The following is shared courtesy of the South Dakota Bankers Association. Kristina Schaefer is an Alumna of Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz & Smith, LLP.


Schaefer Honored by American Bankers Association with Inaugural Emerging Leader Award


PIERRE, SD – Sept. 28, 2022

Kristina M. Schaefer, executive vice president, chief risk officer & chief administrative officer, general counsel, First Bank & Trust, Sioux Falls, S.D., was honored by the American Bankers Association as a recipient of its inaugural ABA Emerging Leader Award. This new award recognizes the next generation of bank leaders who are committed to the highest standards of achievement and service to both their industry and their local communities. Schaefer and 10 other winners will be recognized together during next week’s ABA Annual Convention.

“In the spring, the ABA was looking for nominations for emerging leaders who exemplified leadership, not just in the banking industry, but in their communities, civic and volunteer organizations, schools and beyond,” said SDBA president, Karl Adam. “It was our pleasure and sincere honor to nominate Kristina Schaefer for the inaugural ABA Emerging Leader Awards. Kristina’s accolades and accomplishments reach far beyond the banking industry, and her excellence has been recognized many times in recent years. This year alone, she was named 2022’s OnCon Icon Top 50 Corporate General Counsel Award Winner, EmBe’s 2022 Tribute to Women winner in the banking and finance sector, and was a selected speaker at the 2022 TEDxSiouxFalls event.

“The SDBA, the banking industry and the South Dakota community at-large is fortunate to have a natural emerging leader like Kristina,” Adam continued. “Her drive and willingness to answer the call of leadership knows no bounds and we look forward to following her lead as her professional career only begins to unfold. We hope everyone joins us in celebrating Kristina today. For all she does for everyone else, returning the applause with a standing ovation and tip of the hat is all we can do to share our gratitude.”

“I’ve been a community banker for 40 years, and I can truly say it is a great honor to watch the next generation of banking leaders emerge and blaze their own trails in the industry,” said SDBA Board Chair, David Bangasser, senior vice president chief banking officer, Dacotah Bank. “Having served on the SDBA Board of Directors with Kristina Schaefer for more than six years, I’ve witnessed first-hand her talents and passions grow. To echo Karl, Kristina’s leadership involvement reaches far beyond the banking industry. She’s a mentor, a coach and an advocate for people across South Dakota in all walks of life. Kristina’s representation and commitment to her family, friends and neighbors is above and beyond, and the ABA’s Emerging Leader Award couldn’t go to a more genuine and deserving person.”

The winners were selected by a diverse steering committee of industry professionals. The qualities and characteristics the committee evaluated as judging criteria included dedication to the profession, inventiveness, leadership skills, mentoring ability, personal integrity, tenure at the bank and broader commitment to a career in banking, sustained career progress, and academic training including advanced degrees and certificates/certifications. “We congratulate these high performers who have already begun to have a significant impact on our industry,” said Rob Nichols, ABA president and CEO. “These ABA Emerging Leader Award recipients have demonstrated a range of banking skills, a commitment to conduct their work with integrity and a strong desire to help their customers and communities flourish. The future of our industry is bright because of leaders like these.”

“Banking is so much more than meets the eye, and it serves and impacts virtually every other industry,” Schaefer said. “No matter how you choose to serve within your bank, serving outside your bank broadens your bank’s purpose—and that’s true of emerging leaders in any industry. So, if you are an emerging leader, don’t be afraid to show up and volunteer to help. At times, you might not feel like you belong, but there is plenty of room at the table. Bankers, particularly South Dakota’s bankers, are some of the best people I know. I appreciate the opportunity to serve so many of them over the past several years during my involvement with the South Dakota Bankers Association, and I look forward to continuing telling the story of South Dakota banks. It is my privilege to serve the banking industry, and I’m humbled to be recognized by the ABA this way. ”Learn more about Kristina Schaefer and each member of ABA’s Class of 2022.

About the ABA and the ABA Emerging Leader Awards
From delivering the latest industry news to developing mission-critical training offerings, we support America’s banks as they perform their vital role in energizing the economy and helping communities thrive. The ABA Emerging Leader Awards identify and recognize the next generation of bank leaders who are committed to the highest standards of achievement and service to the industry and their communities. Developing and guiding future leaders is critical to our industry’s success, as today’s emerging leaders are tomorrow’s decision-makers. About the South Dakota Bankers Association

The South Dakota Bankers Association (SDBA) is the professional and trade association for South Dakota’s financial services industry. Established in 1884, the SDBA enhances the ability of its members to compete effectively and profitably in the financial services industry. The SDBA helps educate, advocate and grow a diverse mix of financial institutions throughout the state. For more information about the SDBA, visit