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October 05, 2023

Natalie Bartholomew, community president for Northwest Arkansas, First Community Bank, was honored by the American Bankers Association as a recipient of its 2023 ABA Emerging Leader Awards. This award recognizes the next generation of bank leaders who are committed to the highest standards of achievement and service to both their industry and their local communities. Bartholomew and 11 other winners will be recognized together during the upcoming ABA Annual Convention Oct. 8-10 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Boris Dover, president and chief operating officer of First Community Bank, stated, "We extend our congratulations to Natalie Bartholomew for receiving the ABA’s 2023 Emerging Leader Award. Natalie is an essential member of the First Community Bank family who continually showcases exceptional leadership skills while making meaningful contributions to our customers and communities.”

The winners were selected by a diverse steering committee of industry professionals after a review of nominations from banks across the country. The qualities and characteristics the committee evaluated as judging criteria included dedication to the profession, inventiveness, leadership skills, mentoring ability, personal integrity, tenure at the bank and broader commitment to a career in banking, sustained career progress, and academic training, including advanced degrees and certificates/certifications.

“The 2023 ABA Emerging Leader Award recipients are a talented and diverse group of bankers, and we congratulate them on this well-earned distinction,” said Rob Nichols, ABA president and CEO. “Our industry is in good hands for years to come as this next generation of bank leaders continues to demonstrate their creativity, commitment and integrity in serving the needs of their customers and communities.”

With an accomplished 22 years of experience in banking, Bartholomew has previously worked in several areas of finance including, but not limited to retail, customer service, credit analysis, marketing, human resources, strategic planning, commercial/consumer/mortgage lending and executive leadership. Bartholomew earned her bachelor’s degree in agricultural business and master’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Arkansas. She was voted as class representative at the Graduate School of Banking Colorado of which she is a graduate and current faculty member.

Bartholomew notably founded the Girl Banker Platform in 2017 to serve as an advocate for women in banking and young women considering careers in banking. Within the platform, an online community has been created on various social media platforms including the Girl Banker Facebook Group that includes over 8,200 women in banking from over 36 states. The Girl Banker podcast was launched in 2019. The platform has been featured in American Banker, American Banking Association Bank Marketing Newsletter, ABA Banking Journal Podcast, Independent Banker, The Financial Brand and various other industry specific publications. Her speaking engagements have included The Financial Brand Forum, American Banking Association Bank Marketing Conference, American Banking Association Agricultural Conference and 22 state bank association conferences.

Bartholomew has been recognized for numerous accolades including Arkansas Money and Politics Power Women in Banking (2021); Independent Community Bankers of America Forty Under 40 (2020); Arkansas Business Journal Forty Under 40 (2019); Northwest Arkansas Business Journal Women in Business List (2018); Northwest Arkansas Business Journal Forty Under 40 (2015); and NWA Business Women's Conference Young Woman of the Year (2015).

Learn more about Natalie Bartholomew and each member of ABA’s Class of 2023.


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