In each “On Leadership” column, Allen Lima Leadership Executive Director Matt Childers talks with a regional business leader. This week, he profiles Angie Clark, a retired banking executive for more than 30 years in the Lima community.
Matt: How would you describe your early years?
Angie: My parents came from Germany. I was 2 years old. My parents worked very hard. They didn’t speak any English and had to make their way in the world. They also shared that, once I graduated from high school, it would be time to get a job. I fortunately had the opportunity to meet the MacDonald Family (who ran the Metropolitan Bank), and what a great experience that was.
Matt: Did you happen to know what you wanted to do post high school?
Angie: No idea. (laughs) I thought the best I could do is be a secretary. I needed to find work, and I walked into the Met Bank and asked for a job, and they gave me one.
Matt: What were some of the early mentors for you like in the banking world?
Angie: It was great. I had a lot of great bosses, and fortunately for me there was quite a bit of turnover. I would listen and watch those behaviors that were really good. I would soak up the information like a sponge. I wanted to learn from them.
Matt: What was your progression like at the bank?
Angie: I took a lot from my parents. They had a lot to deal with coming from Germany. I watched them struggle yet fight for everything that they had. I think my father taught me how to position myself. He was a man of “walk the talk,“ and I took that to heart. I started as a teller, became a secretary in private banking, then came lending and management. I was able to move up the ladder, and I loved it all!
Matt: What advice would you give young people today who want to be vice president right out of school?
Angie: I do think you have to have patience. I believe you have to find some mentors, some people you really respect and watch what they are doing. I also think the biggest thing one can do is listen. Be kind, be respectful, and most of all listen.
Matt: What lessons on leadership did you learn along the way?
Angie: I always looked for good people. I always knew I could teach people the products in banking, but I could not teach them how to be a good person. I wanted to hire honest, confidential, hard-working and kind people. The rest I could teach them. Personality is such a key factor, and so I looked for good people to surround myself with.
Matt: You moved on to Fifth Third Bank following the 20 years at the Metropolitan Bank. What was that experience like?
Angie: I had a nice opportunity with Dan Sadlier (vice president-Dayton), and he wanted to start a new private banking service here in Lima. Dan was very motivated. He was a mentor who took me to another level. It was a great time in my career.
Matt: Then you decided to take a step back from your career?
Angie: Well my husband, Barry, and I were late bloomers. We had a daughter. I always wanted to be a mom. I wanted to be that working woman who was also a mom. I always envisioned myself with a child on my hip and briefcase in my hand. I realized that my husband and I were working so many hours that I was missing being a mom. When my daughter one year asked if she had to go to summer daycare, I knew I had to take a step back. I was fortunate enough to take a step back, and I have no regrets. She is a fantastic girl, and I am so blessed to have been able to spend the last six years with her.
Matt: What have you learned from your husband who has had a tremendous career as CEO of Perry ProTech?
Angie: I tell everyone, I admire him as a leader more than anyone I have ever met. I think back over the years in many meetings. Some meetings can be controversial, and I always thought, what would Barry say? That served me well. Barry is a great leader, he is a great person, and I look up to him so much.
Matt: You have also found time to be a part of many charitable organizations here in our community. Why is that important to you?
Angie: This community always gave to my family coming from Germany. I remember my Aunt telling me how the United Way helped our family. A lot of people helped my parents and my family. So I am very happy to give back to this community. This is home. It’s been wonderful. I will do everything I can to help this community.
Matt: You were in the 1990 Allen Lima Leadership Class. What was your experience?
Angie: I loved it! The connections and the people were terrific. I was very driven at the time and it educated me and opened a lot of doors.