TexasBank Female Leaders
TexasBank is very fortunate to have a strong, diverse, well-rounded staff across all our locations. We pride ourselves in our outstanding customer service, seamless day-to-day operations, and the phenomenal staff we have on board. Many of the staff members that make the “every day” possible are the female leaders of TexasBank. Although their leadership is appreciated every day, we want to spotlight them specifically this month. These are only some of the female leaders at TexasBank who work every day to pave the way for other women to shine in the financial industry. It is an honor to have them on our team.
Our first female leader is our Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer, Myrtle Bowles-Scott. Myrtle has led the TexasBank compliance team since October of 2018. Myrtle was a lawyer in New York before transitioning her area of expertise to compliance in 2012. She held three compliance positions before TexasBank, with a resume boasting management positions at JP Morgan Chase, Citi Mortgage, and Texas Capital Bank before arriving at Texas Bank Financial in 2018.
Myrtle was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, but became an official “Texan” in 2006. She is an avid sports fan, with favorite teams like the Yankees, NY Knicks, and of course, the Dallas Cowboys. Her favorite organizations to volunteer with are the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program and Feed My Starving Children. Myrtle strongly believes in working on self-development. She challenges herself with new activities and is always enrolled in various continuing education classes to look for opportunities to learn new skills or subjects. Her intention is to always offer advice to her colleagues from a place of knowledge, experience, ethics, and integrity.
When asked about her leadership role, Myrtle states, “Being a leader isn’t something I aspired to be. I’ve always focused on what I like to do and what I’m good at, which ultimately led me to become a leader.” Myrtle’s perspective on who should seek leadership roles focuses on who a person is at their core. “I wouldn’t say I proactively encourage women to seek leadership roles because the way I see it, being a leader isn’t something to chase or seek. Leadership comes from within, and it shows in how you treat people, make decisions, handle criticism, and hold yourself accountable,” she explained. Her desire as a leader is to provide inspiration and guidance to women who are interested in leadership and offers opportunities to allow them to “flex their leadership muscles.”
Our next highlight is the Executive Vice President of TexasBank El Paso, Ann Herkenhoff. Ann has been a member of TexasBank for almost 3 years, and in the financial industry since 1989. An exciting internship in Athens, Greece for American Express sparked her desire to find a career in banking. While attending Columbia University, Ann experienced a recession and wanted to help banks who were struggling, so she joined the Federal Reserve upon graduation as a bank examiner. As Ann’s goal was to become a lender, she took steps in her career to position herself for that success which brought her to El Paso. After many years of hard work, Ann opened her first loan production office and found incredible success with her team.
Ann was born and raised in New Mexico. She has a love for the mountains, snow skiing and mountain biking. She travels around the Colorado/New Mexico/ Utah area in her camper looking for exciting mountain biking trails. “I’ve always been an outdoorsy person. You can get further into the middle of nowhere when biking versus hiking. I like the remoteness of it.” Also close to Ann’s heart is volunteering and giving aid to the homeless community. She spent 16 years on the board of a local homeless shelter and was president of the board for eight of those years. She recently stepped down to give others an opportunity to be more involved but stays intimately involved still. “I spent so much time and energy with them coming up with funding. I never can leave it; it’s my baby,” she said. “It’s easy to get hung up on the day to day, and work becomes such a priority that the shelter puts everything back into perspective. My problems are not problems. They’re blessings.”
When asked about the proudest accomplishment of her career thus far, Ann said, “opening the El Paso branch of TexasBank and having it be successful and profitable.” She adds, “We didn’t even have an office- it started at zero. Seeing the success of the branch and the growth and knowing that it’s actually succeeding... I don’t deserve the credit. It’s us as a team. We have a good group of people,”.
Ann encourages women, especially women in the financial industry, to develop confidence in themselves. “We have to have the confidence to step out of traditional roles we often get into, whether by accident or on purpose” she explained. “Never stop learning. Take the internships you’re offered, always capitalize on an opportunity to grow yourself. Banking is constantly offering these opportunities and that is why I love my career.”
Our next outstanding TexasBank woman is the Senior Vice President of New Accounts at TexasBank Stephenville, Katharine Demetruk. Katharine started her journey in the banking industry in 1978 as a bookkeeper. She has worked in multiple roles throughout her impressive career, such as data processing, supervisor of new accounts, branch manager, teller, new accounts representative, and many others, but her passion lives in bank operations. Katharine worked in the same exact building for most of her career, but saw seven different banks go through that building. She made the switch to TexasBank in 2017, to join her former boss and dear friend, Connie Wooley who was soon to retire. Upon Wooley’s retirement, Katharine was able to step in and manage the day-to-day operations for both Stephenville branches as well as assist the staff at our Eastland and Dublin branches.
