An Interview with 2022 Greater Washington Good Business Awards Lifetime Achievement Honoree, F. Kevin Reynolds
“I believe that to be successful in business and life, one has to be involved, show leadership, and give back.”
These are more than words of wisdom from this year’s 2022 Greater Washington Good Business Awards Lifetime Achievement Honoree, F. Kevin Reynolds, Executive Vice President and Regional President, Director of Sales, United Bank; they’re his way of life. We spoke with Kevin, a 25+ year Chamber member, about his work, business, and family and what he believes makes for “Good Business.”
“Each day I ask myself, how can I be better? How can I be a better leader? A better mentor? I am driven by what I can do to give back to my family, my business, and my community. My life’s philosophy centers around the familiar quote, ‘to whom much is given, much is required.' I firmly believe in that and have let those words guide my life. Fortunately, I have a lot of energy and am able to leverage that energy and my resources to help wherever I can.
To me, 'good business' is simply a part of the process. I believe a 'good business' should take a broad perspective that aligns a company’s core values, goals, and aspirations with its stakeholders. Net profits are important, of course, but so is taking care of one’s customers, employees, and community. That includes incorporating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Environmental, Social, and Governance.
We’ve recently seen a dramatic shift in the way employers view and attract their talent—and the backlash when businesses fail to evolve. Businesses today are learning that they have to build an organization people want to be a part of if they want to retain the best employees. Community engagement and volunteerism contribute to a business’s image and ability to draw talent. As I look back over my career, I realize that I have been fortunate to work with banks, such as United Bank, that have had a strong community focus. Cardinal Bank had a motto: communities are enriched by one life at a time. I love that.
I also don’t believe giving back is limited to either the home or at the office. Giving back is a way of life. I tell my kids all the time about the 5 F’s one needs to be successful: Faith, Family, Friends, Fitness, and For Others. I additionally break Fitness into Financial Fitness, Fiscal Fitness, and Spiritual Fitness. These 5 F’s span more than home and church, they extend to business and our employees and beyond those walls to boosting others within our community.
Each one of us has the ability to be a community leader or steward, either working as an individual or through our businesses. We all have the capacity to give back, we only need to find our passion and step up. For example, I am passionate about helping children with their mental health needs, finding paths to college, and opening doors to help them succeed. Stacey, my wife of 34 years, and I adopted two children. We have actively volunteered our time and resources in support of the adoption process and were recognized this year by the National Council For Adoption as Friend of Adoption Award Recipients for our work helping children. Adoption is important to us - we even have two adopted Golden Retrievers!
Children’s mental health is what led me to the United Bank Charity Classic, an annual golf tournament that has raised more than $6.8 million to benefit the Inova Kellar Center. As Co-Chairman, I can merge my love of golf with my passion for helping children. I think of the spillover of anxiety and stress facing children today after every horrible incident like Uvalde, and it reaffirms my need to continue working on their behalf.
In my opinion, giving back shouldn’t be limited to our immediate circles. It is our responsibility as business leaders to have a broad-based approach. I’m excited by the Chamber’s evolution to a more regional organization that showcases best practices and stands up for its members. Regional work has been a core part of my own community efforts. As another example, I’m involved with the Skyland Workforce Center and helping residents of Washington D.C.’s financially depressed 7th and 8th Wards find work and build job skills. They live so close yet are struggling; they need a hand. People like me can make a difference in their lives.
When I think about businesses and needs within our own region, my mind focuses on two big challenges:
- Our business community needs to address inequality between the haves and have nots. As businesses, we should consider inconsistencies within our diversity programs and seek out ways to lift up individuals and our communities.
- We need to find a way to help educate those within our community. We need a strong public school system and a clear path for those who want to attend college.
I also think about the generations coming up. I was fortunate to have had an outstanding mentor, Bernard Clineburg, who helped guide me. He showed me how to integrate and embrace a community work culture and apply that work within my career. It’s important that those of us who have been around for a while take the time to mentor the next generation. My advice to anyone coming up in his or her career is to:
- Focus on those things for which you have a passion.
- Build mentorships.
- Get involved with organizations like the Chamber. They will help you learn leadership skills, networking skills, and help you build your personal and professional brand.
When I think about the future, I’m excited. Excited to continue my work with United Bank—I love the people and the platform. I’m excited about helping young professionals grow and try to help them succeed. And I’m excited about our region and being a part of an organization that is contributing so much to its success.
I am humbled and honored to be associated with the Chamber and my fellow Greater Washington Good Business Awards Honorees, both past and present. These are people who have been my mentors and role models through the years. It is a tremendous honor to be included alongside them.