Troy Adair Joins Farmers National Bank as EVP of Finance

Canfield, OH – June 21, 2021 – Farmers National Banc Corp (NASDAQ: FMNB) announced today the following changes in its Accounting and Finance Executive Group. The changes are prompted by Carl D. Culp’s decision to retire as Farmers National Bank Chief Financial Officer and Senior Executive Vice President, effective August 15, 2021. The decision ends Culp’s highly successful 36-year career in accounting and the financial services industry, with 32 years dedicated to Farmers National Bank, including the last 25 years as Farmers’ Chief Financial Officer and Senior Executive Vice President.

Farmers has named Troy Adair as Executive Vice President of Finance. Adair, most recently with Premier Bank as Senior Vice President, Treasurer and Assistant Secretary, has an MBA in Finance and Accounting and has 33 years of experience in banking. Upon Culp’s departure, Adair will assume the Chief Financial Officer role. A native to the Mahoning Valley, Adair resides in Cortland, Ohio with his family.

“First and foremost, the Board of Directors thank Carl for his years of loyal service. It is difficult for me to express the countless contributions Carl has made over the course of his career to both the stability and extraordinary growth trajectory of our financial institution,” states Kevin Helmick, President and CEO of Farmers. “Carl exemplifies Farmers’ culture and has consistently led by example with his stalwart integrity and character.”  Culp has agreed to provide advisory services for a period of time to ensure a seamless transition to his successor.

Additionally, Farmers has promoted Joseph Sabat, CPA, to Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer, effective immediately. Sabat, who has been with Farmers since 2006, currently holds the role of Vice President and Controller at Farmers and brings 25 years of experience in the accounting, finance and auditing fields.

In making these announcements, Kevin Helmick noted, “The appointments of Adair and Sabat to these key roles reflect Farmers’ pursuit of high performance and exceptional results for our stakeholders.”

About Farmers National Banc Corp.

Founded in 1887, Farmers National Banc Corp. is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Canfield, Ohio, with $3.3 billion in banking assets. Farmers National Banc Corp.’s wholly-owned subsidiaries are comprised of The Farmers National Bank of Canfield, a full-service national bank engaged in commercial and retail banking with 41 locations in Ohio and Beaver County in Pennsylvania; Farmers Trust Company, which operates five trust offices and offers services in the same geographic markets; and Farmers National Insurance, LLC. Total wealth management assets under care on March 31, 2021 were $2.9 billion.

C&N Names Alex Balagour as Chief Information Officer

WELLSBORO, PA – C&N (Citizens & Northern Corporation, NASDAQ: CZNC), the leading financial services company in the region, announced that Alexander Balagour has been named as C&N’s Executive Vice President & Chief Information Officer. 

As the Chief Information Officer, Alex will focus on identifying and executing technology initiatives that will accelerate the digital transformation of the organization, while retaining C&N’s strong commitment to relationship-focused business model. He joins C&N with over 20 years of experience as an accomplished leader in the business technology industry. Most recently, Alex was the Chief Information Officer at Customers Bank in Reading, PA, where he led the organization through the transformation of their sales and lending technology, data analytics and customer experience.

“I am really excited to join a high performing, growing organization, with an incredible history and culture,” Balagour said. “I look forward to working with the management team and the board of directors on growing the company through thoughtful technology investments focused on customer experience, new digital products and employee experience.”

Alex graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science from Arcadia University, where he earned the Sigma Zeta Award, given to the top-graduating student for academic excellence. He went on to receive his Executive Masters in Technology Management from Wharton School and School of Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. Alex later gave back to that same program as an Assistant Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania from 2010 through 2013, where he taught IT strategy classes.

Alex resides in the Philadelphia metro area with his wife, two children and a 6-month-old puppy.

Culture Building in a Telecommuting World: What’s the New Normal for a Post-Coronavirus Workplace?

