The future of banking lies with technology and Cassandra Carmicheal is leading the charge, helping FNBO serve customers faster, smarter.
Carmicheal has always been fascinated with unlocking the workings of the mind, it just took a bit for her to expand her definition to include the mind of technology.
“I was actually a psychology major in college,” she said. “My mom told me that I should do a part-time job at a bank, because the hours would be better than anything else. She worked for a bank for 30 years and she knew me better than I knew myself. I started as a teller and I fell in love with the industry.”
Carmicheal wound up completing her psychology degree, and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. But her professional goals had been reset in the process. Within her first seven years at FNBO, she had been promoted to branch manager, the youngest in company history.
Speaking the Language
Five years ago, she landed on the bank’s digital solutions team, the first of several tech-forward positions where she led a team to provide internal solutions and manage projects. Her current title is director, IT PMO.
Despite not having a formal IT background, she quickly became known for her ability to grasp and communicate complex technical undertakings.
“I’ve always thought of myself as a translator,” she said. “I can understand what the technology people say and I’m helping translate that into words my business users can understand. My team sits in the middle and we’ve truly tried to help change the conversation from something where everyone around the table has their eyes wide open and can’t follow along to using different analogies in a way everyone can understand.”
Along the way, Carmicheal has had a hand in several important projects that have helped FNBO stay at the forefront of banking technology in service to customers. A sample of this work includes developing a means for clients to apply online to open an account, aligning and standardizing FNBO’s various websites in 2018 and redesigning the bank’s mobile app in 2019.
With each of these, her approach was the same – work to understand the core problems or shortcomings, build rapport with various stakeholders and subject matter experts, and combine that expertise to meet deadlines and objectives. It’s a strategy she continues to employ in her current role, into which she was promoted last year.
“The whole goal is that we partner together better, so we can deliver faster for the business,” she said. “Partnerships are what matter. Certain roles are very much like mine where they are communicators, facilitators and translators. But there’s the people who are hands-on keyboarders, actual developers who are still going to be speaking their speak and doing their thing.
“I see my role as this hybrid where we’re sitting between two facilitating conversations and leading meetings to help people look at the same page.”
Connected to Community
In addition to her job responsibilities, Carmicheal is equally committed to her community service roles. Among these are as co-chair of the board of Intercultural Senior Center, Code One Hackathon mentor and child mentor through the Elkhorn School District. She says some of her accomplishments as a volunteer rival anything she’s achieved in her career.
“One of my highlights was last year when I ran the United Way campaign for the bank,” she said. “I was the coach here alongside another employee and I was able to use all my previous relationships that I built across many different divisions I’ve been a part of to really get us all on the same page.
“I was able to lead that successfully because I knew the people personally who were willing to help, and they helped reach more people who were willing to give.”