Director of Marketing, SVP
As Howard Bank merged with First Mariner, Erica Starr saw a challenge before her: identifying an authentic brand identity that came from within.
The merger created the largest independently owned bank in Baltimore with more than $2 billion in assets.
Starr interviewed employees, marketing, finance, deposit operations, executives, customers and board members. In the end, they decided on a tagline “We care about here” for the rebranding.
“We are responsible for creating our company’s image, building and driving our new culture and keeping our employees engaged,” Starr said. “Our work sets the tone for what Howard Bank is today and will be in the future.”
She also oversaw the website conversion, helping craft a good first impression of the new bank.
Starr often reads news stories about Baltimore’s problems: murder, drugs, poverty, hunger. She sees her personal volunteer work, as well as her work overseeing the bank’s community philanthropy strategy as small steps to help make Baltimore a better city.
She is the vice president of the board for The Loading Dock Inc., a nonprofit that diverts building materials from the landfill by encouraging reuse among builders, contractors, homeowners and architects. She also participates in park builds, tree plantings, local business competitions, cleanups at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore and more.
“Every tree plant helps a neighborhood,” Starr said. “Every piece of litter I pick up makes Baltimore a little cleaner. Every youngster I speak with about banking might encourage them to enter the field of banking or finance.”
All 320 Howard Bank employees have 20 hours of paid time off to do charitable work. Starr also leads groups of employees at bank-sponsored volunteer events throughout Baltimore.
“It’s all about building relationships and having a good team,” Starr said. “… No single person makes a company or team.”