By: Sharon J. Lorman, The Kafafian Group
Jeffrey P. Marsico, The Kafafian Group

Podcast Show Notes:

On this episode, our guests share their insights on how banks are returning to work, some of the benefits and risks associated with “work from home”, and how to promote your culture when a sizeable part of your workforce is remote. Don’t miss this interesting and informative episode with Alan Kaplan, Founder and CEO of Kaplan Partners, Austin Stonitsch, EVP and Chief Human Resources Officer, Dime Community Bank and Janet Whitehead, SVP of Human Resources, Univest Financial Corporation. Listen and enjoy!

Use the link below to listen or go to Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.

Topic: Culture Building in a Telecommuting World and What’s the New Normal for a Post-Coronavirus Workplace?

Insights from:
Alan Kaplan, CEO Kaplan Partners
Austin Stonitsch, EVP, Chief Human Resources Officer, Dime Community Bank
Janet Whitehead, SVP, Human Resources, Univest Financial Corporation

How will we adapt to changes in the working world that will remain post-pandemic? With remote working, are employees as productive and focused when not in the office? What employment issues or concerns are there with a remote working model? Our guests share their insights on how banks are returning to work, the legal and operational risk of work from home, and how to promote your culture when a sizeable part of your workforce is remote. Listen and Enjoy!

Alan J. Kaplan Biography
Founder and CEO, Kaplan Partners
610-745-5067 cell
610-642-5644 office

Alan J. Kaplan is the Founder and CEO of Kaplan Partners, a retained executive search and board advisory firm headquartered in Philadelphia. Kaplan Partners provides Boards and CEOs with advice on the dynamics of CEO and Board succession, and assistance with the identification, assessment and selection of new CEOs, Directors and senior executives. The firm’s Board Advisory Services assist clients with Director Succession, Performance, Diversity and Recruitment. Kaplan Partners also conducts Management Assessments of leadership teams to enhance succession planning and professional development efforts. Alan is a recognized leader in corporate governance, talent management and leadership succession across the financial services industry, and a frequent speaker and author for banking organizations nationwide.

Austin Stonitsch Biography
Executive Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer
Dime Community Bank
631-537-1000 ext.7298 office

Austin Stonitsch is Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer of Dime Community Bank. Prior to the merger on February 1, 2021, Mr. Stonitsch served in the same capacity for BNB Bank, joining BNB in 2016. Before joining the Bank, Austin served as Head of Human Resources for Alma Bank and IDB Bank and held various senior positions at JP Morgan Chase. He has over 30 years’ experience in financial services with 20+ being in various HR disciplines. Austin has a bachelor’s degree from RIT in Rochester, NY and an MBA for Hofstra University.

Janet Whitehead, CEBS, PHR Biography
Senior Vice President of Human Resources
Univest Financial Corporation
215 721-2527 office

Janet Whitehead, Senior Vice President at Univest Financial Corporation, has more than 20 years of human resources experience for the financial services industry. She currently leads Talent Acquisition, Compensation, HRIS, and Performance Management for Univest and is a contributor to the Benefit and Pension/Retirement initiatives. Prior to Univest, Janet was Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources at Vista Bancorp in New Jersey. Janet earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Muhlenberg College and holds both PHR and CEBS certifications. She serves on the Board of the Boys and Girls Club of Allentown and has served as President of the Indian Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Listen to the Podcast Here:

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Banking…Room for Improvement!

Someone once said that “diversity is being invited to the dance; inclusion is being invited to dance”.  If this is true, then more banks than ever in New Jersey are dancing!

Our industry has had an imbalance for a long time.  While a majority of many banks’ employees are often female, those ranks get thinner as you move up the food chain. Non-gender diversity statistics are even more challenging.  However, the question remains:  how do we rectify this severely unbalanced situation, so that the next woman or person of color to serve as a New Jersey bank CEO or NJBA Chair will simply be part of the normal course of events, rather than an outlier?

