Person of the Week

Tonya Hornberger

Assistant Branch Manager Bank

Being an assistant branch manager allows me to do what I love – work with people and help solve situations. As a leader, I am also able to help others do a good job. I’m always in the mode of wanting to coach, motivate, and develop their abilities. At the same time, this helps me get better at what I do.

1. What led you to the mission of being an assistant branch manager in banking?

This was a next step up in a career field. Being an assistant branch manager allows me to do what I love – work with people and help solve situations. w-Desk-Tonya-Hornberger-3As a leader, I am also able to help others do a good job. I’m not the one who likes to be in the spotlight. I’m more of the one who takes a supporting role. I like to help – internally with the business or externally with the customers. This job has been the best fit.

I went to Fontbonne University.  I received my Bachelor’s in Business Administration so I could learn all the fine political parts of the business. I received my Master’s in Business Management so I could learn people skills, time management, how to get the best out of the people that you work with, and how to get the best out of myself. Those two degrees really helped me with my position now.

w-hallIn this job you have to have people skills. For instance, you have to “read” people and tell if they are frustrated – even though they may not be telling you they are frustrated.

Because I am calm, they are soon brought to a “calmness” as well. People say that I have a calming effect on them. I love being able to do that for other people. I love seeing them able to smile when they leave – even if they didn’t get what they wanted. They will say, “She listened. She understood. She really did care.” That is the best part of this job.

2. What does this mission mean to you?

w-SignThe key word is assist. That is what I focus on. I assist in any way possible that I can. For instance, I work on the teller line with my tellers. They need help when there are many customers. I also help them to reach the next level of what they want to be – like teaching them work ethics. I’m always in the mode of wanting to coach, motivate, and develop their abilities. At the same time, this helps me get better at what I do.

3. What was your best day as an assistant branch manager in banking?

I was able to help a client who was having a really bad day. We spend time talking. w-buildingThe person calmed down and got a better perspective about life in general. This enabled the client to make a better decision about the business concern that was the reason for coming to the bank in the first place. I really felt good because I still talk to this person to this day. This person has said, “You know it was that day when you sat down and talked to me. I really appreciate what you did for me.”

More than talking, I just listen and let people get things off their chest. I just listened to this client and after that I asked, “Now that you feel better, where are we going to go from here?” Being able to help someone and hearing that I had helped out in some way – that is my best day.

4. What was your worst day as an assistant branch manager in banking?

My worst day is when I really can’t help because it is out of my reach, out of my control. There is not anything I can to do help that person because of the situations that are going on in their life. They look defeated and there is nothing that I can say or do to reach out and help them. w-flagI can tell them that it might look gloomy today, but tomorrow it will be different. Eventually there is going to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

To see people defeated and see them walk away defeated is my worst day. I know that in time, these things will correct themselves. However, especially the younger generations don’t seem to see past today. They think the world is going to end today. If they push through just a little bit farther, if they hold on a little bit longer, they will see that things will turn around. They have to keep pushing forward – especially when they are pushing to something good. The fact that something is getting harder can mean that they are so close to where they need to be. I want to tell them, “Just push! Just push a little bit longer.”

5. How did you survive your worst day?

I think of all the good days that I’ve had. Then I take my own advice that there is going to be another good day. I wasn’t able to reach that person, but maybe I’ll be able to help the next. I’m always striving to do well with the next person who might be walking through the door.   I’m going to make sure that I get close to resolving whatever problems are in my control.

w-flowersWhen I know something is not in my control, I know I can’t do anything. I’ve come to terms with that now. I didn’t before and would think, “There’s got to be a way.” But now I understand that I am limited. There is only so much I can do. But as long as I know I have done everything in my power, everything that I can think of, I’ve reached out to everyone that can help in this situation, and when everything is said and done and the situation is still what it is, then I understand that it is not meant for me to fix or help with that situation. I did what I needed to do.

6. What advice do you have for someone who would like to become an assistant branch manager in banking?

Whatever you decide to do, it is about who you are. If you are a people person and you enjoy interacting with people and problem solving, then the technical part – learning how to open an account, learning how to do the paperwork – that will come. If they see you have the right personality for the position, they are going to train you.

w-tableSome people are defeated even when they attempt to apply for some position. They should really be thinking about their personality and if this is a good fit. “Do I have the characteristics they are looking for? If they do, they will train me.” No one goes into a position knowing everything about the technical part. The company will train you. You just need to make sure you have those characteristics that fit.

An assistant branch manager is a people person. You have to have people skills. You must really enjoy working with people. That’s what you are doing all day. You use the phone, email, fax, and in person. You are dealing with people on a regular basis almost the entire time. Maybe ten percent of it is paperwork. If it isn’t your staff, it is your management, and of course the clients. What is most important is to always stay true to your self. It isn’t rocket science. Just be a good person. Be a good person today. Make better decisions and care. If you care, everything else will work in your favor and things will fall into place.