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Program | Emerging Leaders Forum


Take a look back at the 2021 program.

  • Wednesday, April 28

  • Thursday, April 29

  • On-Demand

  • About the Bundle

Wednesday, April 28

12:30 PM - 3:30 PM

Welcome Address, Day 1

  • Bob Glover, ABA Emerging Leaders Council Chair
    Executive Vice President & Chief Investment Officer
    The Peoples Bank of Ripley, Ripley, Mississippi

A Conversation with ABA Leadership

  • Rob Nichols, President & CEO, American Bankers Association
  • Jim Edwards, ABA Chair, President & CEO, United Bank, Griffin Georgia

Jim and Rob will discuss the current issues facing our country today and how the banking industry and emerging bank leaders can continue to play a major role in shaping policy and our nation.


Opening Keynote: The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone's Mind

  • Jonah Berger
    Marketing Professor, Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania
    Best-Selling Author of Contagious, Invisible Influence and The Catalyst
    Expert, Innovation, Disruption and Change

Everyone has something they want to change. This talk introduces a revolutionary approach to change barriers. Learn to overcome resistance by reducing friction and lowering the hurdles to action. Discover the five hidden factors that impede change, and how by mitigating them, you can change anything.


2-Minute Moves: Easy Stretches

  • Lizzy Williamson
    Founder & Author, Two-Minute Moves

Sitting for hours in front of a screen can cause your body to become stiff and uncomfortable. To keep your body free from aches and pains, we have 2-minutes of easy stretches that your body and posture will thank you for. A great health and safety tool to take back to your workday for you and your team.


Break: On-Demand Sessions

DE&I: Essentials for Emerging Leaders

  • Naomi Mercer, Senior Vice President, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, American Bankers Association
  • Tony Oum, Executive Vice President, First Ban, Lakewood, Colorado
  • Carissa Rodeheaver, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer & President, First United Bank & Trust, Oakland, Maryland

Two featured panelists will share their perspectives and provide insights on their bank's approach to implementing diversity, equity and inclusion practices and programs.


2-Minute Moves: Mindfulness

  • Lizzy Williamson
    Founder & Author, Two-Minute Moves

Your brain is built to detect and respond to change. No matter how fantastic the content, one of the best things you can do to stay engaged, is to give your brain a micro-break. We’ll be taking a 2-minute moment to look away from the screen with some gentle moves so you can return ready to get the most out of what’s ahead.


Closing Keynote –Discussion with Kelley Earnhardt Miller and Peter Gwaltney

  • Kelley Earnhardt Miller, Co-Owner, Vice President & Business Manager at JR Motorsports
  • Peter Gwaltney, President & CEO, North Carolina Bankers Association

3:30 PM

General Session Concludes

3:30 PM - 4:00 PM

"Reception" Breakout Networking

Thursday, April 29

12:30 PM

2-Minute Moves: Meditation

  • Lizzy Williamson
    Founder & Author, Two-Minute Moves

Meditation doesn’t have to involve hiding in a quiet room, sitting in lotus pose with your eyes closed for 30 minutes. You can use mediation no matter where you are to help lower stress and make good decisions. Learn a technique that the military, firefighters and yogis use that takes only 2-minutes.


Welcome Address, Day 2

  • Jenny Wofford, ABA Emerging Leaders Council Vice-Chair
    Senior Vice President & Director of Retail Banking
    Pinnacle Bank, Elberton, Georgia

Opening Keynote: The Science of Energy Management – How to Increase your Daily Stamina, Maintain Motivation and Regulate your Brain State

  • Dr. Sahar Yousef
    Cognitive Neuroscientist & Faculty
    University of California Berkeley
  • Lucas Millar
    MBA Faculty, Haas School of Business
    University of California Berkeley

To manage a growing workload, it’s tempting to throw more hours at the problem. Unfortunately, working long hours only works up until a point, because time is a finite resource. Energy, on the other hand, is renewable. It can be enhanced and maintained by learning how to work in line with our natural and biological energy curves. Join UC Berkeley faculty Dr. Sahar Yousef and Professor Lucas Miller for a livestream to discuss the science of stamina and how individuals, teams and whole organizations can significantly increase their capacity to get things done without increasing the number of hours worked.


