New president of TFNB Your Bank For Life hopes to inspire more women to seek careers in banking
WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A woman who has dedicated her professional life to community banking has been promoted to president, becoming one of the first female leaders of a financial institution in Central Texas.
Christy De Leon, a 14-year employee at TFNB Your Bank for Life, was promoted from executive vice president and chief financial officer to president and CFO.
“It means a lot,” De Leon said. “For the bank to be 133 years old, and to be in a leadership position of an organization that’s 133 years old, founded in 1889, I don’t take that lightly. "
De Leon’s promotion is particularly noteworthy as she becomes one of the few female leaders, locally, in the male dominated industry.
“I’m very humbled and honored and I’ve never felt that being a woman was anything that held me back,” De Leon said.
“My family, my mom, my grandmothers, aunts, lots of women in my family, have been huge role models for me and things that they taught me were, you know, it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman. You get out there and you work hard, and you do what has to be done and you do it with integrity and you do it in a way that helps others.”
De Leon is no stranger to hard work or adversity. She was raised on a cattle ranch in the North Texas town of Bellevue, just outside Wichita Falls.
Surrounded by a life in agriculture, the bank president didn’t grow up dreaming of a career in banking but says the many things she learned ranching have helped her prepare for today.
“There have just been so many teachable moments and wonderful characteristics that my mom and dad - and that farming and ranching background - have instilled in me,” she said.
After high school graduation in 1999, De Leon attended Texas A&M, where she graduated with both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from the Mays Business School.
As a certified public accountant, she first worked as an external auditor for TFNB Your Bank for Life before being hired on full time in 2008 as an internal auditor.
De Leon said there was always something special about her former client.
“I tell everybody here that I was family at the bank before they even hired me,” she smiled.
In 2013, De Leon was promoted to executive vice president and CFO.
She’s climbed the ladder at the bank and shattered glass ceilings while remaining a devoted wife and mother to two kids, ages 10 and 12.
De Leon admits being a working mother is hard but credits her family, including her husband, her parents, and in-laws, for keeping the train on the tracks.
The bank executive says her family is always top of mind.
“Being in professional setting and having a full-time job as a mom, I work at balancing the work life balance, the family, and the career,” she said. “It can be a challenge at times but that old saying - ‘it takes a village’ - that’s 100 percent true.”
De Leon hopes her journey to the top inspires the next generation of women in banking.
“It’s extremely important to be to be a role model for others, for young women or anybody from a different background to know that it doesn’t matter where you come from. It doesn’t matter how you’re labeled,” she said.
“If you set your mind to something, be who you are, work hard, have good character, take care of others, set your mind to it, it can happen. Anything is possible.”
De Leon’s community and professional involvement includes Council for Life Central Texas Board Member and Advocacy Chair, Journey Christian Community, Crawford Youth Basketball Association, TFNB Your Bank for Life Charity Champions & Learners for Life, Texas Bankers’ Association Executive Management Panelist and Greater Waco Chamber Leadership Waco Graduate & Planning Committee.
De Leon moves into the position held for many years by David Littlewood, who is being promoted to Chairman and CEO.
Littlewood said De Leon was the perfect choice to lead the bank with a storied past and fast-growing future.
“Christy’s intellect, character and commitment to excellence has been an immeasurable attribute to the bank’s growth and success,” Littlewood said.
Both Littlewood’s position and De Leon’s are held at both the bank and holding company levels.
Mike Beard will serve as chairman emeritus and be director of both entities while continuing his role as a valued shareholder.
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