Changemaker Spotlight – Johnette Mitchell

Changemaker Spotlight October 2023 Edition

Welcome to our inaugural Changemaker Spotlight series, where we recognize and celebrate employees who are making a positive impact through community outreach.

First Mid is proud to highlight Johnette Mitchell, VP, Treasury Management Relationship Manager II, located in Decatur, IL. Johnette spearheads our monthly Winedown Wednesdaze event series for minority-owned businesses in Decatur.

What is your role at First Mid and how does it connect to your community outreach efforts?
As a Treasury Management Relationship Manager, my primary responsibility is to build and maintain strong relationships with new and existing business customers and help them find financial solutions to help them be successful now and in the future.

My first community outreach initiative focuses on building relationships with both our non-profit and for-profit partners on ways First Mid can provide financial education, support, and mentoring to those underserved in our community. Team Decatur conducted over twelve financial education classes last year.

My second initiative is “Winedown Wednesdaze”, which spotlights local minority businesses each month as a part of our ongoing community development and outreach initiative. We stand united with our three local chambers on a common vision and goal. The vision is to help bring awareness about local minority businesses in the community, giving us an opportunity to build trustworthy relationships with the business owners, and allowing us to be a resource to help support their business needs so they can thrive. The goal is to make Decatur a great, thriving, and safe city, not only for us but for generations to come. We successfully held twelve Winedown events in 2023.

Are there any specific organizations or causes you’re passionate about supporting, and why?

  • I serve on the Board for Boys and Girls Club of Decatur. BGC serves as a safe haven for underserved children across the community.
  • I serve as a partner with city leadership on an Economic Disparities Workshop, which looks for strategic ways to improve the city of Decatur and provide solutions for the economic disparities that impact our community.
  • I serve as a member and partner to all three local chambers to find out the needs of small business owners and offer solutions to make sure they are successful.

What impact have your community outreach efforts had on the local community or organizations you’ve been supporting?
One person can make a difference, but a team can make change. Shoutout to my Decatur Team!

We are changing the perception of how an entire community of underserved people perceive financial institutions. What was once a perception of fear, intimidation, or lack of trust in banks is slowly developing into positive relationships where people feel empowered and supported, and where trust and respect are being earned. The voices of the people we serve are spreading the word across the community that First Mid is making a difference here.

We are creating a brand that says, “We as a financial institution are here to serve ALL people.”

Can you share any advice or tips for others who may want to get involved in similar initiatives?

  • Be passionate. The desire to serve must come from your heart.
  • Be sincere. Building trust is key. It takes time, so be patient.
  • Be okay with being uncomfortable. There are many dimensions of diversity beyond race and gender. Embrace them all and trust you will grow in the process.
  • Be careful with what you say and how you say it. Communication and consistency are important. Know your audience so you do not offend. You may only get one opportunity to get it right. Respect is earned over time, so do what you say you are going to do. Do not make promises you cannot keep.
  • Ask lots of questions. Never assume you know what the needs are. Your assumption may be wrong.
  • Be empathetic. Learn to walk in their shoes and listen to their story.
  • Know there is no ”I“ in change. It takes teamwork.
  • Network! Network! Network! Listen and learn from the best in your community.
  • Have fun. Bring your JOY and SMILE to the table!

What do you envision for the future of your community outreach efforts, and do you have any upcoming projects or goals you’d like to share?

  • We will continue our partnership with local small business owners with ongoing financial education platforms and collaborations to support their success.
  • We will elevate Winedown Wednesdaze in 2024 – the goal is to double our events now that we have a positive following. 24 new minority businesses is the goal.
  • We will partner with the Richland Enrich program this fall to create a financial education curriculum for their young entrepreneurs.

Congratulations, Johnette! We are honored to showcase the impact you have on the Decatur community. First Mid is proud to support your community outreach efforts.