21 Women Making An Impact: Kelly Edwards, Mortgage Loan Officer, First International Bank & Trust

Written by: Brady Drake
  • United Way Volunteer and Investor
  • United Way Emerging Leader and Emerging Leaders Committee Chair
  • United Way Employee Campaign Coordinator

What is one lesson you have learned? How did you learn it?

I can’t think of one lesson that resonates more than another however the ability to have empathy has really helped me view the world in a different way. I’ve gained the ability to see why others think the way that they do as well as their reasons why they do certain things and how they became the person that they are today. This has greatly improved my relationships that I have with my friends, family and colleagues.

What has helped you be successful in your career?

Throughout my banking career, the ability to effectively communicate to my peers and customers has always been a top priority. I also believe that my success has been made possible by the discipline that I have and the ability to stay grounded in the workplace. I hold myself to high standards to ensure I give my customers, as well as my colleagues, the service that they deserve and always ensure they can count on me to help.

Your company was a key player in helping to build the new United Way building – why did First International Bank & Trust invest in this project?

As a Community Bank, First International Bank & Trust truly values the relationships that we have within our communities as well as ensuring that they thrive. We have always strongly felt that the work United Way does specifically in Cass County greatly impacts the people in our community and we love being able to help support them in any way that we can. One of our main values, “Leave Your Mark on Your Communities”, strongly encourages employees to be involved in any way they can to leave an impact on their community through volunteering.

How has being a United Way Emerging Leader volunteer impacted your professional life?

I have been fortunate to surround myself with individuals I was able to connect with through United Way; who not only have the same professional values as me but also feel passionate about being involved in our community through volunteerism and activism. As part of the Emerging Leaders Committee, I have been able to help collaborate with United Way and our committee on the content for our Emerging Leaders events. It has been extremely rewarding to collaborate with local speakers to create the content that would most impact the Emerging Leaders.

How do programs like Emerging Leaders impact the success
of our business community?

The Emerging Leaders program allows individuals throughout the Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo area to network with others similar to them both personally and professionally. I have been fortunate to make some wonderful connections professionally as well as personally with individuals who have become friends throughout my time as

an Emerging Leader. We have the same values and share the desire to help our community thrive for the next generation. As a mom, I am always looking for ways to help make our community a better place for my children to grow
up in and being able to contribute directly to our community through the Emerging Leaders program has made that possible. As the Emerging Leaders Committee Chair for 2021, I am thrilled to see what this year brings for our program especially with the new United Way building where we will be able to bring people together in new ways and do even more for our community!

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.