On a basic level, while diversity means different things to different people, a desired outcome is often to broaden the range of thought, perspective and experience—while leveling the playing field and seeking to optimize business decision-making.  That being said, in order to achieve this broader perspective, organizations need to recognize the importance and value of a wider representation of diverse talent in both senior leadership positions and on their board of directors. After all, your bank’s customer base and growth markets are all getting less homogenous, as is your future employee base.  Customers in the important Gen Y and Gen Z demographics are buying homes and starting to save for their kids’ college education.  This important demographic in particular typically cares a lot about diversity, ethical and responsible corporate citizenship, and equal opportunity. 

Sadly, too many community banks fall short here, victims of their own unconscious bias and preconceived demographic perceptions.  We can do better!  Not to mention that our regulatory agencies are moving “diversity” onto their front burner agendas.  For publicly traded companies, the risk of criticism for a lack of diversity, equity and inclusion in the management ranks and on the board is even higher.

There is no secret sauce that will solve this systemic challenge for the industry, especially since this is a long term issue. However, there are a few basic steps which can begin to help move the banking industry along on this journey, and create an organization where inclusion has real meaning and belonging is no longer aspirational for diverse employees:

  • Start by really listening to your colleagues who are black, brown, Asian or female, to better understand their experiences inside the organization, and where the bank can evolve to make it feel more welcoming to all employees.  The lack of real inclusion is where many firms fall short, despite good intentions. 
  • Address the very real challenges of unconscious bias.  To be sure, we all have our own internal biases, and they affect how we might approach people—whether a coworker, future employee or bank customer.  Education in this arena is an absolute must—across the organization.  Lead from the top.
  • Take a hard look at your leadership team and board of directors.  If these groups are homogenous (whether in gender or ethnicity), the message being sent is not helping.  Potential diverse employees will not see the role modeling at the top to validate that the bank is serious about equal opportunity, diversity and creating an inclusive environment.
  • Review your organization’s job descriptions at every level, to ensure that the qualifications you outline are not unintentionally creating a perception of exclusion via “requirements”, rather than inclusion by open-mindedness. 
  • Consider partnering with local high schools, community colleges and other educational institutions in your markets to better inform all students about the opportunities in banking.  Take a ground floor approach to developing a more diverse workforce over time.

Lastly, consider how your bank goes to market for new employees in general, especially for entry level jobs and new graduates.  Instead of the traditional boring job advertisements that banks are known for, we need to focus on what resonates with younger Gen Y and Gen Z.  Something like “if you want to work for a technology-driven business that cares deeply about its customers and gives back to its communities…come talk with us!”  As a potential employer—technology, customer-centricity and a focus on communities—are very meaningful to rising generations and diverse populations.

It’s clear from the NJ Bankers’ DEI Initiative, and the active engagement on this important topic from many banks, that the message is getting through.  Hopefully, the day will come when a woman elected as CEO of a NJ Bank, or Chair of NJ Bankers, will be business as usual.  That will represent real progress!

We are not approaching the end of the DE&I journey but rather are at the beginning.  If community banks in NJ and elsewhere are going to continue to thrive and survive, then grappling with the challenges of equality, diversity and inclusion must be more than a project.  They must become an integral part of how our banks do business every day.

<To read the article in its published format, click here,>

Alan J. Kaplan is Founder & CEO of Kaplan Partners, a retained executive search

and board advisory firm headquartered in Philadelphia.   You can reach Alan at

610-642-5644 or

Jack Murphy Named CEO of BankNewport

NEWPORT, R.I., April 1, 2021 – OceanPoint Financial Partners, MHC and BankNewport announced today that John F. (Jack) Murphy will succeed Sandra J. Pattie as president and chief executive officer of both the Mutual Holding Company and the Bank, effective May 17, 2021.

“We are delighted to welcome Jack to BankNewport,” said Peter Capodilupo, Chairman of the Board at BankNewport.  “We are looking forward to Jack’s leadership, and are confident that his experience and perspective will further the success the Bank has enjoyed as the leading community bank in Rhode Island.”

