A year ago today, the Girl Banker blog officially launched! This past year has taught me a lot about persistence, resilience, and keeping the main thing, the main thing. RESILIENCE | Initially the blog was met with a large amount of support from who mattered most: women in banking. However, I had my fair amount of critics (all were non bankers) and I came really close to folding up shop about a month after I launched. Thankfully, I was reminded by my husband that I didn't need validation from anyone to keep moving forward. He said there would be risk involved with putting myself out there and that naysayers should be expected. However, if the content from the blog made a difference in one person's life, then it was all worth it. He was so right. Over the last year, I was fortunate enough to travel to Colorado, Maryland, Texas, and Nebraska to represent Grand Savings Bank and/or advocate for women in banking through the Girl Banker platform. While I have a long way to go in terms of reach, the blog has followers from South Dakota to Florida, and even a few in Canada! I'm thankful I didn't fold up shop and I'm even more thankful to have had the experiences I've had this past year that came my way as a direct result of the Girl Banker blog. I still get criticism from time to time, most often pertaining to the name of the blog, but my skin is thicker and I have to remember who I am doing this for and why. PERSISTENCE | Sometimes keeping this gig going becomes a heavy load. My number one priority (beyond my family of course) is serving as Chief Marketing Officer of Grand Savings Bank. My team, boss included, has been incredibly supportive of this venture and I wouldn't be able to do what I do without their buy in and support. There have been times that I have questioned whether I keep the blog going or worry that it will require too much of me. However, what I have found is that it's a stress reliever. Some of my best articles have been written during times when I needed to decompress. I also get the most amazing messages from girl bankers all over country, telling me their own stories and showing appreciation for my advocacy. Nevertheless, I have persisted. KEEP THE MAIN THING, THE MAIN THING | When I first launched, I was fearful that it would be a flop. What if no one takes me seriously? What if I'm made fun of? But what if it affects one career in a positive way? What if it sparks the interest of one young girl to consider banking as a career? From the get go, I have disclosed that I am not an expert on the topic of women in banking, or lack there of, but instead, just wanted to start a conversation and see where it went. I have been blown away by how thirsty women in this industry are for even just a discussion on this topic! There are women breaking ceilings in this industry daily and their stories need to be told. There are women facing adversity, struggling to move up, struggling to negotiate salaries, frustrated with being the only woman in loan committee, and they all want to know they aren't alone. These women want seats at the table because they are strong, capable, competent, and talented bankers who deserve it. My hope is that this blog and the Girl Banker platform can continue to highlight women all over the country that are paving the way for the rest of us. I hope that topics affecting women in the banking industry can continue to be discussed and that this blog can serve as a network of sorts to connect all of us together. My main thing is advocating women in banking and irregardless of criticism, I'm going to keep making that my main thing. SIDE BAR | I want to thank a few people in this post because if it wasn't for them, this blog wouldn't have ever happened! Allyson Twiggs Dyer: Allyson, I'm forever grateful for your friendship, coaching, and training over the last several years. You are the one who urged and pushed me to do this blog and then helped me with every step along the way. You taught me everything I know about personal branding and have steered me through the murky waters of criticism and internet trolls and remind me daily of why the future is female! Thank you for everything! Colt Bartholomew: I'm sure it's exhausting being married to me, but I am grateful for you keeping me lifted up on the reg. You are my number one cheerleader. My Girl Banker Tribe: You all know who you are and you are an inspiration. Keep up the good fight!