My Unconventional Journey into Banking

professional headshot image of Kelsey Hudson

Kelsey Hudson, VP – Commercial Banking Officer, shared her story with the Wisconsin Bankers Association.
My Unconventional Journey into Banking
By: Kelsey Hudson
In the heart of rural southwest Wisconsin, my journey into the world of banking began with humble origins. Unbeknownst to me at the time, this journey would take me through twists, turns, and unexpected opportunities that would ultimately shape my career into something I am immensely proud of. Today, I would like to share my story, my path from a small-town resident to a professional in the banking industry, and the role that the Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA), specifically Building Our Leaders of Tomorrow (BOLT), played in this inspiring transformation.
About eight years ago, my journey had an uncertain beginning. I attended college for three years but found myself at a crossroads, unsure of what I would do with my degree. Fueled by the desire to chart my own path, I made a bold decision to drop out of college. It was a leap of faith, one that led me into the unknown, but little did I know that it would eventually bring me to the world of banking.
My first job in banking was as a humble teller. This role taught me the basics of finance, customer service, and the importance of trust in the industry. As I developed my skills, I began to explore different positions within the bank. I discovered that my passion for banking extended far beyond counting money. I started in lending as an agricultural lender, working in niche communities of Amish and Mennonite. I found that every role had its unique challenges and opportunities, each contributing to my growth and understanding of the industry.
As my career in banking evolved and life changes arose, I made the decision to relocate myself and my two young daughters to a larger market in pursuit of my dream career as a commercial banker. It was a bold move, as a single mom moving hours from my family and friends. However, one that I knew was essential to continue my personal and professional growth and give my daughters the life they deserved. This transition was one of the most difficult I have faced but the most rewarding. My new home introduced me to a broader spectrum of clients, challenges, and opportunities, reaffirming my passion for the field.
In my journey, one of the pivotal turning points was my involvement in the Wisconsin Bankers Association’s program, BOLT (Building our Leaders of Tomorrow). This remarkable initiative not only introduced me to a network of like-minded professionals but also fostered leadership qualities within me. My network has helped me grow in many ways, but the most impactful was forming meaningful relationships with other bankers. Talking with someone in the same field and being able to have collaborative conversations is priceless to me. Fostering my leadership skills has pushed me to have a greater understanding of people and has inspired me to become a leader. BOLT was a catalyst for personal and professional growth, providing me with the tools and support to excel in my career.
Today, over seven years into my banking career, I’m grateful to work for One Community Bank whose values mirror mine. OCB’s mission is to serve clients, support colleagues and invest in communities. OCB is also all about “Feel Good Banking”, and I aim to deliver that experience with all the wonderful clients I work with. I couldn’t be happier or more proud of everything I have accomplished. From a college dropout unsure of her future to a versatile banking professional, I’ve come a long way. The journey wasn’t a straight line, but that’s what made it so remarkable. It’s a testament to the power of determination, adaptability, and seizing opportunities as they arise.
My unconventional journey into banking reflects the essence of growth and resilience. It’s a story which demonstrates that, regardless of where you start, with dedication, hard work, and the right support (BOLT), you can find your path to a successful career. My journey is far from over, and I’m excited to see what the future holds. In the ever-evolving world of banking, the opportunities are endless, and I’m ready to embrace them all.
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