QUINCY -- Part of Nicole Costigan's role at Mercantile Bank is to be chairman for the Banking on YOUth program, which funds classroom projects at schools in Quincy and Palmyra, Mo.
Costigan sees the difference the grants up to $500 are making in the classrooms, such as money for field trips; items for science, technology engineering and math projects; special seating; or even just books.
"It's really interesting to see what teachers want and what they don't have money for," Costigan said. "Once we pick who gets all the grants, then we get to award them. It's really fun to go to the schools and surprise the teachers."
The vice president of retail operations and the security officer at Mercantile Bank, Costigan, along with her family, has set up a scholarship fund at St. Francis Solanus School in memory of her sister Allison Holbrook, who died last year after battling cancer. A scholarship fund also was set up at the school where Holbrook taught in Greenview.
"She wanted to focus on what kids could do after they got out of high school, so she started a bunch of things there like a career fair," Costigan said. "The scholarships there go toward the graduating senior, who can apply for a trade school or a college or a first outfit for an interview."
She also is involved with her son's Boy Scout troop and is involved with St. Francis Parish.
"There's always something to be involved with, and it's important to be involved in things like that," Costigan said.
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Family: Husband, Jason; children Jack, 11, Molly, 6.
Bachelor of science in business administration from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
Community Involvement: Chairman of the Banking on YOUth Grant program at Mercantile Bank. Member and Secretary of the Finance Council at St. Francis Solanus Catholic Church. 2016-2017 Co-Chairman of the St Francis Parish Picnic. Chairman of the St. Francis Parish Picnic Kiddie Korner. Treasurer for Boy Scouts of America Troop 22 at St. Francis School.
What is your job, what do you do and what do you like best about it?
I am the Vice President of Retail Operations and the Security Officer at Mercantile Bank. My main focus is to handle the behind the scenes operations and procedures for the front-line branch employees at the bank. I love that because of my long-standing tenure at Mercantile, I am seen as a "go-to" resource that colleagues can rely on.
What is a typical workweek like?
Every day is different, which is great. Most of my time is spent handling day-to-day situations that arise at the branches. Frequently, I help with customer issues, and I'm often working through different reports or procedures that need to be updated. There are also many times when I am collaborating on various projects with other departments of the bank and our holding company, UCB.
What was your first job, and what do you remember about it?
When I was much younger I volunteered for a couple different places. I was a part of a group that volunteered at the Gardner Museum. We all dressed up in period costumes and memorized a script to greet visitors when they came to the museum. I was also a volunteer at Blessing Hospital and worked in the Blessing Daycare Center helping and playing with the children. I remember enjoying both of those jobs very much because they seemed like more fun than work.
How do you balance everything?
I can't live without my calendar. Some days are pretty full, but as long as I can keep track of everything, I'm good.
Who has influenced you the most, and why?
I've had so many wonderful, strong people in my life who have influenced me greatly over the years. Most recently, however, it was my youngest sister, Allison, who has influenced me the most. Last year, at age 30, Allison bravely fought a battle with cancer. Ultimately, she lost that battle, but not before she showed me what it was like to be truly courageous, and to have faith, even in the most difficult situation. She never lost sight of her faith, and I want to live my life in the same way.
Have you ever failed at something? What happened? How did you recover?
Several years ago, I applied for a position at the bank that I really wanted, but I wasn't chosen. For a time, I then had to report directly to the person that was chosen and that was really difficult for me at first. Over time, I came to realize that I had more to learn in order to get to that position. A couple of years later, I moved up to that position and was much better prepared for the job. It ultimately prepared me for the position I am in now.
What does success mean to you?
Knowing that people can rely on me for a job well done, means success for me. I really am proud of the fact that people can ask me for help and know that they can count on me both professionally and in my personal life.
What was your proudest professional moment?
I've worked at Mercantile Bank for 19 years. A few years ago, I was named a Vice President in the bank. That was a significant moment for me, because it meant the bank recognized my hard work and loyalty over the years.
What is your favorite stress buster/leisure time diversion?
Reading a book or listening to music has always been a good way for me to unwind.
What is the biggest need in your community?
One of the committees I'm involved with at Mercantile Bank is our Banking on YOUth Grant program. So many teachers request grants to incorporate new technology into their classrooms because there isn't extra funding for those projects in the school systems. Working with the grant program helps fill some of that gap, but more funding is needed. It is increasingly difficult to keep our children interested in a world filled with so much on-demand technology. By bringing more updated technology into the classrooms, it will keep the children engaged and promote more creative problem-solving skills, which in turn will lead to better prepared adults in our community.
What gives you reason for optimism in your community?
The general kindness of most Quincyians. Quincy is a very giving, caring, and welcoming community and we tend to come together to accomplish big things.
If you could go back in time and give advice to yourself when you were in high school, what would it be?
Don't be so timid. It's okay to be bold!
If you could add a few more hours to the day, how would you spend them?
I would spend extra time with my family having fun. Often our time spent together seems to be rushed with the busyness of life. It would be nice to be able to have a few extra hours in the day to focus on being a family without having to think of everything else that still needs to be done in the day.
Do you live by any mantra or saying?
Don't worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Philippians 4:6
Career aspirations aside, name one thing you definitely want to accomplish in your lifetime.
I'd like to be able to travel the country someday.