Thank you to Alice Frazier, President & CEO of BCT The Community’s Bank for answering some of our questions!
Where were born and raised and, if it was someplace else, when and why did you come to Loudoun?
I was born in Norfolk, Virginia where I lived until I was 12 years old. My parents built a summer home in Wintergreen, Virginia, and after spending a full summer there they decided that would be a better place to raise 3 young girls. Turns out, it was a fantastic place to learn to ride horses, ski, hike, and tip cows in the middle of the night.
I met my husband, Todd, at Radford University. After graduation, we married and moved to his hometown of Winchester, Virginia. After commuting to Loudoun County to work for 13 years, we faced the issues of school system quality for our children and insufficient quality time with my family. In 2004, we moved to Leesburg and have enjoyed it ever since. Fun fact – Todd’s father grew up in Middleburg and was a member of the first graduating class of Loudoun County High School.
What does Women’s History Month mean to you?
Women’s History Month is an opportunity for us to remember and acknowledge the ground that has been broken and the many achievements by women before us. We all spend so much time either in the moment or looking forward that we don’t appreciate how far we have come as a society.
When I became President and CEO of BCT in 2017, there were only 39 women serving in a similar role in banks across the nation. That is less than 1% of the over U.S. 5,000 banks. Since that time and with more awareness that number has grown, and the opportunities have expanded for women. It is important that women support women and as we have the opportunity to rise, we turn around and bring another woman along the journey too.
How long have you been in the banking industry and how did you get into this line of work?
It was early 1991 when I was approached by Ed Wright, then Senior Vice President of Middleburg Bank, about a new job Regulators required. At that time, I was a member of the bank audit team of Yount, Hyde & Barbour, which is how Ed and I knew each other. I joined the bank in May 1991 to begin their Loan Review and Internal Audit programs. At the time, public accounting was not as family-friendly as it is today, so I saw the bank position as a better opportunity for work and family. What I did not expect was to fall in love with community banking! I was inspired by the bankers’ devotion to the community and to the customers they served. That commitment drove me to continually find ways for each bank I lead to be better, more forward, and be more innovative.
To be honest, just prior to accepting the President & CEO position at BCT, I went through a period where I was personally evaluating whether I wanted to take a “Batman” position or continue with a “Robin” position. I had been the Chief Operating Officer for eight years at a regional bank and it was a comfortable place for me. I thank my husband for his gentle push to step forward and chose the “Batman” role. I have learned that being uncomfortable provides the opportunity for professional growth.
Have you had any special mentors or inspirations that influenced your career?
My mother always worked whether for herself (a serial entrepreneur) or for someone else (not too often). She raised four girls to be independent, responsible, and fearless. During a recent visit with her I was looking through mementos and found an article about her I had forgotten. My mother was the first woman to graduate from the Virginia Forensics Academy at VCU. This was three years after being the first woman to join the Wintergreen Police Department. All this at 45 years of age! My mother showed me the path of obtaining aspirational goals, regardless of challenges.
What is the best part of your job and why?
When you love your job like I do, it is hard to pick one part as the best. I love working with the BCT teammates to always provide an amazing customer and employee experience. I love meeting with our customers to learn about their business goals and aspirations. I love getting involved with community events and activities. Being a community banker is an incredible opportunity to bring community, customers, and employees together to help our communities grow.
What is it like own/run a business in Loudoun?
Having the best employees to provide an amazing customer experience is high on my list of necessities. We have been fortunate to attract great people from Loudoun’s diverse pool of talent to help us promote the BCT brand and grow our customer base.
What I enjoy the most about having a business in Loudoun is the vibrant entrepreneurial spirit that encourages collaboration even amongst similar industries that brings out the best in everyone. People work together for the good of the community and as a community bank that aligns with our mission as well.
What are some of your favorite things to do when you are not working?
Not working? Todd would say she is always working. However, I do enjoy cooking and most recently we have taken to collecting wines. A perfect evening is a warm evening by the outdoor fire, great grilled meal, and a good wine shared with family or friends. You could find us walking our 2-year-old extremely spoiled golden retriever Tucker or just me chasing a Peloton challenge. When COVID lifts, we will be traveling.
Learn more about BCT The Community Bank on their website here.