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Podcast 52 – Taking the Entrepreneurial Leap: From Employee to Co-founder of a New Bank

Our episode on #PoisedforExit today will inspire any listener, regardless of whether you own a business. Melissa Johnston, a long time business banking executive, tells the story of how she made the leap from being a loyal, job-loving employee to co-founding a bank holding company. 

Melissa grew up on a farm in southern Minnesota with a love for math. She pursued a degree in Math, and found she loved the finance classes she took, then added an emphasis in Economics. All of this generated an interest in working in the banking industry; she's been a banker ever since. 

During the pandemic she took the opportunity to read some books. One of them changed her life forever. The book called “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle, really challenged her to look introspectively on what she was capable of doing in her life as compared to what she was currently doing. She realized she had a lot more to do and offer the world, beyond her role as a banker, and desired to take more risks that would stretch her capabilities and make more impact in the world. 

She met her current partners prior to reading the book and decided it was worth taking their previous conversation further. Fast forward, she is now a co-founder of Entrepreneurs Bancshares, Inc, which is a holding company for the bank they anticipate launching in early 2022. 

Launching a bank, obtaining a Charter and everything that goes with it has been more daunting than she ever imagined. But, if you knew what you were getting yourself into when you decided to open your own business, would you have done it? Many of us might say 'no' to that question and she did too. Yet, she knows that the massive effort will be worth it.

Entrepreneurs Bancshares, Inc plans to cater to small-medium size privately held businesses. Their vision is to build lasting relationships that take in the whole picture of the business; becoming trusted advisers and not just bankers. Many banks only focus on what pertains to them as lender and banker to the owner, but this bank plans to expand the knowledge they have about the customer, so they understand more about the work they do, and can anticipate their needs in advance. Being proactive in today's world is essential and Entrepreneurs Bancshares understands that, so they plan to hire people with the same  mindset. It's all about relationships, according to Melissa. We wish Melissa, her partners and her entire team the best of success!

For more on her exciting journey, listen to the episode here.

Find Melissa here and find Julie here.

Thank you to our Sponsors! Baker Tilly and Sunbelt Business Advisors

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Julie Keyes
Julie Keyes

Founder & Owner at KeyeStrategies, LLC

Julie is a Certified Exit Planning Adviser and Value Growth Advisor with 30+ years of experience. She works with business owners who seek to understand and maximize their exit and critical transition options.

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