Kim Vogel: Making Banking Services More Flawless and Customer-Centric

Kim Vogel, TriCo’s Board Director, is an accomplished technology entrepreneur and dynamic executive with over 25 years of expertise aiding companies to finance, grow, and monetize their businesses. She is drawn to innovative, fast-paced companies who desire to deliver above-average returns to their investors. She has completed more than a dozen mergers as both a buyer and a seller, and she has served as President and Chief Financial Officer for many high-growth Bay Area businesses.

Kim’s first public board position is with Trico, and she is loving it. For today’s investors, Trico is banking reimagined. The firm blends 21st-century technology with the ethos of small community banking. It places a premium on their customer’s connection with them and providing banking with a personal touch. The goal is to assist its clients in earning more, saving more, and simplifying their financial life. Kim likes the team’s emphasis on being good stewards of their client’s money. It is their job, according to her, to protect it and assist the customer in getting the most out of their money and assets. As far as services offered, Trico delivers personal banking options, business banking, investment services, and wealth management.

People want to know more about their money and be able to do more with it. Trico simplifies the process of comprehending those alternatives and provides easy, personalized avenues to making it all happen. Kim is a firm believer in what Trico is doing and how it differentiates itself from its competition.

Before Joining Trico

Kim was the President and Co-Founder of Base Venture before joining Trico. She spent 10 years at mFoundry before joining Base Venture. Kim started her career in investment banking. She’s always been fascinated by technology, and when banking moved online, everything seemed to fall into place. In the years that followed, she worked as the CFO of mFoundry and other Bay Area firms. mFoundry is regarded as the originator of mobile banking and many early mobile payment solutions. Kim says, “I pushed hard to ensure we could allow bank customers to deposit a check using their mobile phone. At the time we introduced our remote deposit capture technology only one other bank had it, and now no bank is without it.”  As an entrepreneur working for an entrepreneurial company, “It is about making decisions that make sense. So much is evolutionary. Those looking at us from the outside see unique, cutting- edge technologies. From the inside, we just want to make banking easier for our customers. It was a natural next step.” She considers her decisions rooted in logic and necessity.

Kim considers her application to Harvard Business School to be one of the most crucial turning points of her career. She was the first in her family to attend college and get a bachelor’s degree, much alone pursue a graduate degree. She believes in the importance of education and attributes much of her success to the possibilities that have arisen as a result of her decision to apply despite never expecting to get accepted. “I was applying to several local MBA programs when I decided I needed to reach for the stars. I was convinced I wouldn’t get in but I just didn’t want to grow old and have any regrets. I didn’t want to look back and say, gosh I should have submitted my application to Harvard, Stanford, Wharton … you name the school. I wanted to know in my heart that I have left no stone unturned.”

Success for Kim

“Success is measured as a whole and I am only one part.”

Many believe that whether a person is successful or unsuccessful is determined by a single individual. Kim never felt like she professionally built anything impressive on her own. She has always played a key role in an overall team effort. The key is to ensure you are surrounded by an amazing team. People who will do their part while challenging you, supporting you, and bringing out the best in each other. “That is the key to building a great company,” she believes.

She says, “Women, especially, tend to get trapped in this mindset that we have to do it by ourselves, but NO ONE does it by themselves. We all have to find a great team to be a part of and I am so encouraged that women are being more welcomed in the C-Suite and in the boardroom to be part of these teams.”

Never Underestimate the Importance of Scar Tissue

“Hard experiences are the required scar tissue needed to excel,” says Kim. One of the most significant “roadblocks” she faced early in her career was being laid off from her first professional position out of college. Even though half of the workforce was laid off at the same time as her, she took it extremely personally. She recalled, “What I thought was a roadblock turned out to be a very small and necessary detour. What I thought was a failure on my part turned out to be an integral step to getting me to the Harvard Business School. If I wasn’t laid off, there is no doubt I would not have had the time or the period of self-reflection that led me to the decision to apply. That circumstance changed everything; it rerouted my journey.” She further adds, “Things are not always going to go according to my plan and I have to remind myself that may be because it is part THE plan.”  

The Initiator

‘DETERMINED’ is the one word that best describes Kim. As a bank board director, she is responsible to help ensure the bank continues to execute and deliver on all fronts. She has a history of working in technology and growing enterprises and enjoys bringing her expertise into the boardroom. It is our responsibility to ensure the bank is constantly prepared and thinking about how it will execute in our rapidly changing banking environment especially in light of all the technological advancements. “We need to make sure that we are not only meeting today’s customer needs, but that we are also putting systems and services in place for those of tomorrow,” she says.

Kim is always thinking about where technology is going to be in 5-10 years. This part of her background helps it will keep Trico innovative and ahead of its competition.

Serving to Solve Real Challenges 

Kim attempts to remain ahead of the industry’s competitors by understanding the product and the demands of customers. She feels it is essential to anticipate consumers’ wants and provide solutions before they ask. She says, “If your customers are asking you for change, you are way behind the eight-ball.”  

Kim is a firm believer in Trico’s fundamental principles and feels that the way the business has been successful is by blending personalized banking and emerging technologies with “old school” handshake values. Technology, she believes, can make things impersonal, rather than the other way around. To better serve customers, Trico focuses on ensuring that every piece of technology and improvement that is added brings Trico closer to its customers. She adds, “A tailored experience for each customer, just makes it easier to serve our clients.”  

An Opinion on Women in Technology

Anyone in a leadership position, Kim believes, faces challenges. Kim makes no distinction between her gender and her setbacks. Women in technology and finance are few, but that is true in many fields. She’s had the good fortune of forming a network of strong female colleagues that support each other. She feels that diversity and inclusiveness are critical components of any successful team.

Guidance on Achieving Balance

Kim finds that creating a solid work/life balance is tricky.  As a mother, she can relate to the feeling of being tugged in many different directions. Many women feel the need to step out of their careers to raise their children. She sees this as unfortunate for working women, as getting back into the workforce is typically harder than initially imagined. Kim has always valued working with others that respect family values.  Men who role model this behavior are critical to making this happen. She works hard to make her family a priority without sacrificing her career. She states, “Of course, there are times where it feels nearly impossible to “have it all,” but this can’t be measured in a moment. If looked at over time, it is definitely possible.”

Kim believes the critical component is to ensure flexibility is infused in the daily work schedule. She feels excited during this time, when, because of the pandemic; women can stay home and have the time and support to figure out how this flexibility can work for everyone involved.

Advice for Women Leaders

“Success takes passion”

Kim advises young women who want to be entrepreneurs to invest in themselves and their education. She goes on to add that it’s more than just the coursework; it’s exposure to colleagues, mentors and a network that will ultimately help open doors. She says, “Find your niche. It is so important to search within yourself and find something that brings you unfiltered joy, even if it doesn’t feel all that glamorous. And, when all is said and done it is about being grateful. If you remember to thank every person who has contributed to your success many times over, it will undoubtedly pay a lifetime worth of dividends in return.”