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CBM Announces 2023 Best of Community Banking and Rising Star Awards

The Community Bankers of Michigan (CBM) has announced the recipients of its Best of Community Banking and Rising Star Awards. Recipients were awarded at the CBM Annual Convention & Expo, which was held September 13-15, 2023 in Traverse City, Michigan.

Best of Community Banking Award

Jae A. Evans, CEO, Isabella Bank, was recognized as the 2023 recipient of the CBM Best of Community Banking Award.

The Best of Community Banking Award recognizes the contributions and success of a Michigan community banker. Special recognition is given to community bankers who have made significant contributions to their communities and the community banking industry.

“This annual recognition of the Best of Community Banking Award is one of the highlights at our annual convention.  We were so pleased to recognize a truly outstanding banker with this prestigious award at our convention on September 14, 2023,” said Michael Tierney, CBM President and CEO.

Jae Evans has been a director of Isabella Bank Corporation and of the Bank since 2014, serving as the President and CEO of the Corporation since 2014 and CEO of the Bank since 2018.   Jae has been in banking over 46 years and provides the bank with executive leadership, strong community involvement, and a passion for community banking both in our state, and nationally.  He was the CBM Board Chair in 2013 and currently serves as a CBM board member.  Jae serves on the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) safety and soundness committee.  He is currently the Chair of the United Bankers’ Bank Board and serves on the Central Michigan University Advancement Board.  Jae is the past chair of the Eight Cap, Inc. Governing Board, past vice chair of the Carson City Hospital, past board member of the McLaren Central Michigan Hospital, and was president of the Greenville Rotary Club. 

“Jae demonstrates unwavering integrity and has been instrumental in guiding Isabella Bank’s high growth and profitability.  He has accomplished all of this, and given back in so many ways, maintaining a community focused company culture at the bank,” shared Jerome Schwind, Isabella Bank President, who nominated Jae.  


Rising Star Awards

The 2023 Rising Star Award recipients were also recognized at the CBM Annual Convention and Expo and this year three exceptional individuals were honored.  Rising Stars are individuals whose achievements in banking and community involvement have earned the respect of bank leadership and their community. Award recipients represent the best in future leadership for community banking in the state of Michigan.


Teresa Beegle, Compliance Officer, Chelsea State Bank.   Teresa’s professional growth within Chelsea State Bank is exceptional and has allowed her to expand her skills during her tenure at the bank. Examples of her leadership include; leading the transition from a “small” to an “intermediate small” institution under the Community Reinvestment Act, developed and currently leads our local elder fraud awareness program, and executing essential banking regulatory oversight responsibilities.

Jessica Stubbs, Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President, Chelsea State Bank shared, “Teresa is a shining example of a true community banker sharing our vision and mission while maintaining the bank’s core values.  She is our rising star.”


Kayla Dennert, VP – Commercial Lender, Shelby State Bank.  Kayla started with Shelby State Bank while attending college and was always willing to learn something new and help where she could.  She has held various positions in credit and lending and training many staff along the way.  She has since expanded her impact to the bank, serving on various bank committees and is also deeply rooted in the community in a variety of ways adding to the positive impact she makes on the bank each day.

“Kayla is an integral part of our management team and has provided many contributions to our organization and the local community.  I look forward to seeing all she has to offer our bank and this industry in the years to come,” said Mishelle Comstock, President and CEO, Shelby State Bank. 


Amy Persyn, Marketing Director, First State Bank.  Since joining the bank, Amy has contributed to the bank’s success by developing programs including First State Banks giving, providing awards to local non-profits, FinancialWellnessFSB, sharing educational tools and programs, and created a community caring guide which is a local resource for giving – and receiving help.  Amy strives to make the leadership team at First State Bank the gold standard for banking in the areas they serve. 

“Amy has a bright future in our industry and continually impacts bank employees and the community. Her initiative, creativity and productivity are the attributes a successful community banker and a leader. She truly is a rising star,” stated Mark Jansen, President and CEO, First State Bank. 

Michael Tierney shared the following thoughts regarding the Best of Community Banking and Rising Star award winners.  “Community banks prioritize and invest in the customers and neighborhoods they serve and are vital to the strength and prosperity of Michigan.  This is as important today as it has ever been. We are proud to have so many outstanding community bankers who are rising stars leading these efforts in communities all across Michigan.”


About Community Bankers of Michigan

The Community Bankers of Michigan is a 250-member trade association serving community banks, and their financial services partners, throughout Michigan. With headquarters in East Lansing, Michigan, the Community Bankers of Michigan is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, professional education programs, and high-quality products and services. For more information visit One Mission. Community Banks.