Melissa Miller, marketing manager and assistant vice president at F&M Trust, joined the Chambersburg-based bank’s marketing department shortly after graduating college.
Miller has since grown her craft alongside her employer for over a decade and attributes her success to the many facets of the company she has seen as a marketer for a bank.
Miller spoke to the Central Penn Business Journal about F&M Trust’s regional headquarters in Harrisburg that opened this month, what has kept her at the company and how she continues to learn in her role.
CPBJ: How has working at F&M Trust for the majority of your career affected how you grew as a marketing professional?
Miller: The longevity of my career in the same industry and with the same organization has allowed me to continually perfect the art and learn the science of marketing financial services. With experience came a deeper understanding of the industry and valuable legacy knowledge of the organization.
Paired with an intimate knowledge of the products and services offered by the bank, the sales process for each, and the bank’s competitive advantages, it has given me the ability to progress and be more effective in marketing financial services.
In addition, marketers, especially bank marketers, wear a lot of different hats requiring a higher variety of tasks performed under the marketing function.
That requirement has forced me to gain a more diverse skill set in the field to be effective in my position, placing me in a favorable place on the spectrum between generalist and specialist.
It has allowed me to see a bigger picture, understand how to integrate marketing strategy and become a more well-rounded and effective marketing professional.
CPBJ: What marketing initiatives would you say you have been particularly proud of and why?
Miller: There is so much to be proud of, and all that there is to be proud of is a result of a high level of collaboration within the organization and some excellent outside partners whom we consider extensions of our department.
I am particularly proud of campaigns and activities that are different. Ones that are a little unexpected, show our evolution as an organization and have a heightened level of creativity.
CPBJ: What has it been like for you to move from marketing officer to assistant vice
president, marketing manager over the last four years?
Miller: It’s interesting because the title change followed behind a gradual and continual growth in core responsibilities. At first it was a title change that better aligned with my role in the organization. Looking back through the time since that promotion, I believe it is more accurately described as a pivotal point in my career. Intentional or not, I experienced increased expectations from colleagues and leadership and in turn, felt myself grow and rise to those expectations.
CPBJ: How has your leadership style changed in that time?
Miller: Accordingly, that time most certainly had a direct impact on my leadership style. I believe that I have always exhibited a high level of supportive behavior and execution. While that has not changed, I believe it has been complimented by a growth in directive behavior to include a more motivational, strategic and visionary style.
CPBJ: How were you involved with the recent opening of F&M Trust’s regional headquarters in Harrisburg? What kind of a push did that take from the marketing department?
Miller: The addition of a regional headquarters, a physical location in the Capital Region, has been part of the bank’s strategy for several years. The bank’s marketing department has certainly played a large role to support that strategy. The Capital Region is a market the bank was already doing business in and therefore has been building presence in through marketing and advertising strategy.
The marketing department and our sales team have worked to put F&M Trust on the proverbial map long before being on the literal map. In addition to advertising and sales efforts in the Capital Region, marketing has also helped to facilitate relationships with community partners and support for non-profit organizations in the area.
An important component in the value of community banking and one that the bank takes very seriously.
CPBJ: What has made it possible for you to stay at F&M Trust as long as you have when it’s so common to change jobs early in one’s career?
Miller: A little initiative and a lot of opportunity. The answer has much less to do with me and everything to do with the organization. Working for an organization that is growing and evolving has provided a continual opportunity for growth. An organization that is always in motion has set the stage for a career also always in motion.
I have never found myself against a ceiling to break through but rather, in an environment where personal and professional development is supported and training opportunities both internal and external, formal and informal are plentiful. These factors contribute to a high level of job satisfaction and have fostered a continuous progression in my career. I didn’t need to change employers to experience any of those things, so I didn’t.
I am fortunate to have found myself with F&M Trust early in my career.