Banking is in her blood
Plain and simple, Cara Frank loves to help others. The Bell State Bank and Trust vice president and branch manager in Detroit Lakes and Audubon said she looks forward to coming into work every day.
"The biggest thing for me is I enjoy working with people," she said. "You're constantly meeting new people every day."
Bell State is an independently owned bank based in Fargo.
"It's nice knowing who you're working for," Frank said, adding that it's not uncommon to have the bank owner personally greet you and say hi when she's waiting for the elevator at the Fargo location. "It makes you feel like you're actually making an impact, making a difference in this company."
Frank graduated from Lake Superior State University in Duluth, where for a period of time she studied mortuary science, in 2000 with an associate of arts degree. Shortly after, she moved to Hawley and started a part-time job as a bank teller and loan processor.
"Since then, (banking) has really been an interest to me. It's weird," she said. "I hated math in school."
She was with First Security Bank in Detroit Lakes for nine years before moving to Bell State Bank in April this year.
Her hard work ethic was encouraged growing up in the small town of Alborn, Minn., and Frank believes that is what has brought her success in life.
"I think growing up in a small town is what made me who I am," she said. "I learned at a young age how to give back and how to pitch in."
She said she's worked her way up in the banking world from a teller to vice president through hard work, determination and the willingness to learn.
"I'm still learning new things," she said. "That's the joke around here. I always tell everybody, 'Oh, I learned my new thing today. I'm good for the day.' I've been here since April and I think I learn something new every day still and I've been in banking for 12 years."
The vice president doesn't just ride her chair in a big corner office, either. Frank is very comfortable jumping in anywhere when needed at the bank.
"I jumped in line last night and helped out when the tellers were busy. So I can still do that," she said. "It's a nice tool to have in the box. That I've been there and I do know."
She attributes her broad knowledge of the banking operation to working at a smaller town bank, where it is expected that you know several facets of the business.
"At a small bank you are responsible for a lot of the in-depth operational side, which helps you also if you are willing to learn and be able to help other people," she said.
Frank lives in Frazee with her husband of 11 years, Mike, and two sons, Reed, 16, and Caden, 8. Mike is a regional manager for Metal Sales in Detroit Lakes and is on the road a lot, leaving Frank to coordinate her busy schedule along with being a good mother. Her secret?
"Good scheduling," she said with a laugh. "It's good. It's good for your kids to get into a schedule and stability and structure."
The family loves camping, fishing and hunting together.
"Yes. I am a hunter," Frank said. "Because my husband is an avid hunter and so are the boys, so I figured if you can't beat 'em, join 'em."
She also plays volleyball and softball in rec leagues and is a proud "mat mom," as her sons are both in Frazee wrestling.
Frank and her son, Caden, also share a love of antiquing and picking.
"He gets it from his mom," she said. "His favorite place to shop in DL is SuLaine's. He loves going in there. So we treasure hunt together. He's my little picker."
The 2008 Northwest Water Carnival admiral, Frank was an active member of the Detroit Lakes Jaycees for seven years, holding every office in the organization except for president. She currently sits on two church committees at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Frazee and is on the board of the United Way of Becker County.
She has chaired the United Way business drive and Community Celebration numerous times.
"I really do enjoy giving back and helping people," Frank said.