Mark Donovan will never forget his first interview at INB; after turning west on Capitol Avenue to come to the bank, he was mesmerized with the view of INB set before the grandiosity of the Illinois Capitol building.
“And after meeting all the team members that helped found the bank in 1999 – and the still very evident vibe and language around ‘building’ an organization to serve the community and beyond – it felt very entrepreneurial to me. I fell in love with being involved with a ground floor effort,” he recalls.
That was in 2002 – and now 20 years later, Mark has seen INB grow from that “ground level” to a bank with offices across other communities. And he’s just as devoted to INB’s core mission as a newly graduated 22-year-old interviewing for his first professional job.
Thanks to Mark’s longtime dedication and diligence, he’s recently been promoted to INB’s executive leadership, now serving as Chief Operating Officer.
Growing alongside INB
Mark started his career as a management trainee for INB. After 2.5 years, he graduated out of the program and joined the commercial lending department, first as a credit analyst and then as a commercial loan officer.
“I followed that path of progression for almost 15 years, honing my knowledge and translating that knowledge into becoming a more holistic banker for my clients,” Mark says.
In October 2018, he was presented with an opportunity to learn and expand his knowledge base into banking mechanics and operations as well as take on his first official managerial oversight roles.
“I was nervous, uncomfortable, and blatantly unfamiliar about a lot of the areas of the job,” Mark admits. “However, I knew these were all the tell-tale signs of a circumstance that affords personal growth. And given the persistent learning environment at INB and the phenomenal competence and knowledge of older peers, there’s no better place to make yourself vulnerable and improve.”
Always collaborating for client success
In his various roles at INB, Mark says his favorite part of banking will always be helping clients and delivering a financial solution to their unique circumstance. Within his leadership roles, he’s not only able to do this, but also help shape and execute the bank’s vision and strategy while recruiting the best people for INB.
“As I’ve progressed in the organization, I now have the privilege of educating, encouraging, enabling and coaching others who are part of delivering solutions to clients,” he says. “I believe nothing gives a better perspective on the purpose of why we work than being part of the solution with the client. Watching my employees adopt ownership of a client experience is one of the most rewarding feelings as a manager.”
Mark is quick to give credit to his own mentor at INB: Tom Gihl who served as COO for 23 years and will now move to a new role as Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer (CRO).
“Tom will never cease to be an unending wealth of knowledge, perspective, guidance, and frankly, work output,” Mark says. “Like many organizations, one of our goals is to transition the knowledge of those who built our foundation, so we can maintain it and grow it to create more opportunities for everyone around us.”
Looking forward, Mark says it’s hard not to get excited about the opportunities INB is pursuing as an organization. But INB never loses sight of the ‘why’ behind growth and innovation, committed to remaining a ‘community’ bank.
“Many financial institutions are brokering or securitizing every banking product so that they only have interest in serving you if they have the opportunity to sell you an additional product or service. We will continue to invest our capital in the communities we serve,” Mark shares.
As a bank leader, Mark says one of his top priorities is maintaining a healthy culture while sustaining growth.
“Either one of them alone is not easy, but together is how we deliver success and opportunities for all of our employees, as well as continuously improve our options for our clients,” he says. “Running an organization and growing an organization have to be achieved in tandem. I liken it to riding a bike; it’s a lot easier to stay on the bike if it’s moving forward as opposed to trying to balance it while sitting still.”
The Fun Stuff:
What do you do in your spare time? On a normal weekend at home, I love to be outside doing anything physical – whether that’s working in the yard doing landscaping, gardening or playing catch or soccer with my family. While I love movies, I don’t do well sitting idle inside!
Favorite vacation spot? I’d like to think that I don’t have a vacation spot yet because I haven’t found it – that keeps the wanderlust thriving! I absolutely love planning travel (logistics, itineraries, sites), but I’m learning to enjoy the balance of loose plans as my children have shown me the value in being able to pivot and change plans.
Favorite book? My recent favorite book would have to be Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, the founder of Nike. Personally and professionally, I love their motto: Just Do It.