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As women in banking, it is important that we lift each other up and celebrate each other’s accomplishments. The entire purpose of the Girl Banker blog is to do just that! The Girl Banker of the Week series serves as a way to highlight Girl Bankers everywhere by telling their stories and motivating and encouraging other women in banking. It also is a great way for women in banking to connect! Read below about this week’s Girl Banker of the Week!

Donna Townsell | Director of Investor Relations | Centennial Bank
My first introduction to this week’s Girl Banker of the Week was in 2016 at the Arkansas Bankers Association Women In Banking Conference when she sat on a panel with recently retired, Lisa Ray of Arvest Bank. As she answered questions from the audience about how she managed work, life, balance, and overcoming typical stigmas that come along with being a female in this industry, I immediately knew I would be seeing more of her at some point in my career. I was pleasantly surprised when I received an email from a fellow girl banker and fan of Donna, nominating her for Girl Banker of the Week. While we have only communicated via email and social media, I have a feeling I have a new friend and mentor! Here is Donna’s Girl Banker story!

Girl Banker Story
When Donna was 8 years old, she wanted to be a veterinarian. In high school, she shifted toward being an attorney.  (A girl can be whatever she wants to be, am I right?) She didn’t end up pursuing either one and according to Donna, never really decided what she wanted to be when she grew up. She graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a bachelor’s in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing but didn’t begin her career in banking until several years later. “I’m very fond of the motto, ‘bloom where you’re planted’ and I feel that my career is a testament to that,” Donna said. Immediately following college, she worked at R&G Sloane as a Customer Service Rep for three years and then Acxiom Corporation for eleven years.

Her girl banker story began in 2007 when she joined Conway, Arkansas based Centennial Bank as a project manager. And girls, let me tell you, Donna began to bloom! In 2009 she was promoted to Director of Corporate Efficiencies and managed Centennial’s initiative to lower their efficiency ratio from the 60’s to the 30’s.  By 2016, Donna was promoted to Director of Marketing and has since served on the Operations Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, Executive Committee, and M&A Committee. Earlier this week, it was announced that Donna was promoted, yet again to Director of Investor Relations for Centennial Bank and Home Bancshares, Inc., parent company of Centennial.

Donna has served as a mentor to many women in the industry throughout her career. She has had the opportunity to speak at the Arkansas State University Business Women’s Leadership Conference as well as the Arkansas Bankers Association Women In Banking Conference and participated in the University of Central Arkansas Young Business Women’s Conference. “I enjoyed the opportunity to interact with the college ladies and hear about their future plans and share with them my own experiences,” said Donna.

Donna and her adorable daughter, Riley.

In her spare time…
Donna is the proud single mom to her daughter, Riley, and miniature Schnauzer, Rosie. She has held various board positions over the years in Conway. She is a current member of the Weekday Childcare Committee for First United Methodist Church, serves as a board member for Faulkner Lifestyle Magazine, and is a Conway Area Leadership Institute graduate and Delta Zeta alum. Donna says that she hopes that if anyone had to sum her up in one word it would be “thoughtful.”

MOTIVATION | “Be the person your boss thinks of when he or she needs something done.”

Join me as we celebrate this week’s Girl Banker of the Week, Donna Townsell!