Employee Stories: Aaron Johnson
June 13, 2022
Aaron’s Perspective – Mentoring Others
Aaron Johnson is a Senior Lender at Heartland Bank and Trust Company. Aaron’s story with Heartland started when he met Steve Drake, whose passion for growing the lending market was so inspiring to Aaron that he decided to join the Heartland Bank team. With Steve as his mentor, Aaron eventually grew to become Market Leader for the Champaign-Urbana area.
Aaron has a genuine passion for the community and helping people. Whether it is supporting a local event to raise funds and awareness, or supporting his employees professional growth, you know that Aaron is the kind of person you can turn to lend a helping hand. He sets the right example with his positive attitude and ability to connect with people.
After graduating from Illinois State University, I moved to Chicago where I worked for a mortgage company. I quickly realized that I missed the small-town culture. I ended up moving back to Champaign and a friend, John Russo, introduced me to Steve Drake, an Executive Vice President at Heartland Bank who served on the Board of Directors. Steve spoke to me about his goals for the Champaign market, his values and the Drake family's values as an employer, and that they just so happened to need someone that could support mortgage lending. I found his drive and ambition to be very inspiring so, I joined Steve’s team in developing this market. He was a wonderful mentor and friend. Since joining Heartland Bank, his influence has been a big factor in many aspects of my professional life. I share the same passion for creating a collaborative team culture and helping others grow. Steve passed away in 2011, but we strive to continue his legacy of service and dedication to the Bank and the community.
Heartland Bank's Culture
We are a team and everyone truly tries to help each other. You never feel like you are on the island alone, you have people that are here to help you. We all have the shared goal of maintaining Heartland Bank’s reputation of “small enough to know you, big enough to serve you” and it’s a huge team effort from top to bottom to reach it. It’s a partnership across every department where every area is an incredibly important piece. I have watched the Heartland Bank grow so much over the past 21 years and despite this constant change, we have never wavered from our same core principles and goals.
Steve Drake set such a great example for me that I do my best to set that same example for others. I enjoy anything I can do to mentor my team, even employees that don’t report to me, and I do my best to keep everything team orientated. Not only are our employees great at their jobs, but they are just good people.
Advice from Aaron
I believe that attitude and effort are key in how successful you are at work and in life. We control those two things and if you do it right, they will take you far. Those that have great attitudes and put forth effort will stand out.
Outside of Work
I spend my time with my beautiful wife, Nikki, and three wonderful kids (Charlie, Grace, and Emerson). You can usually find me trying to make it to all of my kids' sporting events and enjoying the outdoors with family and friends.