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ABA: The American Bankers Association
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ABA Recognizes Banking's Emerging Leaders with Inaugural Awards


The American Bankers Association today announced the recipients of its inaugural ABA Emerging Leader Awards. These new awards recognize the next generation of bank leaders who are committed to the highest standards of achievement and service to both their industry and their local communities.

“We congratulate these high performers who have already begun to have a significant impact on our industry,” said Rob Nichols, ABA president and CEO. “These ABA Emerging Leader Award recipients have demonstrated a range of banking skills, a commitment to conduct their work with integrity and a strong desire to help their customers and communities flourish. The future of our industry is bright because of leaders like these.”

The winners were selected by a diverse steering committee of industry professionals. The qualities and characteristics the committee evaluated as judging criteria included dedication to the profession, inventiveness, leadership skills, mentoring ability, personal integrity, tenure at the bank and broader commitment to a career in banking, sustained career progress, and academic training including advanced degrees and certificates/certifications.

The winners will be recognized during the upcoming ABA Annual Convention in October. Learn more about each member of ABA’s Class of 2022: 

  • Kirsten Agard, vice president, closing/post-closing manager, Umpqua Bank Home Lending, Portland, Ore.;
  • Shanna Cahalane, senior vice president, director of marketing & community development, Reading Cooperative Bank, Reading, Mass.;
  • Ryan Coaxum, vice president, Guaranty Bank & Trust, Austin, Texas; 
  • Hazel Davis, vice president, compliance & community development officer, Jefferson Bank, San Antonio;
  • Adam J. Johnston, senior vice president, North Louisiana regional manager, First Guaranty Bank, Bossier City, La.;
  • Lydia Levin, senior vice president, channel strategy manager, Zions Bank, Salt Lake City;
  • Abby Nguyen-Burke, senior vice president, team leader, Eastern Bank, Boston;
  • Billie Jo Parker, senior vice president, Pinnacle Financial Partners, Memphis , Tenn.;
  • Kristina M. Schaefer, executive vice president, chief risk officer & chief administrative officer, First Bank & Trust, Sioux Falls, S.D.;
  • Sandra Starnes, senior vice president, director of marketing, Citizens Bank, Batesville, Ark.; and
  • Nicholas E. Vrba, executive vice president and secretary of the board of directors, First State Bank and Trust Company, Fremont, Neb.


About the American Bankers Association

The American Bankers Association is the voice of the nation’s $24 trillion banking industry, which is composed of small, regional and large banks that together employ approximately 2.1 million people, safeguard $19 trillion in deposits and extend $12.4 trillion in loans.

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