While water is hot at 211°, there’s a huge difference when the temperature rises just one degree. At 212°, it boils, becomes steam, and is one of the most powerful forces of nature.


​​This is what The Scooch Project is all about, offering life and leadership strategies to help people grow “just a little” in every area of their life. Small, incremental changes can make all the difference.

INB’s Steve Miller decided to join the Board of SCOOCH a few years ago to help drive this mission.

“SCOOCH focuses on both personal and professional leadership development, but in my opinion, it is about understanding and developing yourself to be the best version of yourself,” he shares. “From a professional perspective, it does not matter if you own a company, if you are a leader in your company or if you don’t have the official title of leader in your company, you will benefit from this program.”

One of SCOOCH’s main activities is hosting a 6-part life and leadership development series in Springfield. The group meets six times between September and April to learn, be challenged and “scooch.”

INB has become a major supporter of this development program; this year, we had seven employees participate. 

Steve lists three reasons why he believe The SCOOCH Project is effective:

  1. “In every session, actionable leadership ideas are provided in small bites, then we are able to take these and integrate these into our daily personal and professional lives.
  2. You are attending with like-minded individuals who are willing to share their successes and struggles, and/or are willing to show their vulnerability.
  3. Everyone has to have a growth mindset, and be willing to put these leadership bits into practice. This is important because anything you want to succeed at takes practice and sometimes a lot, and personal development is no different.”

Other INB staff weigh in about their SCOOCH experience:

Allison Trelz, Senior Finance Consultant: “I got involved with SCOOCH to grow as a leader and a person, and to do that with a group of people who were also looking to do the same. My biggest takeaway has been to put effort into the small habits, behaviors, and mindset shifts that help me get a little better each day. Attending SCOOCH meetings regularly throughout the year has helped hold me accountable and keep the things we learn top of mind. We also have a lot of fun!”

Dalton Garecht, Branch Operations Supervisor at INB Dirksen: I had heard from others who had been to SCOOCH in the past about what a great experience it was and how they felt they grew as leaders and overall people. I learned so many useful things that it is hard to put into a few sentences. In summary, we as individuals always have time to grow, and even though we cannot control what will happen in our futures and others futures, we make an influence in everything we do. A positive mindset goes a long way, and never forget to try and see the world from someone else’s perspective. You never know what they are going through.

Cammy Murfin, Customer Care Center Consultant: “I’m so happy I took part in SCOOCH, and I want to continue participating and practicing the ideas throughout my life! I was able to delve deeper into the vague concepts I already had floating in my head. One of my favorite takeaways from SCOOCH is called “Default People Mode” – essentially the way we tend to see others as problems or obstacles in your life instead of seeing them as people. For instance, I was running late for an important appointment that had already been rescheduled, and I didn’t want to show up late and have to reschedule again. As I’m speeding to my appointment and it feels like everyone else is driving too slow, thoughts that illustrate Default People Mode in this situation could be “They’re in my way!”, “They’re going slower on purpose!” or “If this person would just merge to the other lane, I could make my appointment on time!” In this way, I’m seeing them as a problem, and it’s their fault I’m going to be late. Once I reevaluated, my thoughts changed: there’s no one else to blame for being late than myself. They’re a person too; not a problem or obstacle to get past.”

Sometimes you just gotta SCOOCH!

SCOOCH also offers a one-day national leadership conference called Leadercast that takes place in May with a satellite location in Springfield. Anyone can attend at no cost.

This year’s conference was focused on creativity, ambition and decision-making. Eighteen INB employees attended in May, and a few offered insights into their experience…

Mary Belford, Mortgage Loan Funder: This is not an area where I’m normally comfortable; I don’t enjoy speaking in public or having attention paid directly to me. I wanted to do the Leadercast for exactly that reason: it felt like a good opportunity to push my boundaries and know that I would not only be okay, I might actually have fun. And it was SO WORTH IT!  It felt inviting, and there were amazing speakers.

I expected to go in there and be lectured about how to lead a team and be a good “boss” to someone. It wasn’t; it was about being a better human and developing good “people” skills. The lessons felt so personal to me and brought a profound sense of finding myself. They were uplifting, and I did not expect that.

Mikayla Dahlkamp, HR Payroll & Benefits Clerk: I decided to do Leadercast this year because of how my coworkers talked about the event. It intrigued me a lot, and I wanted to see what it was all about. My biggest takeaway was that being a leader isn’t always about making all of the decisions yourself but also allowing those you lead to come in and help as a team. I would absolutely recommend Leadercast to other people – not just for the workplace but I think there’s a lot of points brought up that could help in your day-to-day life!

Ruth Kombe, Branch Operation Supervisor: I decided to go to Leadercast for leadership growth. My manager Andi Whalen has said so many good things about attending this event that I wanted to experience it for myself. My biggest takeaway was that as a leader you have to go with your gut feeling. Sometimes there is no need to over-analyze a situation. There was also an emphasis to give everyone at the table a chance to speak and not to be dismissive.


Steve says he is thrilled about INB’s involvement with SCOOCH and he sees a lot of potential for the program to inspire and develop INB’s team.

“For me personally, I have been able to meet and work with great people who are focused on developing themselves. The program keeps me focused, gives me insight, keeps me grounded to become the best version of myself, and it has been a lot of fun,” Steve says. “I encourage anyone that has interest in personal growth to attend the upcoming session starting in September or contact one of us who are in the program for more information.”