Member Spotlight - Courtney Lewis

Courtney lewis
Executive vice president at cadence bank 

Courtney Lewis is a commercial lender, recently promoted to Executive Vice President of Cadence Bank. Leading a team of middle-market bankers is what she calls, “selling money.” Currently, she’s putting together a commercial and industrial lending team.
Lewis’s journey to Rotary started with Martin Noto, who introduced her to the club as a way of meeting more people in Fort Worth. Noto was Lewis’s membership proposer in 2013, when Lewis was new to banking and lending.
“When I learned more about Rotary, as a club of service, I really liked the service aspect of it, Lewis said. “I wanted to be a doctor in my undergraduate, because I wanted to help people. I’ve always had that need of feeling like I’m making things better. So, for me, Rotary was a place to put those two worlds together, the perfect organization for me to be involved in.”
What Lewis loves most about Rotary is the fellowship. “I think the relationships I get to develop with people are truly special because as we’re serving, we get to meet people of all different vocations, that we may not have met within our careers.”
In 2019, President-Elect Larry Anfin asked Lewis to run for a board seat, even though she already was on four other boards. Lewis, 36, was one of the club’s younger members and had no expectation of being elected to the Rotary board, much less one day being president.
“I didn’t know why,” she said. “But I knew if he asked me to, he must really need me to. There must be a reason. I said OK, because I didn’t really think anyone would vote for me.”
With her election, Lewis realized the natural fit of her professional position in the board. Having been a finance major and now a banker, she took on her first role as board treasurer with plenty of knowledge to manage the Rotary Club of Fort Worth finances. “It was a lot of work, but I learned a lot about Rotary and the club,” Lewis said.
After her year as treasurer, Lewis considered removing her name as a possible candidate for board president "because I thought no one would vote or me.” Rotarians Christie Eckler and Leslie Oliver convinced her that was the wrong decision. When her peers on the board voted for her as president-elect, she thought, “Oh crap! I’m going to be president and I’m scared of public speaking, so I better work on that!”
Lewis said she is building on the work of Past President Carlo Capua to welcome a more diverse club membership.  Lewis notes the club still has room to grow, but has seen members make strides to become more inclusive.  
Lewis cited her own presidency as illustrating the community’s shift in perspective about the club. “They kind of got a peek and they were like, ‘Oh, wait, the next president is a black female. Maybe this isn't the old white man's club anymore,’ ” she said.
While the club’s demographics continue to broaden, Lewis notes that banking is less diverse and thinks the best she can do for herself and for her role in leadership is to be adaptable and empathetic.