Mike Ireland, Regional President for Central Missouri, The Bank of Missouri
I oversee regional bank operations and help execute the bank’s strategic plan throughout Central Missouri. I’m also responsible for providing support and guidance to our regional leadership team and community bank presidents.
Years lived in Columbia:
Trenton, Missouri. Throw a rock in Columbia and you’re likely to hit someone from my hometown.
Bachelor’s in marketing from Missouri Western State University.
Favorite volunteer activity:
I recently finished my final term on the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Mid-Missouri board of directors, serving the last two years as board president. Executive Director Terri Gray and her team are an amazing group. It was a privilege to serve alongside them.
I’ve been in the banking industry my entire career, 20 years altogether. I spent a majority of that time, 17 years, with Commerce Bank serving in retail, small business, and commercial leadership roles. I joined The Bank of Missouri in 2018 as regional president for Central Missouri.
A favorite recent project:
I recently had the opportunity to participate in the Heart of Missouri United Way’s 2018 Financial Stability and Economic Mobility Community Summit. The event convened providers, community leaders, and other stakeholders to define next steps to create access to economic success for everyone in our community.
A Columbia businessperson I admire and why:
Columbia Public Schools superintendent Dr. Peter Stiepleman. The energy and enthusiasm he brings to a conversation is contagious, and I like surrounding myself with people like that. We recently had a laugh over coffee about the similarities between the banking industry and education in relation to the balance between customer experience and risk management. I grew up in rural northern Missouri and he was raised on Long Island. We have different backgrounds and different views on certain topics, but we also have common ground, like our work together on the United Way Board of Directors.
Why I’m passionate about my company:
The Bank of Missouri is committed to treating employees like family and putting the customer at the center of everything we do. Our regional structure also allows us to develop and execute a consistent strategy across our Missouri footprint. We serve communities similar in size and have the same objectives across markets.
My next professional goal:
Continue to build on the solid foundation that others, including David Keller, have built here in the Columbia market. As we’ve recently transitioned to a regional structure, our top priority is integrating the surrounding communities to fully leverage that model. I’m also looking forward to serving on the bank’s strategic planning committee as we look at ways to grow using technology.
How I want to impact Columbia:
In my new role, I have a renewed energy for helping Columbia grow responsibly. When we fund a new project (new business, working capital, development, whatever), we’re creating a structure that’s good for the customer and the bank and is ultimately good for our economy.
If I weren’t doing this for a living, I would:
I think I’d enjoy health care administration. In my previous role, I led the bank’s regional health care banking effort. I had the opportunity to observe leaders like Jonathan Curtright at MU Health Care navigate the challenges of the health care industry. Like banking, health care is a highly regulated and complex industry, so the similarities could make it a good fit.
What people should know about this profession:
It’s equal parts sales and risk management. I’m always surprised by the number of people who are surprised bankers consider themselves salespeople. I certainly don’t mean selling for the sake of selling a product, but successful banks understand the importance of educating customers and offering solutions.
What I do for fun:
Most of my free time is spent with family. My wife, Ellen, and I have three kids: Isabelle, 11, Josie, 8, and Henry, 5. Brad Eiffert once told me you’ll never regret investing in ways to spend time with your family on the Katy Trail, so we recently bought bikes for each of us. Brad was right.
Accomplishment I’m most proud of:
My marriage to my wife, Ellen. Everyone likes her way better than they like me. I 100 percent guarantee people are reading this and nodding in agreement.
I like to think it’s the capacity to connect with people.
I’m too much of a giver . . . and I’m too organized. Kidding! Unfortunately, my weaknesses are actual weaknesses. I tend to make myself the center of the universe. It’s a daily exercise of reorienting myself to focus more on serving other people.
Biggest lesson learned in business:
Focus more on others than yourself. Also, there’s a difference between management and leadership; they go hand-in-hand but are distinctly different.
Favorite place in Columbia:
We discovered the True/False Film Fest a few years ago. The first year, I told my wife, “This is amazing, we’re totally going to Sundance next year!” We’ve never made it to Sundance. We also love spending time at our church.
Most people don’t know that I:
I come from a very musical family. People seem surprised by that and find it interesting for some reason. My sister was a voice major in college, my brother-in-law performs at Legends Theater in Branson, and my nephew was on last season of NBC’s The Voice.