A 2001 alumnus of Eastern Mennonite University has been named the chairman of the Virginia Association of Community Banks.
Brian Plum, the president and CEO of Blue Ridge Bankshares, Inc. and CEO of Blue Ridge Bank in Luray, Virginia, was installed as chairman on Monday, Oct. 15. During his one-year term he will lead the association’s efforts in advocacy, education and training for the community.
“Community banks are critical drivers of economic activity in communities of all shapes and sizes, from rural areas with limited financial services to urban areas with dynamic and growing entrepreneurial communities,” he said. “They are focused on creating financial solutions that invest in the local economy and help it to grow and prosper.”
Plum assumed the presidency of Blue Ridge Bank in 2014, becoming the 11th in its 125 years. He joined the bank as its chief financial officer in 2006, having worked for PBMares, LLP, an accounting firm in Harrisonburg. He continues to maintain his certified public accountant license.
As a seasoned business leader, he has a wealth of advice for recent graduates: Work hard, but never let work define you. Be true to yourself. Act justly and uprightly at all times; don’t fall into the trap of thinking there is a difference between you the person and you the businessperson. Find a mentor, someone you look up to in business and trust for guidance in your career – and use them as a resource. Accept that you will make mistakes, but commit to learn from them. Be grateful.
He notes as a guiding principle the Scouts charge from Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell – “Leave this world a little better than you found it” – and sees immense potential to do that through community banking.
“We have a positive impact on our communities, customers, and employees every day,” he said. “Many jobs would not exist today if not for community banks, and many charitable organizations would not be able to serve at the level they do without the volunteerism and financial support of community banks and community bankers.”