In the seven months since Lead Bank Chair and CEO Jacqueline Reses led a group that acquired the bank, it has built one of the most seasoned and diverse leadership teams in the Kansas City area.
The new leadership team includes carryovers from previous ownership such as President Greg Bynum and COO Brooke Clouse. It also includes people from Reses’ network, such as Executive Vice President Ronak Vyas, Executive Vice President Homam Maalouf, Chief of Staff Erica Khalili and CFO Kris Dickson.
“We are building the bank we want to see, and that means we’re going to have a diverse team that reflects the real world,” Reses said. “Our leadership team and our board are both majority women."
The leadership team contains tech talent with world-class résumés. Vyas, who works as Lead Bank’s new banking-as-a-service (BaaS) technology lead, spent the past five years as head of engineering for Square Capital and Square Financial Services. He also has engineering experience at Yahoo, VeriSign and EXP Systems. At Square Financial and Yahoo, Vyas focused on corporate development and data science. He will work closely with Maalouf, Lead Bank's BaaS strategy and development lead.
"We now have this incredible group of engineers who can build the most cutting-edge tools and have the power to influence companies that they’ve worked with for years to pay attention to making sure that the tools and technology they use are as world class as they can be,” Reses said. “Our people like the idea of what we’re building and what we’re changing because they’ve all experienced the frustrations viscerally in their prior jobs. They wish there was something better. You combine that with a fun culture, a company that is growing and has excitement around the quality of the team, and it makes for a great career opportunity. If people weren’t excited about what we’re doing, they wouldn’t join us.”
Reses sees no reason Kansas City can’t be a hotbed of fintech excellence, and she hopes Lead Bank will add to the strong foundation laid by companies such as BATS Global Markets, C2FO, Euronet, PayIt and others.
Reses said she has no plans to move Lead Bank out of Kansas City and wants to push the bank to its full potential right where it is. That means the bank needs to keep hiring.
“As we grow, there will be lots of opportunity to add new folks to our teams in Kansas City,” Reses said. “I think if 10 years from now we are one of the biggest corporate employers in Kansas City, I would beam with pride. Right now, we’re a small company with about 130 people. We intend to hire and build in Kansas City, and as we succeed, we think the tech community of Kansas City will succeed. We’d love to bring more excitement to those folks who come out of college with computer science degrees and want to come join us. Or folks who want to join us in any part of our company. It’s important that we create a really nice culture in Kansas City because it will remain the hub for what we’re building.”
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