Brenda Emerson, Chief Information Officer, Landmark Bank
As chief information officer, I lead and manage the information technology department. I set the strategic technology vision for the bank in alignment with the corporate strategic plan. This includes staying abreast of new technologies and product developments, understanding customer and employee needs, formulating practical solutions, setting multi-year strategic plans, and working with bank departments to increase the effectiveness of their use of information and technology.
Years lived in Columbia/Mid-Missouri:
I have lived in Mid-Missouri since I was 6 (mostly in Salisbury). I’ve worked in Columbia for the last 30 years. My husband and I live just north of town.
Bachelor of Science in business administration with an emphasis in computer science from Central Methodist University.
Favorite volunteer/community activity:
Heart of Missouri United Way — I’ve been a supporter for many years. I’ve also led the Landmark corporate campaign for the group.
I started my banking and technology career at Landmark Bank (First National Bank at the time). I was hired as a part-time employee while I was in college. I’ve held a variety of technical positions, including email administrator, technology training coordinator, computer operations manager, and network manager. I’ve been the CIO since 2010.
A favorite recent project:
I’ve been involved in countless projects at Landmark Bank. Almost every new initiative has a technology component. A recent favorite project was our upgrade to new internet banking products. It was a true enterprise effort — every banker had a role.
A Columbia businessperson I admire and why:
Sabrina McDonnell, from Landmark. Sabrina is a great role model for women in business. She’s focused on her job and her family, and she’s smart, kind, and an excellent listener. I’m fortunate enough to work for her and to call her a friend.
Why I’m passionate about my job:
I love the challenge of technology. I love seeing a problem and working to find a technical solution. Each day is different and exciting.
Why I’m passionate about my company:
I’ve worked at Landmark Bank for 30 years. It’s a great company. We care about our customers and employees.
If I weren’t doing this for a living, I would:
I would be living on a beach and enjoying a good cocktail.
What people should know about this profession:
You must be prepared and able to handle constant change. Technology moves very quickly, so you have to be responsive yet deliberate in the technology initiatives you pursue. For me, this is the best part. A fun surprise exists almost daily.
The next challenge facing my industry:
Cybersecurity is the daily challenge. The bad guys and girls have more time on their hands than the good people. We’re constantly working hard to be secure.
My next professional goal:
I want to inspire more women to choose a technical career. Our numbers are few, but the opportunities are great.
Biggest lesson learned in business:
Work hard and raise your hand for any task. You can create opportunities when you’re a person who’s willing to take on any task.
How would I’d like to impact the Columbia community:
I want to be a role model for women in technology.
My can-do attitude. I like to tackle a challenge and find ways to solve problems.
I need to be a better listener. I try to solve problems too quickly and sometimes miss the real issue.
What I do for fun:
I love to spend time with my family. You might find us playing golf, spending time at the lake, or camping.
My husband, Robb Emerson; my children, Cassy Nicolay, Hannah Nicolay, Robert Emerson, and Sarah Emerson.
Favorite place in Columbia:
There are several: Columbia Country Club for golf, any restaurant downtown for lunch or dinner, or my deck in north Columbia.
Accomplishment I’m most proud of:
Raising smart, successful children and showing them how you can have a career and still be a great mom.
Most people don’t know that:
I’m the president of the International Avaya Users Group, an international organization for communications technology professionals. We are a volunteer organization that brings users of Avaya technology together. We have over 5,000 members located in 40 countries.