In today’s evolving competitive business environment, it’s critical that organizations not only consider but embrace the mega trends of changing demographics, consumerization and collaboration into their business and people strategies. Easy to say, hard to do. The Bank of Tampa is leading in this space and the pay offs are huge. I recently spent time with their Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) John Roy, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Joel Smith and VP, Commercial Relationship Manager Amanda Gilroy to learn more about how they’re doing this.


Audrey McGuckin – Joel, The CMO sits in an extremely unique situation with the ability drive the social agenda within an organization. Tell me about your role at The Bank of Tampa and the the shared agenda between Marketing, HR and the business.

Joel Smith – Our team champions The Bank of Tampa’s brand and it’s the Bank’s culture that shapes that brand. A culture in context of business strategy and a culture with purpose.That’s why it’s so important that our agenda is shared by Marketing, HR, sales, operations…really every single piece of the Bank. We’ve built a truly special culture over the last 33 years that is the core at everything we do and it bleeds into our interactions with our clients and the communities we serve—whether it’s through doing business with those clients, striving to be an integral part of those communities, or through groups such as Women Connected where our goal is to create an opportunity for professionals to connect with one another.

Audrey McGuckin – Joel, can you give me an example of how customer sentiment shapes strategy and culture at The Bank Of Tampa?

Joel Smith – Absolutely. We recently surveyed asking individuals a variety of questions around what factors would lead you to consider banking with a specific financial institution. People had a variety of answers such as good rates, online access, products that my business needs, etc. One of the most telling ones, 92.54% said having a physical location near them greatly factored into them considering banking with a specific financial institution.


Audrey McGuckin – John, as the CHRO at the Bank of Tampa. Tell us about how you’re leading on HR strategies that support the Bank’s culture and brand?

John Roy – The Bank’s “brand” is its people. How we demonstrate genuine concern for our clients, and provide the solutions that ensure their success, is our competitive advantage. Many banks are looking to do away with brick and mortar offices and reduce as much business as possible to Internet avenues…we are not. While we believe it is important to adopt and leverage technology as a service for our clients, those conveniences will never replace the human interaction that many clients desire. For business interactions that truly matter, people prefer to do business with people…not machines. To assist the Bank in achieving our mission of superior client service, the HR team will continue to focus on training and development that supports advancement of leadership skills, emotional intelligence, and customer service.


Audrey McGuckin – Amanda, both Joel and John talked about Women Connected…from your perspective as a female business executive what’s special about The Bank Of Tampa?

Amanda Gilroy – – I joined the Bank two years ago, because I saw an opportunity to help both my clients in business and also be an integral part of developing the business community at large. That was an intersection that was very appealing to me. I wanted to be empowered to contribute and be my best self in the workplace and in the community and The Bank of Tampa offered me this.

Audrey McGuckin – Why do you stay at the bank Amanda?

Amanda Gilroy – I love what I do. There hasn’t been a day I’ve woken and thought “ughh I have to go to work” everyone here is genuine and it feels like friends and family. This has a significant impact on how we do business and our success. This culture translates directly into the customer experience. It’s very apparent to our clients that this is how we operate and they feel the difference between us and other banks and that’s critically important to how we develop our relationships with our customers.

Joel Smith – When Amanda says you truly make friends, this directly translates into how this works with our clients. We are truly building relationships and not transactional sales. Every employee is encouraged and expected to build relationships with our clients and communities whether you’re in a client facing role or not. It’s why our clients love being clients and why our employees love being employees.


Audrey McGuckin – Amanda, I was fascinated to learn about the work that you and your colleague Cecile Bare are leading at The Bank of Tampa through its Women Connected initiative in the community. Can you tell us about the genesis for this initiative?

Amanda Gilroy – It started about seven years ago by one of our female employees. She wanted to connect women business leaders and create a forum for women to make the connections they need and it evolved into a learning group. Today, we hold numerous events every year.

Joel Smith – The idea was to provide educational and networking opportunities throughout the Tampa Bay area. We have so many connections within the communities we serve that we wanted to find yet another way to give back to those we’ve established relationships with. The Bank serves a wide range of professionals, ones that may not meet during the course of their every day. But with Women Connected, we hope to provide that vehicle for them.

Audrey McGuckin – Why women, Amanda?

Amanda – If we look at the history of banking and rewind, say, 50 years, it was a predominately male-dominated industry. But today, there are more women in predominate roles throughout banking—executives, relationship managers, operations leaders, etc. It’s been a natural evolution and one the Bank is very aware of. We hope to do our best to create an environment for those professionals that allows them to make connections and grow their own networks.

Audrey – What have you heard from the women who participate in this forum? What’s the feedback?

Amanda – The most predominate feedback we get is that they always learn something or meet someone they didn’t know. We are very intentional and thoughtful about this—we take our role as connectors seriously. More often than not the first thing they ask us after an event is “when is the next one?” That makes us feel that we’re accomplishing our goal.

Joel Smith – We take being a “community” bank very seriously and Women Connected is another way we can support the communities we live and work in. We love hearing that two individuals met at one of our events and made a true connection. 

This is how you listen to customer sentiment to shape your strategy. This is how you nurture culture in the context of your strategy. This is how talent is integrated into the whole eco system. This is how you collaborate inside a firm. The Bank of Tampa is a fine example of this.

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Audrey McGuckin consults with top CEOs and HR Executives to solve their toughest and most complex people and leadership challenges. To connect with Audrey on how she can assist you and your organization, visit our contact page or message her directly at