Since joining Community First Bank of Harrison in December 2001, Ann Main has helped oversee operations where total assets have grown from $203 million to $496 million.
Main was named chief financial officer in 2004 after originally joining the Boone County lender to work on special projects.
The 53-year-old executive now holds the additional posts of executive vice president and chief operating officer at the bank while serving on the Community First board of directors and its holding company, Community First Bancshares Inc.
Main said a secret to her success was staying on top of the little things to prevent the big things from becoming overwhelming.
“Then when a big issue arises, there’s not 1,000 little neglected issues jumping from all directions to create distractions,” she said. “I’m analytical and do not enjoy chaos. But it is unavoidable, so sanity depends on the management of the whole.”
Main considered a career in medicine, but the favorable classroom influence of a high school teacher in Jasper (Newton County) ultimately set her on the path to an accounting degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.
After graduating from college in 1980, an entry-level job offer opened the door to a 32-year career in banking.
Main worked her way through the ranks, starting as a teller and moving to the accounting department at First National Bank of Harrison (1980-84). She rose to CFO and operations division manager at the bank during 1984-95 as the name changed to Worthen National Bank.
Main remained with the bank through succeeding ownership and name changes with Boatmen’s as a senior vice president and operations division manager, 1995-97, and Bank of America as senior bank executive and consumer regional executive, 1997-2001.
“I recognize that every individual is unique in what makes them tick, and I try to identify and maximize their potential,” Main said of her management philosophy. “I’m not as black-and-white as I used to be and have learned to exist a bit in the gray. It makes it much easier to understand other points of view.”
Outside the office, Main serves on the board of trustees and as finance chair at Harrison’s North Arkansas Regional Medical Center. She also serves as treasurer and a board member of the Goblin Booster Club, which has funded a multimillion-dollar upgrade of the Harrison High School’s athletic facilities.
Main has identified an important component to coping with the sometimes long hours and trying situations that can arise while at work or tending to civic duties.
“Barring human tragedy, there is some degree of humor in every situation,” she said. “Find it. Leverage it. Laugh about it.”