Watson’s focus is on finance and philanthropy | Monday’s Man

A life in banking also led to philanthropy for James Watson.

He is Senior Vice President and Senior Commercial Banker at WesBanco and started his career as an accountant in his home town of Leitchfield. There he worked on numerous non-profit and government audits as well as tax filings. He turned to a career in the banking sector in 2003.

At one point in his career, he served as CFO of Community Action of Southern Kentucky.

“While I’ve always strived to have a charitable heart, working with a nonprofit such as Community Action has provided me with a new perspective,” he said. “This new perspective has sparked an even greater desire in me to help the many great nonprofits in our area that help those in need.”

When he returned to banking, he focused on commercial lending and management. In 2017, he became the lead market lender for United Bank & Trust Co. in the Heartland region and became part of WesBanco Bank through the merger in 2018.

Marilyn Ford, City Chair, Heartland Region of WesBanco, called Watson a “dedicated, educated, trained and highly skilled professional banker.”

“But more important than that, he’s an amazing person,” she said. “He cares deeply for his clients, his colleagues and his community as he works tirelessly to help people in his many roles, professionally and personally.”

She said he invests in people with his time building relationships and volunteering.

“He is often the first person to step in when a need is recognized and to help,” she said. “No matter the circumstances or the need, I know I can always count on James to be there to help, if needed, as everyone who knows him does.”

Working in commercial banking, he said, allows him to use all of his education and career. He said it was very helpful in helping people expand their existing business or start a new one.

“I want to make a difference in my community and with everyone around me,” he said. “Simply put, I want to leave the world better than I found it.”

He said God has blessed him and he wants to do whatever he can to give back.

As a banker, he tries to be a good steward of people’s trust in him to look after their livelihood. He also enjoys problem solving by helping people solve their financial problems.

“I realize that not everyone has a background in accounting and finance and honestly financial matters can sometimes be overwhelming for people,” he said. “I’m grateful to be able to work to ease this burden for some people, and I’m beyond appreciative of the trust they place in me.”

Outside of banking, he has been involved in various charities in the region.

He currently sits on the board of Helping Hand of Hope and has served on the board since 2018.

“Helping Hand of Hope is important to me as it offers compassionate and loving relief in the name of Jesus Christ to those in need by providing immediate assistance and appropriate referrals to meet basic human needs,” he said. declared. “Helping those in need within our community simply feels like the right thing to do and I’m a firm believer in the mission of Helping Hand of Hope.”

Helping Hand of Hope chief executive Hope Burke said Watson was an asset. He became president as she became director.

“We were then thrown into a pandemic,” she said. “James has always treated everyone here at Helping Hand of Hope with dignity and he truly cares about the mission and the clients we serve.”

She said he had a heart of gold and considered it a blessing to the organization.

Watson also sits on the campaign committee for the Community University Center and Elizabethtown Technical College, which helps with fundraising.

“The University Center will be such an asset to our community and will positively impact the lives of many future generations,” he said. “Education has been very important to me and I am grateful for the opportunities it has given me.”

When he received his education, he had to travel from his home town of Leitchfield. The University Center helps students desire an education that is easier and without the need to travel far from home, he said.

He has served on the Hosparus Health Central Kentucky Community Board of Directors since 2016 and served as Chair from 2017 to 2019 and again in 2022.

Hosparus Health is important to Watson because the organization helped his father during his long battle with cancer. Through this experience, he understood the importance of Hosparus.

“I am so lucky to be able to be part of an organization that provides services such as palliative care, palliative care and bereavement counseling to so many families in our area,” he said. “My life has been greatly enriched through my experience serving Hosparus Health Central Kentucky.”

He is also a member of the Salvation Army Advisory Council, Elizabethtown Noon Rotary and Severns Valley Baptist Church.

When her family moved from Grayson to Hardin County, they decided they were “all together” and wanted to give back to the community where they lived, worked, loved and played.

“Hardin County is my home and I want to do everything I can to improve the community in any way I can,” he said. “My life has been enriched by the community in which I live, and volunteering and community service is a duty that I take seriously.”

It was humbling to be part of the organizations in the region, he said.

“I hope everyone will look for a way to give back through a channel they are passionate about,” he said. “When we work to improve the lives of members of our community, it helps all of us.”

Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1416 bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.

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