Katharine explained that the community focus from TexasBank truly makes the difference. She enjoys being able to represent TexasBank at events and fundraisers and see the TexasBank logo around the community for sponsored events. As an avid volunteer, Katharine finds fulfillment in helping the United Way, Downtown Merchants, and was even a former Girl Scout Leader. As Katherine has had an extremely successful banking career, her greatest accomplishment is in her family. Katherine has two grown children and two grandchildren who are the lights of her life.
Katharine is most proud of her team at TexasBank. “We have a great team between Stephenville, Eastland, and Dublin. We are a family and support each other. We all work hard,” she bragged of her branches. She is a hands-on leader. “I’m right there with them- if we’re shorthanded in the teller line. I can fill deposit slips for them or do whatever they need to get through day.” Katharine makes sure that her team is comfortable in their roles and will do whatever it takes to ensure that. “I believe my role is to help everyone become successful in their role, so they are more confident to accept more responsibilities and grow in their career . If that means standing shoulder to shoulder to make sure they understand, then that’s what we do.”
Katharine has felt very supported throughout her entire career in banking. “My bosses throughout my career, including TexasBank, have been so supportive. No one has ever told me I couldn’t do it. You work hard and good things happen. I have been very blessed to have good leadership to follow.”
Liz Brown, Executive Vice President of Mortgage Lending in Brownwood, is our next TexasBank Woman highlight. Liz began her journey in the financial industry in 1981 as a part-time teller while she was a full-time student in college. She liked it so much that she decided to work full-time and go to college part-time. She moved her way up to branch manager and loved the position. “I really enjoyed the manager role with the savings and loan. It was a small branch so I never knew what I would be doing on a daily basis- helping tellers, being a teller, opening accounts, reviewing consumer loans,” she said.
After she graduated from college Liz remembers her boss asking her to move into a mortgage lending role. She loved her current position and didn’t want to transition, but he gave her strong advice: “If you want to move up the corporate ladder you need to move to mortgage lending.” That was discouraging to Liz, but convincing. “I wanted a career. As a female in the early 80s, a college degree was essential if you wanted a career. But even with a college degree, nursing or teaching were the primary careers for women” she said. After several years in her new position, she grew to love it, and her boss asked her to head up a centralized mortgage processing division in Abilene. Liz was living in San Angelo at the time, but she agreed to take on the challenge. “It gave me an opportunity to move up, so I said, ‘Let’s go for it.’” It took her six months to get the division running, but she did it successfully. Liz eventually received an offer to open up TexasBank Mortgage in Brownwood in 1990. This new role would put her closer to her family in San Saba so she was very excited for the new adventure. Liz was hired on the spot after her interview, and the rest is truly history.
As a female lender, Liz told a story of a customer refusing to work with her. She shared “The customer came into the bank one day looking for his usual male loan officer, but I was the only one available to assist him. He decided to leave and come back another time to speak with my male colleague. My colleague later introduced us, and after gaining his confidence, he chose to work with me. We later became personal friends, and he was a great business referral source.” Liz explained that being a woman has never held her back from achieving her goals.
Liz cherishes God and her family most. “My family is everything to me. Steven and I have seven grandkids and several great nieces and nephews that keep us busy” she bragged. She also loves travelling as much as possible.
The first thing Liz tells someone interested in a leadership role is to believe in themself. If you don’t believe in yourself, then no one else will either. Her number one rule in leadership is to never tell someone what you can do. Prove it with your actions because actions speak louder than words. However, when you don’t know how to do something, ask questions. She explains, “We always have something to learn and someone to gain wisdom from. I try to encourage women to not be afraid to share new ideas, speak up, and ask questions”. She recommends getting involved in your community so that people will know who you are and trust you, therefore trusting TexasBank.
As Liz’s career reached 32 years with TexasBank, she transitioned into yet another role, Community Relations Liaison. Liz now has the opportunity to showcase TexasBank through sponsorships, volunteering, and other public relations roles in the Central Texas Region.
Lisa Marie Graves
Our final female leader of TexasBank we’d like to mention is our Senior Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer, Lisa Marie Graves. Lisa Marie just had her 1-year anniversary with TexasBank in February and the list of attributes she’s brought to the table in that short amount of time are endless. Lisa Marie comes to TexasBank following a successful 21-year HR career with the United Stated Air Force.
Lisa Marie’s position in the Air Force focused on retention, career advancement, and employee records. With that experience, she was able to quickly bring improvement to the employee benefits offered at TexasBank. She explained, “we quickly changed the policy from waiting 90 days from hire for benefits to begin, to being able to start that on day one of employment. This improves our employees’ overall work/life balance because it takes the stress away from waiting those 90 days for benefits to kick in, which ultimately saves money for the employee. That is something we all want and what TexasBank cares about the most – the positive impact on our staff.”
