2 | HOMETOWN BANKER | HOMETOWNBANKER.ORG A WORD FROM PACB’S CHAIR By Lori Cestra LORI CESTRA - CHAIR OF PACB EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, ENTERPRISE BANK T his past year has been a time of immense self- reflection, presenting us the opportunity to be alone far more often than usual whilst standing still in a life that is constantly moving ahead. Like many of you, I previously spent most of my time at work rushing from meeting to meeting; concurrently, my time at home was spent driving from one of my children’s activities to the next. The majority of the quality time I had with my coworkers was spent passing by in the hallway and with my kids was in the car between practices. I never took enough time to stop and ask how someone’s day was going and forgot what it was like to sit and have dinner with my family. Despite a never-ending list of inconveniences the pandemic has brought upon us, being forced to slow down has caused me to recognize that I was not living my life before it to the fullest. I have been granted time to take a step back and think about self- care (personally and financially) and organizational wellness, two concepts that have never been enough of a priority to me. Instead of focusing on all of the negativity in the media that has come from 2020, I would like to instead focus on what we have learned and what can help us in the future. We need to start the new year with an optimistic mindset. Being positive and looking forward rather than backward does not mean you cannot recognize it has been a tough year f inancially for a lot of people. This fact is unavoidable, but tough times offer a new perspective. For example, most of our clients never thought about their relationship with their banker until this past year. If you were lucky enough to have built that connection pre-pandemic, you were relieved. If you did not cultivate such a rapport, this is now the time to do so. Reach out to your clients and discuss their current f inancial needs or your ideas for the future. There are many ways to help. Use this time to solidify those relationships. This year has also given many of us the chance to reflect on our employees by taking into consideration their emotional and mental wellbeing. There are many ways to cope with stress, a lot of which have turned out to be unhealthy. I have personally found myself researching fresh ideas on how to help better manage stress, and I plan on using these suggestions professionally in 2021. Regardless of our situations, we all can use help with increased financial and personal stressors; it is because of this that the risk of depression and anxiety are even more prevalent now than ever before. However, this means that the pandemic has provided us as a society the opportunity to better understand how to assist people who suffer with issues such as these, considering the vast majority (if not all) of people are connected to at least one person with poor mental health. You may even be that person yourself. Regardless, understanding is key. We need to build a more tolerant environment when it comes to mental health in order to provide solutions without passing judgment. Here at the bank, we have learned how important it is to provide assistance to our staff members so they can deal with the everyday stressors of life. Looking to 2021, I plan on putting this past year’s important life lessons to good use. More specif ically, I will begin by slowing down and recognizing that being able to see life in retrospect is a gift. Use this knowledge to make better decisions in the future. Cultivate your relationships and hold them close. Have empathy for others and help when necessary. Pay attention to what your friends, family, and coworkers need from you and use it to prosper in 2021. Most importantly, though, be kind and patient with yourself. Rebuilding from this past year will take time, so allow yourself room for error and imperfection. The path of moving forward is not always linear, but that does not take away from your overall progress. Life will return to normal, but it begins with that optimistic mindset.