Lisa Welch, 2020 New York Women in Banking Winner

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Lisa Welch

Senior Vice President, Chief Credit Officer
Tioga State Bank

How did you get into this field? What keeps you motivated to stay?

When I was growing up, I never really knew what I wanted to do for a living. After graduating from college with an accounting degree in hand, I landed my first real job at Tioga State Bank in the Finance department.  It turns out, banking was, and still is, the career for me. Throughout my years at the bank, I’ve had the opportunity to work in several areas including Finance, Internal Audit and now Lending, as the Chief Credit Officer.  As the Auditor, I think I was uniquely positioned to learn all areas of banking, including deposits, loans, security, compliance, corporate governance, etc.  I worked with everyone in the bank and gained an appreciation for how everything fit together.  I recently celebrated my twenty-fifth anniversary at the bank this past summer. I have enjoyed those twenty-five years and continue to love what I do. Banking is constantly evolving and I get to see, firsthand, how we help our community.

Have you had any great female mentors? What is the importance of mentoring and is this something that you focus on?

I have had the opportunity to observe some fantastic female role models over the years. My mother was my first female role model. I will always remember the story she told me about her early days as a teacher. The school principal at the time asked her if she ever considered doing something other than teaching after observing a lesson she taught.  Although she was crushed, she persevered and became one of those teachers students would later ask to attend their graduation parties, and a mentor to many young teachers entering the profession. That story was just one example of the importance of perseverance she taught me. She also showed me how to balance having a career and a family, which is not an easy task.

At the bank, I have had the distinct pleasure of working alongside several women who have really inspired me.  One relentlessly asked questions until she fully understood the matter at hand, another was direct, concise, and knew how to run a meeting and keep it on track, and another possessed an energy and passion for her work and the bank that was infectious.  Strong female leaders with their own distinct styles and characteristics still surround me today and I am honored to work with them on a daily basis.

What is your favorite book? Why?

My favorite book is Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin. I first read this book, about Lincoln, several years ago and could not put it down.  Although we all know the basic story about Abraham Lincoln, this book took a deep dive into his life, which was fascinating to me.

What do you consider your greatest success?

If I was asked this question a year ago my answer would have been completely different, but now, I can say my greatest success has been effectively navigating the past few months. We have accomplished many wonderful things at Tioga State Bank over the years including a corporate culture transformation and a core conversion, but the greatest success of my career has been managing to survive the impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic.  I worked diligently with the lenders and office staff to assist customers with payment deferments, Small Business Administration PPP Loans and now Forgiveness Applications. We continue to implement new software solutions at breakneck speed to create efficiencies for our staff and customers. In my twenty-five years of banking I have never experienced anything quite like this.  The impact to our community will be far reaching but I’m proud of our efforts to assist our customers through this difficult time and even prouder of the team of individuals I’ve worked along side of.