Building Relationships Key to Duehn’s Success
Building relationships is what drives Alisha Duehn in her banking career, and it’s what she’s most proud of. “From community members and valued customers to co-workers and industry peers, I genuinely cherish each relationship for its unique qualities,” she said. “So much of what I love about being a community banker stems from my admiration of fellow industry leaders.”
Currently a senior vice president who manages a portfolio with a mixture of consumer, commercial and ag loans, Duehn has been with First Iowa State Bank for 17 years and has worked in each department in some capacity during that time. “Being a lender is where my heart lies,” she said.
Where did you attend college/what degree(s) have you obtained?
Despite being a firm believer in street smarts over book smarts, I received my two-year Associate of Arts degree from Indian Hills Community College and began my banking career shortly thereafter. I give a great deal of credit to the Iowa Banker’s Association, as I have far more hours vested in IBA courses and seminars than I ever had in college credit hours. The caliber of educational opportunities provided by the IBA is unmatched and certainly something other industries should be envious of. I attribute much of my banking knowledge and success to the IBA’s dedication to spotlighting a rewarding career path and their commitment to cultivating bankers with quality, lifelong opportunities.
When looking back on your banking career, what are you most proud of?
Relationships! As a lender, I’ve had my fair share of profitable loans (and maybe a couple that went the other way), but the relationships remain. From community members and valued customers to co-workers and industry peers, I genuinely cherish each relationship for its unique qualities. So much of what I love about being a community banker stems from my admiration of fellow industry leaders. I value conservative, committed leadership. You don’t have to look far to find an abundance of that in Iowa’s community bankers!
What piece of advice would you give to your past self or to anyone considering a career in banking?
Be bold with both personal and professional growth opportunities! Soak in the moments with your co-workers and peers. Find a way to make a connection with them and seek mentorship in all facets of banking, as it’s so critical to becoming the most-well rounded community banker possible.
What is your best elevator pitch for why banking is a great career?
Very little is more rewarding than watching a customer transition from financing their first car to their first home or farm and knowing they chose to bring you alongside them. Being a part of their personal journey and financial experience has given me a great deal of humble pride over the years. I’m an advocate for rural Iowa, and I get to live out that dedication daily. If that’s not enough, who wouldn’t want to part of an industry represented by an association that pioneered a “vigilante movement in the 1920’s?” If you are unfamiliar with this legendary narrative, I encourage you to read about it here: https://www.iowabankers.com/about/history.
How does getting involved with the Iowa Bankers Association help you and your bank?
As aforementioned, the IBA is committed to seeking and growing talent for the betterment of the industry. Their staff leads by example, and their influence has a ripple effect in member banks across the state. I initially utilized the IBA for educational training but have since realized they offer so much more to those who seek it.
When you’re not at work, what do you like to do most?
Aside from being a dedicated wife and mother of two, my passions include being a servant of the lord, agriculture, wildlife conservation and land management, hunting, coaching youth athletics, the Iowa Hawkeyes, and good bourbon!
What is a quote or guiding principle you live by?
My favorite personal quote is, “Community banking – it may be my profession, but it’s also my passion!”
My favorite professional quote is, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room.”
Most importantly, one of my all-time favorite guiding principles can be found in Proverbs 3:1-35.