Lea B. Olsen of Minneapolis joined the board of directors of Bell Bank. Olsen is the company’s first board member from the Twin Cities, where Bell has been steadily building its banking presence for the past decade.
“Lea has such an impressive professional background and skill set,” Michael Solberg, president and CEO of Bell Bank, said. “We are excited to partner with her and benefit from her experience and guidance at the board level. One of the things that first drew us to Lea was not only her roots in the Twin Cities and the region, but also the way she thinks about success — as she puts it, finding your win while remaining true to your values. As our company grows and expands, one of our greatest challenges is to continue to authentically connect with people through our core values to grow our business and have a lasting impact. Lea fits right in with that philosophy, and she’ll bring her own insights to her interactions with Bell Bank’s leadership and our team members.”
Olsen, who is officially joining the Bell Bank board this month, played basketball at the University of Minnesota, then launched her career in sports journalism. She has been a broadcaster for ESPN covering the WNBA, a game analyst for the Minnesota Lynx and a television sideline reporter for the Minnesota Timberwolves on Bally Sports North. She also has covered college and high school games. In addition, she is a motivational speaker who founded Rethink the Win in 2015 with the goal of preserving the fun in youth sports while teaching athletes and professionals alike how they can apply sports lessons to the real world.
“The most important lesson I have learned from my career in sports and business is that culture is critical for success,” Olsen said. “As I have built relationships at Bell Bank, I witnessed firsthand Bell’s mission of ‘Happy Employees! Happy Customers!’ It resonated with me and my value system of empowering people through opportunities. I’m incredibly proud of growing up on the south side of Minneapolis and representing the state as a Minnesota Gopher, and I feel a deep sense of responsibility to serve my community. As a Bell Bank board member, I’m excited to provide my unique perspective at this pivotal point in the company’s growth.”
Bell Bank’s expansion in the Twin Cities began in 2011, when what was then State Bank & Trust acquired Bell Mortgage, a company originally founded by early Minneapolis civic leader David C. Bell in 1880. The company then opened its first Twin Cities banking location west of downtown Minneapolis in 2012, rebranded as Bell Bank, and added full-service banks and loan production/deposit production offices across the region.
Most recently, Bell Bank opened a full-service bank in Minneapolis’ City Center as part of the continued development in the city’s downtown area. In addition, Bell Bank’s Bell Plaza office in Bloomington, MN, will become a full-service banking location this summer.
With a growing Twin Cities footprint, Bell Bank, which was founded in Fargo, ND, in 1966, has nearly $10 billion in assets and more than 1,600 employees.
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