The following is one of six profiles on bankers who've raised the act of community engagement to an art form. To see the others, click here.
SVP, Area Executive
EDUCATION: B.A. & MBA, Rollins College; Stonier Graduate School of Banking, University of Delaware; UNC-Chapel Hill, Advanced Management Program
COLLEGE SPORT: Varsity baseball
CURRENT BOARD MEMBER: Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce (chairman), Greater Richmond Partnership, United Way of Greater Richmond, Capital Region Collaborative Council, Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation
Doug Roth says his nature is that of a stereotypical banker-staid, introverted and analytical. But his calendar of extracurricular activities would seem to say otherwise.
As a BB&T Corp. senior vice president and area executive for commercial banking in Richmond, Va., Roth is a major presence on the local scene, chairing the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce and attending as many as two or three black-tie fundraisers a month. Several years ago, committing fully to the rock-and-roll theme of a Chamber membership drive he was leading, he went to progress report meetings dressed as Elvis, Jimi Hendrix and even Madonna.
If Roth is able to let his hair down around others, it's because he still allows himself time to retreat inward when he needs to recharge his batteriesand also because he is so determined about what he wants to accomplish.
"There's nothing worse than spending your time at a meeting and accomplishing nothing," Roth says. "As an introvert, I make sure I prepare. I'm not one of those who wing it."
Roth, who moved to Richmond for BB&T in 1999, says he started volunteering as a way to develop leadership skills and to bring in business. His advice to others looking to broaden their community involvement is to spend about six months just attending meetings of various organizations, to determine whether there's a good fit.
"Pick something that you love and are passionate about," he says. "People will see right through you if you are doing it just to have something on your resume."
Roth, who started with organizations like the Kiwanis Club, United Way and Junior Achievement, says he generally is drawn to organizations involved in either business development or sports. But he wasn't always as focused. Roth once joined an orchestra committee in a city where he used to live, but he soon realized that he lacked enthusiasm for the music and didn't enjoy the experience.
"It's ok to make a mistakeit happens," he says. "Just acknowledge it and find something different."
Roth says he typically gets involved with organizations at the committee level, works his way into a leadership role and eventually moves on to a different organization.
"From a sales or business development point of view, it's a networking tool. If you do that year after year, your network expands," he says.
Roth is one half of a Virginia power couple. (His wife, Carrie Roth, is the state's deputy secretary of commerce and trade.) They often, but not always, get to attend events together.
Roth says his weekly time commitment to community organizations is dependent on the position. As chairman of the local Chamber of Commerce, he is putting in as many as 12 hours a week. Other positions require less than half that, he says.
Once a year, he evaluates his schedule closely and decides which projects to do next.
Kim Scheeler, the president of the Greater Richmond Chamber, says Roth's greatest asset as a volunteer is that he'll do any job that benefits the organization. "He doesn't volunteer to get his name on some board. He has the best interest of the organization at heart," Scheeler says. "He's not driven by ego."
That was evidenced by the Dorothy costume Roth once wore to an employee recognition meeting for BB&T bankers (and again the next day at a retirement luncheon). The athletic-looking Roth cut a striking figure dressed as the "Wizard of Oz" heroine, with a blue-checkered smock, a dark wig with pigtails and a pair of men's loafers coated in red glitter.
"Don't be afraid to get in there, roll up your sleeves and get some work done," Roth says. "And try and make it fun."