What can be said about an associate who came to work for Heartland Bank with nearly 20 years-of-service in a different business sector? We are fortunate to have her! Andrea Eckhardt simply knows a good thing when she sees it.
“I joined Heartland Bank after a 20-year career in non-profit management and community services. From my observations, Heartland Bank operates similarly to a community service organization in that we care about the well-being of the communities we serve, and we strongly value our associates and company culture.” This is why she made a career change, and it speaks volumes to the culture that Heartland has worked so diligently to achieve.
Bringing that experience to Heartland was a definite win for the bank, and Andrea’s growth within her department resonates across her job functions as she strives to meet the goals and demands of a strategically developing community bank. “In 2016, I joined Heartland Bank as a Project Management Specialist.” She has earned an officer promotion along with a recent title change. “As Senior Project Manager, I work to accomplish Heartland Bank project initiatives by planning, coordinating, and tracking projects across different divisions of the bank. I am also responsible for developing and leading other members of the Project Management team to achieve high quality project outcomes.”
As senior project manager, Andrea has a unique challenge of charting an unmapped course at the bank. Not only was she the first project management professional hired at Heartland, she will now be the first senior leader of her growing team. “Since 2016, the Distribution Strategies’ Project Management team has grown from a group of one to a group of three! And we may continue to grow! My main goal for 2021 is to unify the project managers and help structure the project management process across the growing team to ensure consistency and efficiency in the projects we manage for the bank.”
In her first few years at the bank, Andrea has made several significant contributions to the quality of work-life for many associates. “While I am proud of each project I completed, I am most proud of my first assigned project which was the WireXchange implementation. At that time in 2016, several associates across different divisions of the bank requested a more structured project management process to help them complete project action items while also performing day-to-day job functions. Associates shared with me that prior to the establishment of the Distribution Strategies’ Project Management Team, some projects were unorganized and unmanageable. With WireXchange, I wanted to help introduce a more structured process. At the end of the project, several of those same associates shared with me they felt Distribution Strategies brought value and organization to the effort. I am proud to have been the assigned project manager that helped introduce a more manageable process for an initiative that crossed several departments of the bank.”
One small secret to her success was taking advantage of the Principles of Banking class offered by the bank and taught onsite. Any associate can take this course, and those who have attended in the past leave with fond memories of meeting co-workers and interacting with some of the bank’s senior leaders. Andrea added, " Enroll in Principles of Banking! It is an excellent class that provides a needed understanding of the bank at large as well as individual departments.”
She does have a few other secrets, and by secrets this just means her two boys who are proudly part of her homelife. She is so busy at work that she rarely gets the chance to share pictures and stories of them. “I am a proud mother of two boys (Levi-12, and Alec-8). When not working at Heartland Bank, I can be found getting Levi and Alec to Taekwondo classes, baseball games, rock-climbing classes, or to the acting studio! During my previous non-profit career, I worked with early literacy intervention programs to help students in under-resourced communities gain foundational reading skills needed to catch up academically with their peers. Likewise, I have tried to introduce a love of reading and a strong literacy foundation to my boys. I love to read, and I have enjoyed putting together a big library of books at home for my sons. Oftentimes, they can be found curled up with a good book at home, and that makes me happy!”
Associates like Andrea are valuable assets at Heartland Bank. With a cohesive network of dedicated professionals like her working collaboratively on integrated teams, Heartland Bank is well-positioned for growth and evolution into the future. If you’d like to join a team like Andrea’s that is committed to not only their coworkers, but also the community, check out the Careers page on Heartland.Bank for the latest open positions.