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PYSK: Jennifer Thoma

Assistant Vice President, Audit, Asst. Security and BSA Compliance

AGE: 32

JOB DESCRIPTION: As you can tell by my title, I really do a little bit of everything, including fraud investigations; research; prevention, efficiency and compliance audits; branch security reviews, including physical security of the people and assets; and anti-money-laundering and anti-terrorist financing compliance assurance. All in all, I make sure everyone is following the rules.

YEARS LIVED IN COLUMBIA: I live on the west side of the Missouri River—technically Boonville but really in the middle of nowhere.

ORIGINAL HOMETOWN: Holland, Mich. I lived there until high school, when we moved to Boonville.

EDUCATION: Graduate of Boonville High School, 1992. Bachelor’s degree in economics and finance from Central Missouri State University (now University of Central Missouri), 1995. Master’s degree in business administration from Columbia College, 2003.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: I am a member of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce. I have been involved with Women’s Network in the past as a committee chair and will be on the steering committee starting in July. I was one of the founding co-chairs of Emerging Professionals in Columbia (EPIC); we just finished our first year with much success. I am the treasurer on the board of directors for Missouri Court Appointed Special Advocates, a statewide organization supporting local CASA programs that recruit and train volunteers to speak for abused and neglected children in family court. I also have been involved on a smaller level with programs such as the March of Dimes, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the United Way.

PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: I have been at Boone County National Bank for nine years, starting out as an assistant branch manager and working up to auditor and beyond. Prior to working for the bank, I was an operations manager at Cloth World and a mutual funds representative at DST Systems in Kansas City.

A COLUMBIA BUSINESSPERSON I ADMIRE: I have been really impressed with the women leaders of the community. They are so encouraging of younger women, and so many have really taken me under their wing. The most fundamental person to my development is Vicki Dunscombe, here at BCNB. The respect and admiration she has from the whole community are amazing to me. As my manager, she has been critical to my growth. Her encouragement and the way she cares for her employees and co-workers are really beyond words.

WHY I’M PASSIONATE ABOUT MY JOB: I like to say that I am fighting terrorism on the home front. And although that’s a little tongue in cheek, I do like to think of myself as a sort of law-enforcement assistant by working to investigate and deter fraud against the bank and its customers. In fact, I probably get a little too excited when we catch a bad guy.

IF I WEREN’T DOING THIS FOR A LIVING: My dream is to change the world—in a more proactive way than my current position. I would love to be involved in a project that helps underprivileged children break the cycle of poverty and change the circumstances in their lives by giving them the hope, love and encouragement they need to become what they dream about—something like Oprah’s Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa or an orphanage or a foundation to care for sick and abandoned children around the world.

BIGGEST CAREER OBSTACLE I’VE OVERCOME: I think my biggest obstacle was my belief in myself. BCNB is such a great organization; they have given me every opportunity I needed to develop confidence in my position, leadership skills and interpersonal skills. It took a lot of work for me to get to the place where I felt like a leader and knew that my opinion and expertise were valuable and worth speaking up for.

WHAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THIS PROFESSION: It’s pretty tough being the auditor. In general, people are pretty guarded around you, and you often hear them groan when you come in, and they say things like “What do you want this time?” I’ve worked really hard to build a good relationship with the other employees so that they’re not always afraid they’re going to get in trouble when I’m around. This is why I like to be involved in the community; after looking at spreadsheets and research all day and interacting with people who groan when you visit them, it’s nice to get outside the bank and work with people who like you!

WHAT I DO FOR FUN: Everything I do is fun! Having fun is one of my strongest philosophies. I like to travel and go on adventures. I also like to scrapbook and be creative and crafty. I really just like to hang out and laugh with my friends.

FAMILY: My husband, Chris, and I have been married for about 12 years. He works for Thoma’s Plant Basket, a family business in the wholesale floral industry. We have a great home that we built ourselves in Cooper County on 60 acres. We don’t have any little ones yet, but we are on the waiting list for an adoption from China and can hardly wait!

FAVORITE PLACE IN COLUMBIA: I love a long bike ride or a run on the Katy Trail—especially in the Eagle Bluffs area.

ACCOMPLISHMENT I’M MOST PROUD OF: I completed a marathon in 2004. Several years before, I had heard a speaker discussing their miserable quest to complete a marathon; they talked in depth about the pain and suffering involved. I told myself I would never do that. I’ve learned since then that every time I have said I would never do something, I usually end up doing it. Also in November 2006 I started a business of my own with Arbonne International, a health and wellness company promoting skin-care and nutrition products.

MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW THAT: There’s not much that people don’t know about me. I’m an open book—a tell-all novel, really.

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