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Lead Bank's board is the first with a woman majority

"Lead Bank is pleased and proud to challenge the banking industry with our family of employees who collectively celebrate and mirror the diversity of the communities we serve"

The addition of Bridgette Williams to the board at Lead Bank created the first female majority-led bank in the Kansas City area.


Williams has a lot of leadership experience in male-dominated industries, including being the first female president of an AFL-CIO division, CEO of the Heavy Constructors Association and chairwoman of the Economic Development Corp. of Kansas City.

Based in Garden City, Lead Bank's eight-person board now has four female directors, including Chairwoman Sarah Rowland.


Rowland said it's a sign of the bank's commitment to gender equality in the banking industry.


"Lead Bank is pleased and proud to challenge the banking industry with our family of employees who collectively celebrate and mirror the diversity of the communities we serve," Rowland said in an email to the Kansas City Business Journal. "The women of Lead Bank's Board of Directors ... represent a unique fusion of backgrounds and expectations and bring to the bank's decisions the highest standards of comity and responsibility. They are thoughtful, challenging and humane leaders in retailing, industry and civic life, and their energetic committed participation refreshes our community bank with bold insight and clarity."


The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City has three of nine women board members, making it the next closest to Lead Bank in percentage of female board leadership. Bank of America has five women on its 16-member board, giving it the highest number of female board members for banks with a presence in the Kansas City area. U.S. Bank has four women on its 15-person board, giving it the same number of women as Lead Bank but not the same percentage.


Commerce Bank, the largest bank based in the area by assets, has two women on its 12-person board. UMB Bank, the largest bank by market share of deposits, has one woman on its 11-person board.


Rowland is one of only a handful of women who lead financial institutions in the metro area. Others include:

  • Ann Dickinson is chairwoman of Kansas City-based Dickinson Financial Corp., which is the holding company for Academy Bank and Armed Forces Bank.Whitney Bartelli is Kansas City market president for Bank Midwest.Wendy Reynolds is CEO of Morrill & Janes Bank & Trust Co.Lisa Ginter is CEO of CommunityAmerica Credit Union.Deonne Christensen is interim CEO of Mazuma Credit Union.


This article first appeared on Kansas City Business Journal by Jim Dornbrook.