Though they each have individual roles, four Heartland Bank employees relate to a special understanding that brings them together — a Hastings College education.
Heartland Bank is made up of ten locations in Nebraska, with eight full-service branches and two loan production offices. Numerous corporate, bank-wide positions are officed at the Hastings branch, so what these four Hastings College alumni are accomplishing with their liberal arts background impacts Nebraskans across the state.
Rush scores marketing position before graduating
Jameon Rush is a 2012 graduate of Hastings College, earning a degree in web communication design. His interests led him to minor in studio art with an emphasis in graphic design.
He worked four internships during his time at Hastings College and spent the last half of his senior year working part time at Heartland Bank while still managing his academic schedule as a full-time student.
“I wanted to get out into the real world to have a higher level of experience and responsibility,” Rush said. “The education I got at Hastings College perfectly prepared me for this position.”
Rush is now the assistant vice president and marketing director at Heartland Bank.
“The department shapes the image of the bank from a marketing and public relations standpoint, and it’s directly utilizing the education and experience we’ve gained from Hastings College,” Rush said.
His marketing work consists of both branch-level and bank-wide projects, using principles of all types of media and techniques he learned from previous college classes, internships and freelance opportunities.
Because Rush knows the importance of earning professional experience in college, he set up an internship program. Heartland Bank has hired talented Hastings College students as marketing interns which Rush said has been mutually beneficial for both students and the bank.
Rush has also expanded his media talents into freelance video production, website design and logo design for his own separate company, Optix Digital Media.
“I’m able to balance that with a full-time career here at the bank, and Hastings College helped me build contacts and forward from there,” Rush said.
Hands-on media experience prepared Dumas for professional world
Similar to Rush, Caitlin Dumas ‘14 majored in web communication design with minors in journalism and studio art.
Dumas was the HC Media Online webmaster for three years, in addition to writing and taking photos for the Collegian student newspaper.
“I’m still in connection with a lot of people and professors; there’s something really special about the media department and Hastings College as a whole,” Dumas said. “It’s been really nice to stay in town and see how those connections grow outside of being a student.”
Dumas believes that her learning experiences with Hastings College Journalism and Media Arts were unforgettable and valuable to her career.
“The whole media department did a really great job of giving you feedback in order to take the next steps to get better, and teaching you how to do that for yourself,” Dumas said.
Dumas is thankful for not only the skill set she gained, but the tools that Hastings College provided her to improve and get hands-on experience in the media field that is constantly changing.
Dumas recently joined the Heartland Bank marketing team as a media specialist. She and Rush collaborate often and share opinions, as well as utilize each other’s strengths.
“Jameon and I share a lot of the same education, but enough differences that we can see it from the same perspective, but also bring in outside information because we both like to learn new things,” Dumas said.
Hastings College allowed Anderson to pursue a new profession
Jeremy Anderson ‘04 took a different path, pursuing a degree in economics after starting a family.
“I was a non-traditional student, and the College really embraced that and took me in. I really felt like they not only took me in, but they took my family in,” Anderson said.
At that point in his life, Anderson made a complete change — he went back to college to make a transition from farming to something new.
“Throughout college, I had a part-time job in banking that transitioned me into a career. My experience at Hastings College led me to that path,” Anderson said.
After working at two different banks, Anderson helped open the Hastings branch of Heartland Bank, formerly known as Geneva State Bank. Over time and through success, Anderson earned his way to the regional president position. Anderson now manages six of the 10 Heartland Bank locations, as well as Rush and Dumas’ marketing work.
“I’m responsible for the business output and performance of each of those locations, including Hastings, which I helped start and grow with the help of everyone here,” Anderson said.
Anderson feels that after his experience at Hastings College, he was very prepared to make the transition into a new career.
“I’m still utilizing those skills every day,” he said.
As regional president, he looks for that same kind of educational background when hiring new Heartland Bank employees.
“It’s the old adage from Hastings College that a liberal arts education makes you well-rounded, and I believe that still rings true,” Anderson said. “I’ve heard folks that have encountered people we’ve hired from Hastings College say they have the resemblance of someone with a master’s degree type of education, just because they have that much breadth of experience. It’s a really good testament for what we pick up on at Hastings College.”
Liberal arts built a strong foundation for Karloff
Melissa Karloff earned her bachelor’s degree in communication arts, speech and english from Hastings College in 1984, and to her, it was a great foundation for anything she would want to do after college.
Her journey began with communications-based jobs out of state, until one day she received a phone call that led her back to Hastings.
“The director of admissions at the time called me out of the clear blue and asked me if I wanted to come back and work for Hastings College,” Karloff said.
Though she was clearly on a different path, she gladly took the opportunity to return to her alma mater.
“I think that says a lot about the institution,” she said.
Melissa and her husband Michael Karloff ‘81 have had a close relationship with Hastings College ever since. Michael currently works with the Hastings College Foundation as associate vice president of advancement.
After earning a master’s degree and settling into another profession in human resources for 20 years, Melissa Karloff made a career move to Heartland Bank. There, as senior vice president of human resources, she is able to use the communication, writing and leadership skills she built during her time at Hastings College both as a student and as an admissions counselor.
“It all really transfers nicely from that core that I received. It’s a great foundation,” Karloff said.
Karloff works with all of the branches bank-wide and is responsible for everything human resources-related, including training programs, leadership development and setting expectations for bank culture.
She often collaborates with Rush and Dumas to connect human resources projects with marketing expertise, and with Anderson for ideas concerning branch leaders.
“It’s a testament to Hastings College that we are working together at Heartland Bank doing great things, though each of us has a different story of how we got here,” Karloff said.