Murphy will bring more than 30 years of financial services experience to BankNewport, most recently as President of Business Banking at Citizens Bank. During his career he has managed multiple lines of business including Small Business, Business Banking, Community Banking, Equipment Finance and Auto Finance.  Prior to his time at Citizens Bank, he held leadership positions at Santander Bank, TD Bank, JPMorgan Chase and American Express.  Murphy is a graduate of St. Michael’s College in Vermont.  He and his wife, Kelly, reside in Duxbury, MA, where they have raised five children.

“I am thrilled to be joining BankNewport, whose reputation is among the best in the industry,” said Murphy.  “I was drawn to the Bank because of its unwavering commitment to the community, its customers and employees, and I intend to build upon the Bank’s foundation and long standing success.”

Pattie will retire from BankNewport after a 36-year career at the institution, beginning as a loan officer in 1984.  In 2012, she was named the first female President and CEO in the Bank’s history. 

About BankNewport:

Founded in 1819 and headquartered in Newport, BankNewport offers a full suite of loan and deposit products and services for families and businesses throughout Rhode Island.  With $2.0 billion in assets, BankNewport is one of the oldest community banks in the United States and, as a mutual organization, is committed to the financial success of its customers, employees and communities. BankNewport has 17 branch locations, with commercial lending offices in Cumberland and Providence.

BankNewport business lines include OceanPoint Marine Lending, specializing in consumer marine and recreational vehicle financing programs, and OceanPoint Insurance, a Trusted Choice independent insurance agency, providing a broad range of property casualty insurance products, including employee benefits and marine related insurance products.

Northwest Bank Names Chief Marketing Officer

Warren, PA —  March 22, 2021 — Devin Cygnar has joined Northwest Bank as Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer.  Devin has nearly 25 years of progressive marketing experience across consumer, small business and mortgage banking within organizations of varying sizes, including PNC Bank and Fifth Third. 

Most recently, Devin served as senior vice president, head of marketing and corporate communications for ServiceLink, a division of Fidelity National Financial. There, he successfully launched a robust digital marketing strategy, including website, social media, data-driven targeting and virtual events. With the addition of Devin, Northwest Bank will align marketing under leadership who will blend knowledge and experience with Northwest’s culture and the bank’s vision for the future.  

Active in his community, Devin serves on the board of the Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestra and is a graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh. He lives in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania with his family, and will relocate to Columbus, Ohio over the summer.

Northwest Bank operates 162 full-service offices and 8 free-standing drive through locations. Founded in 1896, Northwest offers a complete line of personal and business banking products including employee benefits, investment management services, insurance and trust. Northwest Bancshares, Inc. is the holding company of Northwest and is listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market as NWBI. More information about Northwest can be found online at

Finding the Right Fit with Alan J. Kaplan, Founder and CEO of Kaplan Partners

By Jeremy Weisz, Achieve NEXT

Alan J. Kaplan

Alan J. Kaplan is the Founder and CEO of Kaplan Partners, an executive search and board advisory firm. Alan launched Kaplan Partners in 1994 after beginning his corporate banking career with First Pennsylvania Bank and Meritor/PSFS. Since then, he has built Kaplan Partners into a nationally recognized boutique firm that has been named five times to the Philadelphia100® as one of the region’s fastest-growing private companies.

In addition to this, Alan serves on the Board of Directors of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Corporate Directors’ Philadelphia Chapter, and the Dean’s Advisory Council for the Temple University Fox School of Business. Alan is also a frequent speaker, a guest columnist, and the host of KYW Newsradio’s Career Report, a weekly business commentary on leadership and career management.

guest columnist, and the host of KYW Newsradio’s Career Report, a weekly business commentary on leadership and career management.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • Alan J. Kaplan describes how he first got involved in corporate matchmaking
  • Alan’s advice for people starting out on the path of entrepreneurship
  • Strategies for making each new hire a win for everyone involved
  • How has innovation in technology impacted talent acquisition over the last few years?
  • Why finding the right fit is more complex than you might think
  • How the pandemic has shifted the way businesses make hiring decisions—and which changes are here to stay
  • Alan shares his thoughts on how companies can better support a multigenerational workforce
  • How today’s employers and employees should prepare for the post-pandemic job market
  • The importance of updating company boards to represent a more diverse perspective and reflect current skill sets
  • Alan’s tips for professionals who are looking to get into the executive search business

In this episode…

The word “fit” is used to describe everything from the perfect pair of jeans to the new hire for your company. Regardless of what you’re searching for, finding the right fit takes time, determination, and a certain level of skill. That’s why having a qualified team to help with important decisions like matching the right person to the job can make a huge difference.