Finding Your Voice: Engaging Policy Makers Where it Matters

  • Representative Young Kim (CA-39)

2-Minute Moves: Get Up and Move

  • Lizzy Williamson
    Founder & Author, Two-Minute Moves

Your energy can naturally start to dip throughout the day, and that’s when it can be tempting to go for that third cup of coffee. To help get your oxygen flowing and to help you stay away from a sugar crash, we're putting on a great song to get you up and moving. This is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.


Break: On-Demand Sessions

Beyond the Pivot – Reinvention for an Uncertain Future

  • Scott Wayne
    Managing Partner

The pandemic has taught us a lot about ourselves and how we can flex in the face of uncertainty. In this session, we teach techniques from the field of negotiation to rapidly understand customer perspectives, respond to and create demand, and how to stay calm in the face of a crisis.

We'll guide you through exercises that ask the tough questions leaders have to ask, and how to frame those answers to engage and motivate your employees.


Closing Keynote

A Conversation with NFL Comeback Player of the Year Alex Smith: Leadership and the Power of Perseverance

  • Alex Smith
  • James Ballentine (moderator), EVP Congressional Relations and Political Affairs, American Bankers Association

3:30 PM

Program Wrap Up


Registration includes the Leadership in Action Bundle—a holistic experience designed to help you further your leadership education and engage with your peers. This includes the Leadership in Action online training suite, and joining three one-hour working sessions throughout the year to reconnect with your peers and discuss what you've learned—all facilitated by an expert.

ABA Economic Update

  • Tyler Mondres, Director, Research, Economic Policy and Research

Update on the current state of the U.S. Economy and what to expect as COVID-19 vaccinations and business re-openings occur across the country.


Advocacy Bootcamp

  • Rob Engstrom, Chief Political Strategist, American Bankers Association
  • Elizabeth Coit, National Political Director, American Bankers Association
  • Matthew Brown, Senior Vice President, ABA State Association Alliance
  • Laura Lilly, Vice President, Grassroots Advocacy

Hear from the leaders of ABA's Political Engagement Division as they discuss the role advocacy has in the banking industry today and the different ways bankers from across the country can become more involved in the political process.


ABA Benefits Review

  • Casey Catlin, Program Manager, Member Outreach, American Bankers Association

Whether you're new to ABA or need a refresher on how to optimize your membership, there's always more to see. Casey Catlin of ABA's membership team will give a full walk-through of all of the benefits available to you and everyone at your bank. Listen in to ensure your bank is getting the most bang for its buck.


About the Bundle

Leadership in Action suite
This suite of five courses explores techniques and best practices for cultivating a collaborative team environment, from empowering individuals and positively handling change to creating a team-supported vision and achieving goals. Completing this suite provides strategies for using authentic leadership skills in day-to-day practices and developing those skills in others. Concise, impactful lessons can be applied on the job immediately.

Three Facilitated Discussion Dates, Times & Trainings

Session 1

Training: Authentic Leadership
Training: Communicating a Vision

June 16
2:00 - 3:00 PM ET

Session 2

Training: Building Collaborative Teams
Training: Teams & Empowerment

September 8
2:00-3:00 PM ET

Session 3

Training: Managing Change

November 3
2:00-3:00 PM ET

What is an Emerging Leader?

Emerging leaders are high performers who have the desire, capacity, and initiative to make significant contributions toward the success of their bank. They are driven to strengthen both their bank and their community by developing new skills to grow as a leader. They are forward-thinking, adaptable, and innovative in their approaches and have an innate ability to inspire and influence others towards achieving a common goal.

Why You Should Attend

  • Become a Stronger Leader: Hear from experts and gain insights to grow as a leader.
  • Expand your Network: Share challenges and strategies with peers from across the country.
  • Grow in Your Career: Learn new skills to advance in your career.

Is the Emerging Leaders Forum eligible for CPE? If so, how many CPE and what is the process?

CPE credits available are a maximum of 3.0 (Field of Study-Personal Development)

Attendees will receive instructions via email after the event concludes on how to obtain their CPE certificate of completion.

CPE credits can only be claimed by participating in the live portion of the conference during the designated dates of April 28-29, 2021.

CPE credit is not available for On-Demand portion or podcasts completed on your own after the dates of the conference.

American Bankers Association is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website: www.nasbaregistry.org.

Keep Me Informed

Get updates on the next session of the Emerging Leaders Forum. Contact Caitlin Taylor if you have any questions.