Before starting with TexasBank, Lisa Marie owned her own business as a Business Coach. “My business coaching helped me in understanding the community focus of community banking and the significance of the relationships.” Lisa Marie decided to accept the position of Chief Human Resources Officer because she thought TexasBank was a great organization and she had a deep respect for Mark Riebe, TexasBank’s Chairman & CEO. “I felt that the gifts that I have could help the organization as they were going through the merge and continuing their growth.”
Family is most important to Lisa Marie outside of her career. “I have adult children and their families are expanding. I love that TexasBank offers an environment where I can grow my career and be present with them.”
Lisa Marie leads by example. “I have a passion for helping women succeed. They’re my motivation. I don’t give up because of the other women I work with and see in all industries. They keep me in the fight.” She also tries to pay attention to people individually when encouraging others to seek leadership roles. “Sometimes it is something subconscious that a person does, maybe they don’t see it, but I do and I can help empower them to use it for their success.” When asked how she advises other women to seek leadership roles, she shared, “always think about what you need to do to achieve two promotions above where you are now. It’s about thinking two promotions ahead of where you currently are. What do you need to do to get to that next promotion? That includes the training, education, different expansions of a skillset you need. It’s always two promotions up.”
Lisa Lockwood, Senior Vice President and Mortgage Production Manager, has proudly worked in the financial industry since she was 18 years old. Lisa began her financial career with a Savings and Loan office in Fort Worth as a teller, then moving into the closing department shortly after, hand-typing closing documents for mortgage loans. Within a year, her sister, a loan officer for a local mortgage company’s bustling office, needed help during the refinance boom in 1983 refinancing clients from north of 16% down to 11% mortgage rates. Lisa agreed to help and made the switch to the mortgage industry processing mortgage loans. She vividly remembers typing on a rolling typewriter and feeling immediately overwhelmed. “Within two weeks of making the change, I was literally typing, crying at my desk, when another loan officer walked by and said ‘Hey! We don’t cry in mortgage. Suck it up buttercup and let’s go.’ So, I did just that.”
Lisa has been under the mentorship of Mortgage President Bob Havran for 37 years. Lisa first spoke to Mr. Havran over the phone early in her career while working as a loan processor when he called to discuss a file that she had submitted for review to his company, TexSun Mortgage. Funny enough, Mr. Havran disagreed with Lisa’s loan submission and called to dispute it. Both headstrong individuals, they did not see eye-to-eye on that pioneer loan submission and had a strong conversation concerning the loan. Lisa would later find out that Mr. Havran was not just an underwriter, but the owner of TexSun Mortgage. The following day, Lisa’s office was hosting Mr. Havran’s team from TexSun Mortgage for a meeting. While there, he told her that they had a very interesting conversation the day before and he hoped they would have many more. Soon after that initial conversation, Lisa went to work for Mr. Havran and has played a key role in building the TexasBank Mortgage department into what it is today.
“Family is most important to me,” Lisa said. “I’ve been married to my loving husband for 39 years. We have three fantastic human beings as our children, of which two are married, and we are blessed to be called Gigi and Pops by our one-year-old granddaughter, Aurora, with another one on the way! I do what I do for them. TexasBank is my ‘other’ family and I truly see it that way. I love what I do and for whom I do it for…. My family and TexasBank. These relationships make me who I am, and I hope that I emanate that in my day-to-day.”
Lisa has been with TexasBank (both the “old” and “new”) for a total of 22 years. She highly respects the Doss & Knight families, founders of TexasBank, and fondly remembers Mrs. Doss bringing homemade baked goods to the office while taking the time to get to know each team member. “That feeling of kinship she and Mr. Doss brought on those days, their kindness and consideration of others, made you feel part of the family. That really made TexasBank a true family. I’ll never forget that feeling and, honestly, it’s always been that way.”
“I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by wonderful people in my career, intelligent mortgage professionals that know how to do ‘it’ the right way. I’m proud that it’s not just a job- we take it personally helping people get into their homes. Doss-Knight instilled it from the beginning treating those you serve like family and serve them well. It is building a long-term relationship with your clients.”
Lisa bragged on her strong mortgage production team many times. “It’s not just me by any shape or form. It takes all of us working together, talking it out when needed, and helping each other always.” Lisa said that she is grateful to have worked with a strong mentor that allowed her to be herself. “He taught and showed me how to be a good mortgage lender and what that means, while giving me the opportunity to make a career in such a wonderful industry.” She acknowledged that there are those who see her first as just a woman before a mortgage expert, but after working with her, you see what she brings to the table.
TexasBank has a fantastic group of employees overall, but this month especially we are grateful for all the women that make our institution run every day. We have headstrong female leaders who have built their way up and are thriving in their roles. Thank you, women of TexasBank, for making us who we are today.