When it comes to talent acquisition, Alan J. Kaplan understands that finding the right fit is a more involved process than simply matching qualifications. Alan and his team look at everything from company culture to leadership competencies in order to determine a fit that will result in a win for everyone involved. For Alan, it’s not about finding a temporary solution. His goal is to create lifelong relationships that benefit his company, the organizations he works with, and the candidates who rely on his matchmaking abilities.

On this episode of Level Up, Nick Araco interviews Alan J. Kaplan, the Founder and CEO of Kaplan Partners, about corporate matchmaking and the ever-evolving job market. Alan explains how the pandemic has shifted the way companies are hiring, the impact of recent technology on talent acquisition, and why finding the right person for the job is a complex process. Plus, Alan shares his advice for companies looking to create a more supportive environment for a diverse workforce. Stay tuned!

Listen to the Podcast here:

Distracted: Don’t let apps and e-mail kill your productivity

When discussing the impact of the Internet on the lives of American workers, Webby Awards founder Tiffany Shlain often quotes Sophocles: “Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.”

Despite all the business potential of the Internet, the Information Age has turned into the Age of Distraction. E-mail, social networks and instant messaging apps have become the source of near-constant interruptions. The average American worker handles 121 e-mails per day, checks their phone for e-mail and other posts 150 times a day, and spends 28 percent of each workday just handling electronic messages.

That deluge can make it nearly impossible to stay on track with work tasks or devote significant, focused time to priority projects. Studies warn it has caused business professionals’ attention spans to shorten to just seven minutes. Furthermore, workers who switch tasks due to digital distractions, can take 20-120 minutes to get back to their initial, core work.

So how can you combat those distractions and rebuild productivity?

Focus on meaningful work

More than ever, it is important to make sure workers have a clear vision of company mission and strategic goals, and how they can channel their unique abilities and prioritize their daily activities to advance that mission. Consider offering employees attention-management training to help them limit distractions and increase their ability to remain focused on a single task longer, stick to priority activities and generate higher quality results.

Schedule quality time

Julie Morgenstern, a productivity expert and author of “Never Check E-mail in the Morning,” recommends establishing a practice of setting aside at least an hour each morning for quiet, focused, priority work. Teams or individuals can set their own schedules for that quality time, and others know not to interrupt them for non-emergency issues.

Revive the concept of business hours

Everyone needs time to disconnect and recharge. Consider limiting e-mail usage to certain times of day and make sure employees understand they are not obliged to read or respond to e-mail outside of those hours. Furthermore, remind employees that the company has set work hours, follow them yourself, and make after-hours work the exception and not the rule.

It is possible to diminish the wave of frenetic, digital disruptions in our work days. Making that effort could provide you with a more focused, more productive and happier work force.

The Definition of a Great Board: 2021 Edition

The role of a board member of any organization is constantly evolving.  Economic cycles, leadership transitions, market dynamics, competitive changes, governance activists and even political shifts can impact board composition and best practices in corporate governance seemingly out of the blue.  Then add the unexpected challenges of a global pandemic, and the environment changes quickly again.

There are certain constants, however, which have proven useful over time as essential elements of the most successful boards.  In defining a great board, we suggest these for your consideration:

Governance as a defining characteristic of a high performing board may feel like stating the obvious.  Except the board’s role is precisely that—to govern and not manage.  The old saying “nose in, fingers out” still rings true today.  Boards exist in large part to oversee management on critical issues such as strategy, risk, CEO succession and transactions, and to provide sound counsel to the CEO and leadership team.  Despite what some directors may still think, the board’s job is to guide and advise management and not to run the business.

