With over 18 years of management experience and 23 years in banking, it's no secret that Skylet Cummings is excelling in her role as AVP, Branch Manager of two locations in the unique community of Rockford, Michigan. Rockford is known for its close-knit feel and family-friendly lifestyle. It's fueled with local shoppers, neighborly attitudes, and family owned businesses. So when ChoiceOne Bank opened two branches in Rockford, they knew it would take the right branch manager to fit into the community, and Skylet is that perfect fit.
Not only does Skylet "fit", but she thrives. ChoiceOne has recognized her for her dedication to serving her customers, and engaging with the community; while the Rockford Chamber of Commerce recognized her as Networker of the Year. Read more from my interview with her below:
Tell us about yourself and how you came to ChoiceOne Bank?
I am married to my husband Bob, and we have 4 children (3 daughters, 1 son), and we also have a 2 ½ year old granddaughter. I am also mom to an English Mastiff, named Tyrion and I have been accused of being slightly obsessed with him. 😉 We love to camp and spend almost every weekend from Spring to Fall traveling Michigan finding the next best campsite.
I’ve been in banking roughly 23 years. I started as a Teller, became a Customer Service Representative and then a Branch Manager. I have been in management just over 18 years. I joined ChoiceOne Bank 3 years ago to manage our Rockford branch on Courtland Dr. Community Banking has always been my heart. I believe in giving back to the communities we serve, being present and doing what is right by our customers. ChoiceOne Bank truly lives our mission of “providing superior service, offering quality advice, and giving the utmost respect to everyone we meet.” I love that I get to do what I’m passionate about every day, and that’s helping people in and out of the bank.
"Find your passion and live it."How has your time at ChoiceOne Bank shaped who you are today?
ChoiceOne Bank has reinforced for me what it means to be a true community bank. Our goal is to be the best bank in Michigan and as employees, we are empowered to make that happen. It has been many years in the industry that has shaped who I am today, however, since coming to ChoiceOne, I feel more in love with my role than I ever have.
What advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?
I would give my 20-year-old self the same advice that I give every young person exploring careers. I firmly believe you need to love what you do. Find your passion and live it. Don’t chase the paycheck. I had no idea banking would be a career choice in my 20s, I just wanted/needed a job. I discovered so many things about myself along the way and I’m grateful I have a job that I love going to every day.
What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned in your career so far?
So many things! I’ve learned to embrace change. Change is good. Quite honestly, that is why I love my career, because it is never the same thing day after day. I learn something new every single day. I’ve also learned to practice a bit more patience, not just with others, but also myself. I often feel I can do it all and there are just days I have to let someone help me too.
What impact do you hope to make at the end of the day?
I hope I’ve made at least one person’s day better. I hope I’ve made someone smile, or be at ease with their finances, or have learned something new from me. At the end of the day, I just hope I’ve inspired at least one person to be better.
"I learn something new every single day."What mentors in your life have helped you get to where you are today?
There are so many! We could go way back to my 5th grade teacher, Mr. Kraai. He is the first one I think back to when I discovered my love of learning. I don’t know specifically what it was he did differently than all the other teachers before him, but I still recall a lot of the little life lessons he taught us. I believe it just may have been his passion for teaching. My parents, my family, my friends, my community, my team, my peers and my managers have all inspired me daily to keep bettering myself and inspire me to keep focused on my goals, personally and professionally.
What does this networking award mean to you?
I became a part of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce, three years ago when I joined ChoiceOne. As I said earlier, it is very important to me to be involved in the Community and the Chamber is the best place to start when you want to discover where to make the most impact. From day one, I was so impressed with how organic the relationships with each of the members were. I felt at “home” right away and it was easy to build relationships and get involved from the start. It was a natural progression from volunteering, to joining a few committees, to be becoming an Ambassador. I am honored to receive this award from the Rockford Chamber of Commerce and so grateful I am surrounded by such amazing people in Rockford to network with!
What are you most excited about right now?
I am most excited about the many projects we are all working on right now in preparation for the completion of our mergers with Lakestone Bank and Trust, as well as Community Shores. We have already formed some great relationships with our new teammates, and I can’t wait to become THE BEST BANK IN MICHIGAN!