1st Source Bank recently announced that Shannon Franko, manager of their Calumet North location in Valparaiso, graduated from South Shore Leadership Center’s Leadership Northwest Indiana Program.
Franko, a longtime Valparaiso resident, is originally from Hobart, Indiana. After graduating from Purdue University, Franko has worked in banking and finance for her entire career, and has been with 1st Source Bank for around two and a half years.
“I really like it here at 1st Source,” Franko said. “They’re just very dedicated to serving their customers. There’s a huge emphasis on customer service and the community as well. They really encourage all employees, at every level, to find an organization that they’re passionate about and donate hours.”
“We’re really involved with the United Way and things that are very near and dear to our hearts,” said Franko. “We’re really into improving the quality of life for our customers and our communities.”
1st Source Bank recommended Franko for Leadership Northwest Indiana which has existed in the Region since 1990. The goal of LNI is to -- expose a select group of current and emerging leaders to the issues and concerns that affect Northwest Indiana while celebrating its wealth of resources and assets.
The program spans nine months and the class would meet at least once per month to participate in a broad range of experiences that exposed participants to a view of the region that many would not have been able to otherwise. LNI seeks to open the region's leaders to all the tremendous assets and opportunities that Northwest Indiana has to offer.
“We visited a different place every month,” Franko said. “We went to Mittal Steel and the lakefront. There were different topics in different places and a bunch of different speakers. We would get to interview people and we had assignments to do. Every time I left a class I felt like it was such a great use of my time.”
“I’ll hear or meet someone out at a restaurant who’ll say, ‘well, I was LNI 24,’ and I’ll say ‘oh, I was LNI 39!’ so there’s a lot of connection there,” said Franko. “You feel like you’re involved in the community but then you’ll meet people who dedicate their lives to helping other people and just doing some wonderful things. It makes you so appreciative of their efforts and it motivated me to try and make a difference, and work a little harder to do what I can.”
Franko’s class featured professionals from all walks of life including CEO’s, activists, and educators.
“There was a really great mix of people there,” Franko said. “My biggest takeaway was that sometimes we’re in our own little world in Valpo and you get so focused on your own community that you don’t realize that the decisions we make here impact what goes on around the region. You can’t be isolated; you have to take everyone into consideration with decision making.”
“Seeing other areas was great as well. I’m not sure I’d ever been to Whiting, Indiana and that’s where we started one of the tours along the lakefront, which they have done so much work on. It is really, really lovely out there.”
The South Shore Leadership Center’s LNI program had a clear impact on Franko who, through 1st Source Bank, is greatly involved with the United Way and also sits on the Valparaiso Kiwanis Club Board of Directors.