R  Risk is a critical aspect of appropriate board oversight, and has become increasingly more complex over time.  The impact of a “black swan” event like we have recently experienced with the global pandemic is a prime example.  Boards should be regularly updated on the strategic risks facing the company, and must ensure that appropriate procedures for compliance, controls and reporting are in place and functioning well across the organization.

E  Engagement as a director is often overlooked.  Throughout our firm’s experience advising boards, it is all too common that we encounter directors who are simply not engaged in governing.  Often these Directors do not properly prepare for meetings, worry about the time and length of the meeting, and do not partake in constructive conversations.  Whether due to overly lengthy board tenure or outdated skills, a lack of consistent engagement may drive consideration for offboarding.

A  Accountability.  Boards in some organizations do not hold management truly accountable for results, which is a crucial element of governing.  Such boards at times may find excuses for poor performance or reward management for underperformance or tenure, rather than pushing back to explore why goals may not have been achieved. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons why an organization does not perform (external factors; lack of resources; faulty expectations; global pandemic, etc.). Boards need to make sure the company leaders have what is needed to succeed going forward, and then hold them accountable to deliver.

Talent-Centric.  Well-governed organizations have boards that are consistently focused on CEO succession and executive talent development.  Some firms are so focused on crafting an awesome strategy that they forget about the other side of the coin—execution of the plan.  Talent is the biggest variable in execution, and boards need to make sure that the CEO and leadership team are consistently focused on and held accountable for the attraction, development and retention of talent above the norm.

B  Broadly-skilled boards are comprised of people with an appropriate mix of relevant talents and experiences, to enable proper guidance and provide a variety of useful viewpoints.  This skill mix should be both functional (for example, financial, technology, marketing, human resources) as well as industry (reflecting competitive dynamics, customer segments, emerging markets, etc.).  Too many directors with similar backgrounds, or a lack of broad and current skills, compromises the value derived from the board table.

O  Open-Minded.  Boards benefit from directors who are informed, insightful, and inquisitive.  In other words, willing to challenge assumptions, consider new ideas and approaches, and are able to think outside the box.  A room full of directors with blinders on, who operate with “group think,” or who want to pretend that this is still “the good old days” does not enhance governance or add value.

A  Awareness of the dynamics taking place outside the organization is important as well. This may apply to the competitive landscape in your market or industry, or knowledge of the external factors which could significantly impact the business. Also included here could be the potential for regulatory impact or strategic transactions—wanted or unwanted—which could quickly reshape the organization.  Ongoing director education to remain current and relevant is critical.

R  Respectful.  Often times boards are called upon to make tough calls, or push back on management regarding critical issues.  These types of messages are never easy, but need to be delivered firmly yet respectfully.  Boards have an obligation to be courageous in the face of difficult decisions which may arise, including at times whether to allow underperforming directors to continue serving. Respect also needs to extend to the viewpoints of other directors, always, even when disagreeing.

D  Diversity is the order of the day!  As has been well documented, boards comprised of leaders with diverse perspectives generally make better decisions.  Boards representing of a robust variety of backgrounds and life experiences—whether diverse by race, gender, ethnicity, or other criteria, are not only appropriate but vital for success in today’s business and social climate.  In addition, having diverse role models on the board and at the top of the organization sends a very strong positive message to current and prospective employees.

The willingness to truly govern and tackle the important business challenges are hallmarks of great boards.  However, the dynamics of crafting a board with the right blend of skills, relevant experiences and diverse perspectives remains difficult for many institutions.  A thoughtful approach to board composition, recruitment and succession will enhance both the quality of corporate governance as well as organizational performance.

Alan J. Kaplan is Founder & CEO of Kaplan Partners, a retained executive search and board advisory firm headquartered in suburban Philadelphia.   You can reach him at 610-642-5644 or