Foothills Bank Leader Jumps in Head-First, Empowering Other Women and Helping to Build the Community

Do you remember who encouraged you to fulfill your true potential? Who inspired you to become the best version of yourself? Often, we forget that success is not a one-person show; it takes a village to create a successful person. In Kari Reily’s case, her village consisted of strong, kind, and intelligent women.

“The women in my life have impacted me the most,” Kari said. “I was lucky enough to have some outstanding mentors along the way.”

One of the most influential women in Kari’s life has been her first mentor, Diane Hansberger, who hired Kari as an entry-level bank clerk in Yuma when she was only 18. Hansberger made a positive and impactful impression on young Kari, and that encouragement empowered Kari to strive to become a prominent businesswoman: now, she’s the branch manager for the Foothills Bank in Prescott Valley.

A leader’s ability to lead is tested during challenging times. One of Kari’s biggest tests happened recently as the coronavirus pandemic brought the whole world to a stop—just as Foothills Bank was in the process of merging with Country Bank. Just when customer contact was of the utmost importance, the pandemic created an actual barrier between Kari’s staff and customers since access to the lobby was temporarily “by appointment only.” During that time, Kari decided to spend most of her workdays at the drive-up window to meet and visit with patrons.

She enjoys meeting with customers and freely hands out her business cards. “Customers know that I am available to assist them in any way I can,” Kari said, adding that she is looking forward to a return to some type of normal so she can engage even more.

One of Kari’s focuses is providing the best customer service possible, and she holds her staff to the same standard. Likewise, Foothills Bank takes pride in its community involvement and strives to provide financial education by offering several free financial education programs to its clientele.

Twenty-four years after being hired by her first mentor, the mentee has become the mentor. Today, Kari is an active member of the Prescott and Prescott Valley community. She is the incoming president of the Prescott Valley Early Bird Lions, recently appointed to the Yavapai Regional Medical Center Foundation Board of Directors, and a member of the Prescott Area Women Who Care.

“It feeds that part of my soul,” Kari said of her volunteer work. “If you make yourself available, there’s a lot you can do to help our community. I love the Prescott area. It’s my happy place!”

Foothills Bank also is a strong supporter of the Prescott Valley Economic Development Foundation (PVEDF).

“It’s important to support the foundation to bring new businesses into Prescott Valley,” Kari explained. “It helps everyone, and it goes hand-in-hand with what we do at Foothills Bank.”

Leslie Contreras, Economic Development Coordinator for PVEDF, added, “One of my favorite jobs is to meet with our investors. I remember the first time I met with Kari. We sat down for lunch at a local restaurant not knowing anything about each other, and by the end of that lunch meeting, I knew I had found another woman I looked up to. A business meeting resulted in a great friendship. More importantly, I found another mentor. I often ask Kari for advice as I navigate my career and personal life.”

It all starts with one person – the person who tells you to keep going, someone who gives you the advice you need to hear instead of the advice you want to hear. It is evident that Kari has become the leader she once looked up to. She is now providing a springboard for other women to become exceptional, just like Diane Hansberger did for her. Women like Kari continue to make the Prescott Valley region a viable and appealing place to live and do business.