Member Spotlight: Redbank Advisors

Columbus Chamber
The Columbus Chamber provides connections, resources and solutions that help small businesses and Fortune 500 enterprises grow Central Ohio's economy.

JimLane1Redbank Advisors (“Redbank”) assists their clients to grow the value of their companies. Whether the business is primarily an investment, a career or a family legacy, increasing the value of the business makes it stronger and better able to serve the owner.

Why is Your Business a Chamber Member?

I joined the Chamber in a larger firm to maintain its connections to Central Ohio businesses. Redbank joined as an independent business to replace the marketing department and resources it lost as a result of becoming independent. The Small Business Council helps make connections to service providers and clients that Redbank needs to grow.

What has been the most valuable aspect of your Columbus Chamber membership?

I have the challenges that come with a growing business, so I value the Chamber’s help in making connections to potential clients, referral sources and talent.

What type of community service or philanthropy does your business engage in or support?

Redbank is totally focused on first year growth so these commitments take a back seat.  Redbank has supported ProMusica and Pelotonia, both excellent organizations whose programs I can personally endorse.  Developing business acumen in young people will likely be a focal area in the future.

What is the greatest strength of your workforce? How would you describe your company culture?

Our team has depth.  Team members have 25+ years in their chosen discipline.  They often lecture at the university level.  They have worked with or in fast growing companies so they know the challenges our clients face.  In a nutshell, they are the team you wish you could keep on staff.

What is the biggest accomplishment for your business over the past six months? And what business tool, information, resource, connection did you have that helped you achieve this goal?

A newly independent business’ needs differ from a start-up or a mature business.   It needs connections to services managed by internal departments in a larger firm.  The Small Business Council is full of those sorts of resources.  Great people willing to lend a hand and help with the transition.

What advice would you share with other Chamber Members?

Ask.  It’s amazing what the Chamber can help with that you might not have expected.  So if you need something or are trying to figure something out, ask them for help.  They really are just chomping at the bit to be put in the game.  But you have to let them know what you need.

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JimLane2Name of CEO:

Jim Lane

About the CEO:

Former Partner at Ernst & Young, Founder of Fisher Professional Services at the Fisher College of Business The Ohio State University, Practice Leader at GBQ Partners, and now Owner of Redbank Advisors.

Number of Years as CEO:

Six including time leading Redbank as a practice inside GBQ.

Number of Years with the Business:

Six since founding Redbank inside GBQ still in first year as independent.

What was your journey to leadership like? What can you recommend to others looking to move up within their organizations.

My experiences all contributed something to getting me ready for business ownership.  My first position in a tech start up taught me there are a lot of things OTHER than the core business that must be done right to succeed.  Partnership at Ernst & Young provided experience with hundreds of client businesses and projects where I learned what you need to know to own a business.  It also showed me how much I love consulting.  My advice; determine what part of the CEO’s job your current position can teach you and master that.  Know where you are going, but focus on excellence where you’re at now.

Who was your mentor?

I was lucky.  I had a great mentor in each of 7 major chapters in my career; Jim Ebright, Christine Dehouske, Rich Sheely, Jim Bachmann, Mark Doll, Dick Dietrich and Wade Kozich.  Early in my career, Ebright allowed me the room to grow into a manager and to try and to fail.  Dehouske taught me unrelenting excellence.  It was amazing how much time she spent with me working on getting a client deliverable just right.  Sheely taught me order and discipline, things I imagine he got from the Navy.  Bachmann taught me the power of NOT talking; just listening to clients with good questions and letting them tell you what you need to know (I still work on this one).  Doll taught me that being number one means you don’t ask permission (but you might need to apologize).  Dietrich showed me how a great mentor/leader is really a servant, taking care of the team so they can take care of their responsibilities.  Kozich taught me that as long as you’re not dead you can bring incredible energy and creativity to starting something new.  I currently don’t have just one mentor, although I try to keep in touch with these friends, some of whom are retired now.  I am more focused on helping young professionals make their way.

What about Columbus makes it an ideal home for your company?

I suppose I’ll sound sentimental, but Lanes have been doing business in Ohio for four generations now.  Central Ohio is the fastest growing region of the state and it’s ideal for going independent like Redbank is; lots of growing businesses needing services.  Several very fine Fortune listed companies headquartered here.  And we are just a stone’s throw away from half of the nation should our clients need us to travel with them!

What brands do you follow? Is there a particular brand you look to as an innovative leader?

This will probably sound really weird, but I don’t follow the “great brands.”  I sort of collect information about businesses that don’t make it.  I have a 6 oz sample of cotton taken from the last bale of cotton sold by the S.M. Whitney Company.  Barry Whitney, Owner of the business and who gave me the sample, is the nephew “7 times removed” of Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin.

I am interested in why a business selling cotton, owned by the family of the inventor of the cotton gin went out of the cotton brokering business in 2010.

More than following brands though, I am interested in their leaders.  At Fisher College, I hosted a video series called “Profiles in Leadership”.  These were 90 minute interviews with CEOs like Jim of Deloitte.  These discussions provided great insights to the young graduate students who were seeking to understand how might I sit in his or her chair in 15 or 20 years?  What did they think and look like as a young professional?