After years of working in their family’s various construction companies, it was time for Charlotte Smarr and her daughters, Riley Smarr and Morgan Smarr...
Assistant vice president, private banking officer, Landmark Bank
Years lived in Columbia:
Tell us about your job:
I make Landmarks! Our private banking department manages the relationships of our best clients. I make banking easy by providing one resource to help with any financial need. I also develop new relationships by networking and being actively involved in the community.
Who is a mentor in your life?
Jay Alexander, Landmark Bank. It’s so valuable to have someone from whom you can seek advice or feedback as a manager, co-worker, or friend. Jay has been there for me in all of those capacities. He leads by example and is highly respected among his peers.
What are some misconceptions about your job?
It’s not all golf, lunches, and entertaining customers. It can look glamorous from the outside, but much of my time is spent in the office on paperwork, account maintenance, etc.
What is the single best thing about your job?
My co-workers and customers. We have a fantastic team at Landmark and it is truly an enjoyable workplace. There is nothing better than having customers thank me for making their lives easy. Many of my clients are busy professionals, so taking the burden of a banking situation off their plate is my specialty.
What motivates you?
I hate to lose! That’s probably not the healthy answer, but it’s true. I’m very competitive, and that motivates me to work hard every day, personally and professionally.
If you weren’t doing this job, what would you be doing?
I am a big sports fan, so I’d love to do something sports related. Maybe a college basketball analyst. I don’t know nearly as much as I think I do, so I’m sure I would be terrible. But it would be fun!
Which accomplishment are you most proud of?
I am extremely proud of leading Landmark’s United Way fundraising campaign efforts. In 2013, I was asked to chair the Landmark Bank employee campaign. Landmark had always supported the United Way as a Pacesetter company, but I challenged myself to take our campaign to new heights. We had a lofty goal of raising $80,000 through our employee campaign. We organized a hardworking, passionate committee who implemented many new ideas to give us the best chance at success. At the conclusion of the campaign, we had raised over $100,000 through employee contributions, with over 80 percent participation. It was an incredible feeling of success. Landmark has continued to increase its donation in the following years, including $123,000 in 2016. Our commitment to giving back to the community is one reason I am so proud to work at Landmark Bank.
What’s your favorite community project?
I have had the honor of being a judge for the HERO Awards the past two years. Recognition is awarded to community members who have given back in outstanding ways. It has been eye-opening and uplifting to see how much time and effort these citizens give to make Columbia a better place to live. If you think you do a lot for the community, read the HERO Award nominations. You’ll see you can do so much more.
What is the single biggest lesson you’ve learned in business?
Learn from your mistakes. It’s okay to make mistakes, and I’ve made a ton of them. If you learn from the mistakes you make and get better, you will improve dramatically in business and in your personal life.
What is your favorite business book you’ve ever read and what impact did it have on you?
“Eleven Rings” by Phil Jackson. This is not a book specifically about business, but it had a profound effect in regard to my communication and leadership style. The legendary basketball coach discusses the necessary leadership skills to mold drastically different personalities into one cohesive unit. I have used many of his lessons to deepen relationships with clients and co-workers.
If you had unlimited funds, what is the one specific thing you would do to improve Columbia?
I would love to see more funding to increase public safety. Columbia is far below average in regard to the number of police to overall population. We have all seen the increase in violent crimes over the past few years and must find a way to support the police department in order to do their jobs effectively. I certainly don’t have the answer on how we raise the appropriate funds, but hiring a few additional police officers would make for a safer, more pleasant community.
What is one goal you have for 2017 and how do you plan to achieve it?
To continue to develop and expand the private banking department. Private banking at Landmark is a relatively new department, and that gives us the opportunity to shape and mold our structure to best fit the overall strategic vision of the organization. I would like to add at least one additional banker and continue to develop new client relationships.
What trait do you most want in a co-worker or employee?
Excellent communication skills. Proficient communication can help build relationships with customers and clients. I believe communication is essential to being successful in business.
What do you do for fun?
While I enjoy being physically active through exercise, running, and playing sports, my favorite thing to do is spend a lazy day laying around the house. There is nothing better than hanging out with my fiancée, Sarah, and our dog, Tucker, binge watching a good TV show.