River City Six – Kristi Thornton
Meet Kristi Thornton, senior vice president, Omaha retail market manager at West Gate Bank® (westgate.bank).
Tell us a little about your business.
West Gate Bank is a family-owned community bank with 10 locations in Lincoln and Omaha. As a full-service bank, we are large enough to serve all your personal or commercial banking needs, yet small enough to provide the outstanding personal service that only a community bank can deliver.
How did you get started in the business?
I started as a teller while attending college. I continued to get promoted and decided to stay in banking after graduating. I loved helping customers with their finances and watching them grow, from starting with a bank account to purchasing their first home.
What has been your most important achievement professionally?
My current position is one that I have wanted for many years and was one of my goals that I had been working towards. For most banks, there is only one of these positions, so to have the opportunity and be chosen to run the Omaha market is very exciting for me! Also, thanks to the support of West Gate Bank and my manager, I had the opportunity to be a part of Leadership Lincoln, Fellows class of 33 (best class ever)! I learned so much about politics, education, city budgets, and our non-profit organizations. This has provided me with insight on how best to serve and be a leader in the community that I live and work in.
Tell us a little about your family.
I am one of four girls. I grew up in Winside, NE, population 440. My parents owned the local grocery store there for 28 years before selling it.
What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life?
I have always been career-minded, aspiring to move up the corporate ladder. It was important for me to work hard and be promoted for that hard work. After starting a family, I realized I needed work/life balance. I had to find an organization that supported that. West Gate Bank’s culture is exactly what I needed.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
I enjoy spending time with family, running/hiking, or anything outdoors!
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know?
When I was in sixth grade, I won a Cheerios contest. I got a letter in the mail saying I won an all-expenses paid trip to Washington D.C. My parents said it was junk mail and so we threw the letter away. Then we got a package in the mail saying I had won, along with airline tickets and a check! I even had a local newspaper come to my school to interview me and take my picture for the paper. It was the first time I had ever been on an airplane. It was an amazing trip that I will never forget.
If you could choose only one descriptive word to be remembered as, what would it be?
If you could have a super power, what would it be?
To duplicate myself! That way I’d have a little extra help to get things done.
If you could choose any other profession to be successful in, what would it be?
I always thought it would be amazing to be a trader on Wall Street. I did take the National Commodities Futures Exam to earn my Series 3; however, the timing to change careers was not ideal after 2008, so I went back to banking.
What is your favorite movie?
Good Will Hunting.
What is your favorite TV show?
Parks and Recreation or The Office are two of my favorites!
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