you determine what your perspective is, why it’s proper or flawed and the way to persuade any individual of why you’re proper.
Over time, Thomas has commonly interacted with coverage makers and advises discovering calm in high-pressure conditions by being thorough, credible and considerate. “It’s important to marshal your details and figures,” she says. “It’s important to communicate with authority, and I don’t imply loudly or interrupting everyone. But when you recognize what you’re speaking about, it helps persuade different folks of the rightness and authority of one thing that you simply’re saying.”
As a consummate staff participant, Thomas believes many heads are often higher than one. Meaning permitting concepts to feed off one another, regardless of how “bizarre” they may initially appear. That, she says, is necessary to morale and motivation but in addition to good outcomes and effectiveness. “It takes the strain off the chief if you may get consensus,” she provides. “Then everyone’s agreed, in order that they’re joyful, too.”
Clarify the why
Nevertheless, whenever you’re explaining a call that you simply’ve needed to make, all the time embrace the why. “You don’t need it to be like whenever you had been somewhat child and your mother mentioned, ‘As a result of I mentioned so,’” Thomas laughs. “Everyone desires to know why, and in the event that they perceive the why, they’ll settle for it or see that it’s the proper strategy.”
It’s onerous to think about ICBA with out Thomas round, however we stay up for her carving out time for herself away from her overflowing inbox, and we want her huge happiness in her retirement.
Lindsay LaNore (email@example.com) is ICBA’s group government vp and chief studying and expertise officer