Guest Blog Post: Why We Blog At Alterra Bank…By Pam Berneking, President and CEO

Post Author: Mic Johnson

We started working with the incredible team at Alterra Bank in 2012, doing LinkedIn Training for several members of their team and then working with them to execute their monthly blogging strategy.

Recently, Pam Berneking, President and CEO, shared what blogging has meant to Alterra Bank, and was kind enough to allow us to re-post it on our own blog. It’s an excellent story and one we mention often when we talk about the magic that happens when the right leadership and company culture embraces proactive storytelling.

Pam BernekingPost written by Pam Berneking, President and Chief Executive Officer at Alterra Bank | Entrepreneur | Late – blooming cyclist | ISU Cyclone Fan

I’ve been thinking lately about lessons I’ve learned over the past five years. May 1st was the 5th anniversary of Alterra Bank’s founding. It’s amazing to me when I think about all that has happened in such a relatively short period of time.

We had a clear vision for this company when we started.

We intended then, as now, to build the World’s Greatest Bank. An audacious goal to be sure, but one that we felt we could achieve by focusing on adding value back into the relationship between banks and entrepreneurs.

We believed we could create an environment for the best bankers in Kansas City to build careers and thrive. And we were confident that those two goals would create value for our stakeholders and sustainability for our company.

After five years, I’m pleased to say that our instincts were correct and that we’ve met or exceeded nearly every goal we had for our company.

We’ve done a few things along the way that have had far more impact than I could’ve ever imagined. One of those is our approach to what you’re reading right now…our blog…which we call our Better Banking Blog.

Alterra BlogI had a vague idea that a blog might be good for our company. I assumed I would write profound things about business and banking topics, but the well quickly ran dry. So we struggled to get our blog effort off the ground. We were missing the connection to our culture, our mission, and our vision.

If it was going to work, it needed to reflect our company and resonate with our voice.

So we changed it up. We brought in a coach to help us execute and take our blog to the next level….Mic Johnson at Blue Gurus. We decided to invite others to write about whatever moved them. Mic nurtured the aspiring writers in our group and handled all of the technical aspects of getting this done for us every month.

He encouraged us to write about what we cared about and to stop worrying about whether the topic would be of interest to our readers. He assured us this would work.

Honestly, I was skeptical. My first few posts were dry, hard to write and not very interesting, even to me. Then I had a breakthrough. I wrote about my passion for Bruce Springsteen. Very personal, very “non-banky.” The response was overwhelmingly positive.

So why do we blog? How has the Better Banking Blog helped make Alterra an even better bank?

Connections: With our clients, our community and our internal team. When we share topics we care about, we build those connections in a meaningful, authentic and personal way.

Culture: The Alterra blog took on momentum when we allowed the effort to reflect who we are as a company. In turn, each post reinforces the uniqueness of our culture.

Recruiting: Blogging helps us recruit the right people. We learn that prospective employees feel they know our company and our people by reading our blog. And that helps tremendously as we try to find the perfect fit for every position we fill.

Retention: It’s true that having a voice can be more meaningful than having a vote. Writing a blog is one way for us to engage the voices and points of view from our diverse and talented team.

Leadership: On a personal note, my participation in the blog has allowed me to be more approachable to our team at Alterra. They know more about me as a person and that’s helped knock down some of the traditional barriers that often surround other CEOs.

We’ve made many good decisions over the past five years, but one of the best has been the decision to start our blog and allow it to evolve to what it is today.

I’m more excited than ever for new stories to be told and new voices to emerge as we write the next chapter of the Alterra Bank story.

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