In the Summer of 2007, I worked at a small ad agency in New York City when I received a call from today’s guest. At the time, he was the COO of Investors Savings Bank (which rebranded to Investors Bank in 2011) and called me to follow up on my resume, which a friend of mine had passed on to him. We had a great conversation for over an hour about me, the Bank, and the opportunity to work for him. He was looking for a Graphic Designer to join his Marketing Team. Everything he said was great, but it was one thing precisely which led me to accept his job offer.
At the end of our conversation, he asked me to join him to create something new, something significant. To help him build a new culture and create a legacy. No one had ever asked me to create a legacy in my career, let alone create a culture. I knew he was a different kind of leader with an opportunity for me like no other. Although I did not know it then, the next dozen years were going to life-changing. I accepted his offer, and looking back, it was one of those moments when you go with your gut and take a leap of faith. I mean, after all, I only knew him for an hour and knew virtually nothing of the Bank. It was one of the most significant changes in my career, and he became one of the most influential mentors and friends in my life.
A Significant Man
This week’s guest is Kevin Cummings, CEO and Chairman of Investors Bank, one of the largest regional banks headquartered in New Jersey. Kevin is not your typical bank executive. He is grateful, approachable, kind, and has a generous heart. It is not out of character to hear him, “How can I help?” Nor would it be strange to witness him volunteering at the St. John’s Food Pantry in Newark on Christmas Eve. With a blue-collar Jersey City work-ethic and a thirst for continuous learning, he has the unique ability to relate to all people on all levels.
One of the most important things I learned from Kevin over the years is how to lead by example. With all of the knowledge Kevin shared with me, the most significant thing was the one thing we never spoke about, but he exemplified daily. That was his ability to be humble regardless of his position or level of success. You will learn a lot from today’s interview with Kevin. I hope this conversation inspires you and leads you to challenge yourself to improve every day and get tomorrow off to a good start.
Some of the essential action items from today’s podcast are based on decades of experience. Kevin talks about some crucial things new employees to any corporate culture should focus on, but these items are relevant to everyone, regardless of the stage of life or career. These are action items for life, and if you ever get to meet Kevin, you will see how these simple things can begin to make a significant change in your life.
- Always be a continuous learner. You only need to commit 15 or 20 minutes a day to reading or learning a new skill. We can all find that kind of time. The most challenging thing is to be consistent.
- Be selfless in everything you do. Nothing builds relationships or character better than offering another your help. No matter how big or small your offering, it will always give you a feeling of purpose. Adopt the phrase, “Never let a teammate fail,” and you will find that over time, your teammates will never let you fail.
- Be a good listener. The most outstanding leaders speak less and listen more. You can be the most generous friend or mentor to another by just hearing them out. Take time to hear what others have said before responding. Sometimes the best answer is not to speak.
In this short interview, I think we have packed hours of advice and insight from which everyone can benefit. I can not thank Kevin enough for being on, and please send me any feedback or questions you may have for him to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great week, and remember, it doesn’t take a lot to get a good start. Thank you.