Chris Furlow

Chris Furlow
TBA President & CEO

May issue dedicated to Olivia Carmichael Solis

Olivia Carmichael SolisOn behalf of the Board of Directors and staff of the Texas Bankers Association, we proudly dedicate this May 2021 issue of Texas Banking to our dear friend and colleague Olivia Carmichael Solis. Olivia officially retires as TBA’s senior vice president of communications and marketing on May 31. It is hard to imagine our leadership team without her.

For 22 years, Olivia has given voice to bankers across the state. The Texas Banking magazine — for which she has served as editor-in-chief — has been a showcase for Olivia’s talents and leadership. This magazine has been a testament to her commitment to telling the story of the Texas banking industry. But there is so much more to Olivia’s own story.

Olivia came to TBA in May of 1999 after an accomplished career in journalism as a reporter for The Valley Morning Star and The Houston Chronicle. She also served in state government and as communications director for the Texas Restaurant Association. Then Olivia found her home at TBA.

From writing magazine articles, press releases, website copy, marketing pieces to interviewing bankers and legislators, taking photos, creating videos and making board presentations, Olivia has effectively utilized her diverse range of communication skills. She has been a trusted media advisor to TBA chairs, executive leaders and bank members. In 2005, she brought the production of Texas Banking in-house and has expanded it to become a national multi-award-winning publication.

But the remarkable recognition Olivia has achieved outside of TBA cannot match the impression she has left inside our TBA family. The reflections of TBA Senior Art Director Katherine Kolstedt are representative of Olivia’s lasting professional and personal impact:

“I am forever indebted and grateful to Olivia because she had confidence in me, so much so that she put her job on the line to hire me at TBA in 2004. Since then, our relationship has grown to the point where we are always on the same page. Olivia is such a talented scribe — she can write an entire article in 20 minutes! And editing an article? She can knock it out so quick that I often wonder how she can be so accurate and fast. She is a true wordsmith. She encompasses everything an employee would want in a supervisor — not only through her talent, but also as a leader and peer. Olivia will be sorely missed and leaves big shoes to fill.”

Indeed, very big shoes to fill.

“Under Olivia, the Texas Bankers Foundation has expanded and grown, with millions raised for educational institutions and student scholarships, as well as disaster relief efforts in the wake of catastrophes like Hurricane Harvey and, more recently, COVID-19,” said Foundation Director Jocelyn Carby. “I will be eternally grateful that she recommended me to take the reins of the Foundation and for her guidance and partnership over the last 15 years.”

“I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have served the banking industry for the past 22 years,” said Olivia. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed meeting bankers from all areas of the state and reporting on the wonderful things they do for their communities and customers. TBA has been my second family, and I will miss our devoted staff and working alongside the very talented Marketing & Communications Team. But all good things must come to an end, and with six grandchildren nearby and our newly built retirement home in the Hill Country, there is no better time to write that next big story in my life.”

Olivia, your friends and colleagues at TBA wish we were as eloquent as you as we try our best to find fitting words to say farewell. So, we’ll simply say thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We wish you and your husband, Lee, many years of happiness as you enter this new chapter of your lives with more time for one other, your grandchildren and brilliant sunsets at your ranch. God bless you!