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Monday, May 27, 2024

Kathy Schoettlin

Education: Mater Dei High School; Bachelor of Science in interpersonal communications and public relations, University of Southern Indiana

Resume: Director of Public Relations, Disaster Service and Volunteer Relations, American Red Cross, Southwest Indiana Chapter; Chief Cultural Officer, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Director of Marketing and Communications, Director of Public Relations, (presently) Executive Vice President and Chief Communications, Culture and Social Responsibility Officer, Old National Bank (2005-Present)

Hometown: Evansville

Navigating crises with the American Red Cross shaped Kathy Schoettlin’s career path, but she never thought her passion for helping people would lead her to the banking industry. She credits her success to a positive outlook, solid support system, and her own pride in, through her employers, impacting the community.

Evansville Business: Describe your transition from the Red Cross to Old National Bank.

Kathy Schoettlin: I would never have guessed I would start my career in a nonprofit and transition to a bank. At the Red Cross, I did multiple things for the local chapter and was in charge of disaster relief for Indiana. I loved the job and the organization, but responding to disasters 24/7 became mentally and emotionally exhausting. I got a call from a headhunter at Old National Bank. I told then-CEO Bob Jones, “I don’t know much about banking.” He said, “I want you to wake up every day and worry about the communities we serve.” I told him, “Well, I already do that.” Knowing I would have additional resources because this organization supports the community so significantly excited me.

EB: How have you managed to impact the community in multi-faceted ways?

KS: I had tremendous people surrounding and helping me throughout my career. When I started at Old National Bank, I felt that I had a seat at the table. Having that support at home was important, too. I try to be intentional about staying positive. I’m also driven by culture. I can’t imagine working for an organization I don’t feel good about and that doesn’t share my values and beliefs.

Old National Bank has a foundation and a significant charitable giving program. You meet with nonprofits making a difference in the communities we serve, hear their stories, and support them. Nonprofits come in and ask for advice or get thoughts. I love to think creatively: “Have you thought about this?” or “If we can’t help financially, we can help with volunteers.”

I have a passion for youth-serving organizations. I was a Big for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Indiana for 15 years. I’m also on the boards of Junior Achievement of Southwestern Indiana, Indiana Youth Institute, and Friends of Mental Health. I’m involved in activities at local high schools. We need to continue to support and nurture our young people and provide them with opportunities.

 EB: How did you navigate the aftermath of the April 10 fatal shooting at ONB’s Downtown Louisville, Kentucky, branch?

KS: The tragedy on April 10 was beyond devastating. As soon as we learned what was unfolding, members of our leadership team immediately headed to Louisville. Our CEO, Jim Ryan, was the first there on the scene and from the onset displayed incredible leadership. In the days that followed, our entire organization locked arms, embraced each other, and did our best to care for all those who were suffering and impacted. That embrace will remain constant.

We have a mantra, “Better Together.” That was the theme as we became a new organization during the merger with First Midwest Bank in Chicago, Illinois. We are still deeply mourning those we lost and will do all that we can to continue to honor and memorialize them and provide love, care, and support to those directly impacted by the tragedy and each other.

I was with the Red Cross at age 22 when the C-130 plane crashed in Evansville in 1992. On 9/11, part of my job was disaster services, and we responded locally and nationally. Locally, we responded to some devastating disasters, but nothing compared to or prepared me for April 10. There is no playbook. There is no time to think or focus on yourself. You have to figure it out for the people impacted – that is what’s most important.

 EB: What is your advice for young people joining the workforce?

 KS: Be authentic. If you follow your passion and work hard, typically the money will follow. If you’re looking at making a jump, ask some questions about their culture and values.

Relationships are critical — with clients, community members, and team members. Team member engagement and culture drive performance, ultimately. The small things matter. It’s not very hard to be kind — kindness counts.

Most importantly, do not forget to laugh and have fun.

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