Q & A with Eris Sandler
Market President, BankUnited
By Samantha Rojas
Eris Sandler is market president for BankUnited’s Miami-Dade and Broward County branches.
BankUnited was recapitalized by a group of private equity investors in May 2009 in a history-making transaction. Today BankUnited has more than $11 billion in assets and more than 80 branch locations in 13 Florida counties. In February 2011, BankUnited completed the largest US bank IPO in history and trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol BKU.
Sandler joined BankUnited after spending five years as regional president of Colonial Bank/BB&T’s Retail Banking Division. She previously held leadership positions in the branch and retail divisions of Regions Bank, SouthTrust, BankAtlantic and Barnett Bank. During her 25-year career, she has held positions in retail sales and product development, credit, wealth management and commercial lending.
Active in the local community, Sandler is member of the boards of directors of Kids in Distress, the Young At Art Children’s Museum, JAFCO, American Heart Association and the Business for the Arts of Broward. She has shared her time and talents with the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, the Urban League of Broward County and Robert Morris Associates.
1. As a business person, what makes you passionate about the arts?
The arts add value to the business community as well as the Broward community at large. Cities gain value through the arts…cultural, social and economic value. Art adds a uniqueness and meaning to our County; which helps to further differentiate our communities from one another. Other than for a job or for schools, it creates a compelling reason for people to move to and, ultimately, remain in a community. On a personal level, when I am not working, I enjoy all the arts and culture that Broward County affords to its residents.
2. How do you feel that arts and business should and do intersect in general, and in Broward County specifically?
The business community should take an aggressive stance in the desire to support the arts - whether it means sponsoring arts and cultural events, assisting with fundraising efforts and capital campaigns, and attending as many arts and cultural events as is possible.
In Broward County, we are starting to emerge as a cultural force thanks to a focus on the arts by the business community. Through the efforts and generosity of many of our business owners and leaders, our County is starting to gain recognition as a place to visit for a wide variety of arts and cultural events.
3. Tell us about your business in Broward County, and how you see it growing and developing?
BankUnited is a South Florida-based financial institution with its largest presence in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. As a result, our executive management team is particularly interested in supporting the local community, be it charitable or arts and cultural causes. We know if we work to support the local community, it will help create a better quality of life for all residents, whether they are clients of the bank or not.
4. What are ways you feel we can forge this relationship between your business and the creative industries, on a continual basis?
The best way to forge a close knit relationship between BankUnited and the creative community is to keep us informed.
Keep us involved….let us serve on boards, send us communication updates, send us invitations to attend functions of all types, basically insist that we play a role in a variety of organizations each and every day.
5. What can we do; we – the local arts agency; we - the citizens?
As I mentioned above, it is all about getting the business community involved. The more businesses that get drawn into the arts and cultural organizations, the more individuals/citizens within those organizations will ultimately participate.
6. How have the arts impacted your life, personally and professionally?
As I have grown in my professional career, I have come to realize that without the benefit of a culturally thriving community, you have a very uninspiring County.
I have been blessed to be asked to participate on the board of an organization called Business for the Arts of Broward. It is an organization that engages businesses and business leaders to advocate and educate about the importance of the County’s arts and cultural community. Business for the Arts of Broward also recognizes the connection between cultural vitality, creative success and economic development.
7. How important do you think art and culture, as an interactive feature, are to a developing city?
In order for a developing city to evolve at a healthy pace and with the right balance of economic and cultural attributes, it must have a business community that cares as much about building a successful arts and cultural network as it cares about building up the economic aspect of the business community.
8. Additional thoughts?
I feel very fortunate to live and work in Broward County. Moreover, I am privileged to be a part of the community that both works hard from a business perspective; but also, thrives as a result of the arts and cultural aspects of the County.
Business for the Arts of Broward
Business for the Arts of Broward is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) engaging businesses and business leaders to advocate and educate about the importance of the County’s art and cultural community as well as to recognize the connection between cultural vitality, creative success, and economic development.
For more information contact Robyn Vegas at 954-940-5344