Author: Rob Chaney

Last Friday, after I had finished creating a gourmet dinner for the family and cleaning the kitchen all by myself (because that’s the kind of guy I am), I settled down and turned on the TV (TV watching on a Friday night, that too is the kind of guy I am).  As I scrolled through the channels, I stumbled across a reality show about company presidents going incognito to several of the company’s sites to learn how things work.  Watching for a bit got me to thinking about my career…

22 years ago, I had been with FirstBank for about 5 months when my daughter was born.  One afternoon, a few days after the blessed event as my wife and I were relaxing during one of my daughters naps, there was a knock on our front door.  It was a delivery, a package containing a very nice outfit for our daughter.  It was a personal gift from the Chairman of the Board of FirstBank; a personalized expression of sharing in the joy of the birth of our daughter, from a family that I had joined just half a year before.

There was a stretch in my life when I had a minor health scare, one that thankfully turned out to be a false alarm.  I think we have all been there. The conversation goes something like this, “We think you might have a dread disease, go take this test, we will call you in a week.”  They tell you not to worry but who doesn’t worry?  One day during this stretch, as I sat at my desk toiling away, a cup appeared on my desk-top, delivered by my boss.

“What’s this?”  I asked.

“A jamocha shake, you could use it” replied the president of my division as he walked away.

He not only knew I was a bit stressed, he also knew my favorite beverage (‘cause, come on, ice cream, chocolate, coffee…amiright???).

Incognito CEO wouldn’t work at FirstBank.  We all know each other!  Sure, a prosthetic nose here and a poorly applied mustache there might throw some us off for a while, but the truth would come out.  And when we say we know each other, I don’t mean we have seen photos, we know each other.  Scores of FirstBankers know me and I know them.  I know their spouses name, I know about their son with autism, we talk about their recent home purchase, we cry over the death of their father, we ooh and ah over vacation pictures – we are friends.

FirstBank has changed in 50 years.  We have grown from a small community bank to a multi-billion dollar company.  But our core virtues have remained.  Honesty, Integrity, and Relationships – all the things we have leveraged to become who we are.

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