Outstanding Women 2023: Kelsey Stupfell

TS Banking Group Director of Public Relations Kelsey Stupfell is committed to stewardship and nurturing the community around her.

Kelsey Stupfell

That commitment plays out both in Stupfell’s professional life at the Treynor, Iowa-based bank and the farm she shares with her husband Perry. Stupfell feeds eight people on a daily basis during the busy seasons of fall harvest and spring planting at her family’s southwest Iowa farm, including her three children, in-laws and husband. The food is abundant and filling — barbecue chicken, sliders, hoagies, casseroles and sweet potatoes — made in the mornings and delivered to the fields. Leftovers are frozen for later use.

Stupfell has worn many hats at TS Bank, from being a personal banker and marketing assistant when she was hired 16 years ago to eventually leading the bank’s caring investment strategy across its 15 branches in four states. 

“It’s always been about the people’s side for me and seeing the direct community impact,” Stupfell noted. “I am a farmer’s daughter and now a farmer’s wife, so I have also seen the benefits of living in a small, rural community — really digging in the trenches with people … and being there for one another.”

Stupfell is being recognized as one of BankBeat magazine’s 2023 “Outstanding Women in Banking.” 

Stupfell has played a crucial role in developing TS Banking Group’s promise to give back 10 percent of annual profits to communities, a pledge which has netted $5 million since it was first implemented in 2007. She’s been responsible for multiple community initiatives, either launching them or shepherding them to continued success.

She was the driving impetus behind a neighborhood improvement program, AMP for Neighborhoods, which has helped 50 homeowners make housing and curb-appeal improvements in two southwest Iowa communities. Stupfell formed the initiative by asking two community advocates how the bank can help improve the curb appeal of local communities. An anonymous donor later gave a considerable sum, and the program has blossomed annually ever since. 

Stupfell also helms REV, an annual pitch competition for startup businesses launched eight years ago to spark economic growth. This year, participating entrepreneurs and business owners are pitching to a panel of judges to win up to $20,000 to grow their business. The competition, modeled after CNBC’s “Shark Tank,” has given $118,000 to small businesses.

The Iowan helps lead an annual nonprofit strategy workshop, which draws 100 guests from nonprofits in both Omaha and southwest Iowa. The workshop started as a low-cost, entry-level opportunity for nonprofit leaders to receive professional development. She’s also responsible for the bank’s TS Promise motivational speaker series, in which presenters deliver educational, inspirational and empowering messages to local middle and high school students. 

“As a skillful relationship builder and corporate communicator, Kelsey engages community advocates which includes working across public, private and nonprofit sectors,” added retired TS Bank leader Judy Guttau. “As the philanthropic leader, Kelsey helps to ensure the focus of community reinvestment for TS Banking Group is aligned with the company mission, vision and core values.”

Stupfell is also a member of the Iowa Bankers Association’s Women in Banking Advisory Task Force, and has served for six years on the IBA’s marketing committee and peer groups.  

Bank leadership wants staff to be involved in the community as well as the bank, something Stupfell has embraced. “A lot of the things that I do for the community are also part of my role,” she said. “I am very thankful for my support system and my family that has helped to make that possible.” 

An accomplished musician, Stupfell first learned of a job opening at TS Banking Group in 2007 during a bank-sponsored event in which she was scheduled to sing. At the time, Stupfell was approaching her graduation from Indianola, Iowa-based Simpson College.

“It was not on the radar for me,” Stupfell said of pursuing a banking career. “It was the furthest thing in my mind to go into banking. … To be honest, banking chose me.”

First hired as a marketing assistant and personal banker, Stupfell has worked extensively with Guttau, who was marketing director at the time. Stupfell was named director of community reinvestment when Guttau stepped away from that position, and now serves as director of public relations. 

Today, Stupfell helps TS Banking Group employees become involved on community boards and has assisted 10 new employees through the company’s 90-day mentorship program. Stupfell and her mentees volunteer together and meet for coffee on a monthly basis. Above all, Stupfell wants to provide a safe space for new employees to ask questions.

“I love to be able to help share our culture and share our story, but I am always just fascinated with people,” she added. “I am trying to be an even better listener, because I feel like I can always learn something from someone else who is sitting across the table from me.”

As Stupfell enters her 17th year at the bank, she remains motivated by the people she helps in her role, inside and outside of bank walls. “It’s being part of something that is bigger than myself,” she said. “It’s been a mission match from day one for me. My personal values have aligned with the company and the ownership.”