By Lindsay LaNore, ICBA
This yr, after nearly 30 years at ICBA, Karen Thomas is retiring. Because the chief of our authorities relations and advocacy workforce, 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 educated 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 workforce in 1992. She discovered the best way to be a pacesetter from the bottom up, rising along with her colleagues and finally heading up a workforce 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 know what the challenges are,” she explains, “and to have the ability to information folks, present solutions and steerage as to the best way to method issues and the best 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 individual is coming from, she says. It should assist you determine what your perspective is, why it’s proper or improper and the best way to persuade any individual of why you’re proper.
Through the years, Thomas has frequently interacted with coverage makers and advises discovering calm in high-pressure conditions by being thorough, credible and considerate. “It’s a must to marshal your info and figures,” she says. “It’s a must to converse with authority, and I don’t imply loudly or interrupting all people. But when you already know what you’re speaking about, it helps persuade different folks of the rightness and authority of one thing that you just’re saying.”
As a consummate workforce participant, Thomas believes many heads are normally higher than one. Which means permitting concepts to feed off one another, irrespective of how “bizarre” they could initially appear. That, she says, is essential to morale and motivation but additionally to good outcomes and effectiveness. “It takes the strain off the chief if you may get consensus,” she provides. “Then all people’s agreed, so that they’re completely satisfied, too.”
Clarify the why
Nonetheless, once you’re explaining a choice that you just’ve needed to make, all the time embody the why. “You don’t need it to be like once you had been a little bit child and your mother mentioned, ‘As a result of I mentioned so,’” Thomas laughs. “All people needs to know why, and in the event that they perceive the why, they’ll settle for it or see that it’s the proper method.”
It’s exhausting to think about ICBA with out Thomas round, however we sit up for her carving out time for herself away from her overflowing inbox, and we want her monumental happiness in her retirement.
Lindsay LaNore (email@example.com) is ICBA’s group government vice chairman and chief studying and expertise officer