Diversity in the executive ranks of a bank remains an unusual enough occurrence to know that it doesn't come about by accident. In Kansas, Sunflower Bank, which has $1.7 billion of assets, has been a model for diversity. Nearly half of its 116 corporate officers are women and Mollie Hale Carter, one of our 25 Most Powerful Women in Banking, leads it.

Clearly a case of diversity by design? Not the way Carter tells it. She says there's no edict to advance women; it's simply been a case of the best rising to the top.

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