2022 NEA Women in Business: Sandy Starnes

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 497 views 

Sandy Starnes
Senior vice president/marketing director
Citizens Bank
Residence Batesville
Education Bachelor’s degree in business from Arkansas State University; graduate of Barrett School of Banking

What was your dream job and why?

An economic developer. There is magic in bringing prosperity to communities and watching them grow into new life.

What has been the most fulfilling moment of your career so far?

In 2015, I had the honor to launch Citizens Bank’s first formalized leadership program, arming growing leaders with the education, development, guidance and experiences needed to be successful in their futures. Since then, the EDGE program has served more than 40 leaders in its six-year legacy. The mentorship and empowerment cultivated in this program has been the most rewarding work of my career.

What character traits do you feel have benefited you in your success?

Empathy and creativity. Each of these traits are centered around perspective. Having the instinct to understand how an action, situation or moment feels from another person’s perspective helps me think faster, communicate clearer and develop more creative problem-solving skills to meet multiple needs.

How do you spend your time away from work? What are your hobbies?

Time away from work is with my family. I have a son who loves to learn and explore. We spend a lot of our time traveling to parks, zoos, and museums in search of our next adventure.

What advice would you give young women who are at the beginning of their careers?

Raise your hand and take your time. It is not a race, slow down and take advantage of opportunities that push you out of your comfort zone. You may be surprised in what you find yourself most passionate about.

Can you share how COVID impacted your business or organization?

Citizens Bank’s mission is people first. During the events of COVID-19, I witnessed our teams take this call to new lengths, creating a culture of empathy and empowerment. We became stronger together and rallied to provide the benefits of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to our neighbors as quickly as possible. Citizens was proud to be one of the first community banks to deliver the funds to small businesses.

What’s the last good book you read?

I recently re-read “Monday Morning Leadership,” by David Cottrell with a team of leaders. I revisit it about once a year and make notes in the margins. It is enlightening to see how much perspective can change in a year or two.

What’s your favorite app at the moment?

Apple Podcasts. Mostly consumed by non-fiction, I listen to everything from stories of weird history with my son to true crimes series on long trips.