Susan Still

Susan K. Still was born May 15, 1953, to Mabelle S. King and Smithey C. King the middle child of three girls.  Susan graduated from Martinsville, HS in 1971.   Her greatest joy growing up came from reading books about individuals who needed saving, she dreamed of being an attorney or helping others by becoming a social worker.  Her father was quick to instill in her that she needed a profession that would help her generate a solid income and let her love for math lead her. 

Susan realizes it was her family members that shaped her career choice beginning with her maternal grandmother.   Her grandmother started a bakery “The Mixing Bowl” on Broad St. in Richmond, VA during the depression – the year was 1926 and her specialty was yeast breads, the bakery still exists today in a new location in the city.  Susan grew to cherish her grandmothers’ fortitude, creativity and vision to begin a business in the worst of economic times and make it work.   Susan’s mother was a gregarious woman who served as the Director of Social Service in Martinsville after earning her sociology degree.  Again, at the age of 60 her mother completed a nursing degree to fulfill her desire to become a registered nurse at the Stratford in Danville.  Susan gained an appreciation from her mother about the work-life balance and raising children – “if Mom’s happy everyone is happy”.   The other person she cites for giving her direction was her father Smithey a University of Virginia electrical engineering graduate who became an engineer for Dupont’s Nylon plant in Martinsville.  The King family were among the first to arrive in 1951 and established a solid middle class in the area because of the plant’s opening.

Susan’s early family influence led to a love for music, during middle school she was on the choir and took enough piano lessons to work part-time as a piano teacher while in high school.  Susan also enjoyed competitive swimming in her pre-teen years.  Coming from a family of leaders in high school Susan was involved in student government, she served as freshman class treasurer and junior class president.   In addition to Susan’s time teaching piano, she was as a clerk at a local department store.

 Susan attended University of Richmond from 1971-73 and completed her undergrad work at Virginia Tech from 1973-74 earning a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting.  Susan pursued graduate work at UVA in banking completing that degree in 1982. The banking career path started with Dominion Bank shares as a credit analyst and then to operations in Blacksburg. She then began working with Dominion Bank in the commercial side of the house for ten years. Beginning in 2003 Susan took on a position with SunTrust bank for two years, she then was tapped in 2005 to become the CEO of HomeTown Bank Shares.  Susan is the second female bank CEO in Virginia and the first female CEO in Southwest Virginia.

Sitting at the helm of this five-branch banking system Susan remarks that automation has changed the way banking is done with digital clearing of checks, mobile banking, proof machines that encode the amount.  Community bank growth is a result of technology, along with changes in interstate banking beginning with 1990 in Virginia.  HomeTown of course was bold in creating lengthy operation hours of 7am – 7pm the board made that conscious choice to match retail store hours to catch people who are wanting to do their banking after hours.  Susan knew banking was the right fit for her because it allowed her to work with numbers, help people individually and finance businesses that produce jobs.  Basically, it comes down to strengthening the community and making it a better place to be.

The success of this banking system has led to Susan being appointed to the Virginia Federal Reserve she is one of nine members of this esteemed board.  The composition of this board is four women and five males, three bankers and the rest presidents or CEOs of large corporations and Goodwill Industry.   She comments that she never felt like she encountered barriers in her banking career because she was a woman.   She does enjoy the occasional compliments she receives from young women who thank her for being a role model and pursuing her career with a great confidence.  Susan has also served on the American Bankers Association board and the Virginia Bankers Association board of directors.

When asked to define HomeTown Bank culture, Susan shared it’s about “servant leadership/being a good citizen in the community”.  Asked how this is accomplished Susan believes it comes from being customer focused, friendly, her staff will fight for their customer to be financially successful.

When asked what advice, she would share with young people it was earnest and came to mind quickly – “love what you do when you go to work!”

Susan has been very involved in the community over her forty years of banking and networking.  She is currently on the board of the Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce, North Cross School, the Business Council and a Past Chairman/Governor Emeriti of the Foundation for Roanoke Valley and a sustaining member of the Junior League of Roanoke Valley. 

Past board membership has been for the American Bankers Association’s Community Bankers Council in Washington D.C., Virginia Association of Community Bankers Board of Directors in Richmond, VA, Junior Achievement of Southwest Virginia, United Way of Roanoke, Center in the Square, Roanoke Symphony, Science Museum of Western Virginia, and Shenandoah Club.

In summarizing her success, it in part comes from the support provided by her board of directors – she remarks on four of the charter board members:  former Dominion Bank shares President Warner Dalhouse who used as his measuring stick “the customer comes first.”  In his banking role, he came to know Susan and her work ethic so as the HomeTown bank was being established, Warner was an advocate for recruiting Susan to take the helm. Today HomeTown cherishes its work associates and the promotion of local events as it celebrates over a decade of experience from Smith Mountain Lake to the New River Valley. 

Susan Still was inducted into the Southwest Virginia Business Hall of Fame in 2016.

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