VP and Senior Trust Officer,
St.Clairsville, Ohio, 38
It didn't take Kristie Barnett long to figure out life after college.
Barnett, a Wheeling native, knew big city life wasn't for her.
"I would rather be in an area where I can make a difference than be one of millions just going about life, being part of the wheel but not making a difference," she said. "They instilled that in us when I was a freshman at Bethany College, the idea that we didn't have to wait to make a difference — anyone who wants to can take a leadership role if they feel passionately about something."
Barnett graduated from Bethany summa cum laude in 1997 with dual degrees in economics and French. In those days, a semester abroad was required for foreign language majors. She spent hers in Paris, working as an au pair.
"It gave me a very strong appreciation for my own culture, as well as respecting differences in other cultures," said Barnett, who earned her MBA from Wheeling Jesuit University. "I found there are a lot of different ways to do things, a lot of different ways to live. There's no right or wrong way, you just have to be open to new possibilities and learning."
After graduation she took a trainee position at WesBanco's Wheeling headuarters, working her way up to vice president of trust services during her 17 years there. She currently manages more than 230 trust accounts and has a supervisory role within her department. And she loves Wheeling.
"I don't think there are many communities the size of ours that have the kinds of resources that we do — the symphony, two beautiful parks, people dedicated to the arts," she said. "People here know and care about one another; they're concerned about helping others."
She's a sustaining member of the Junior League of Wheeling, campaign vice chair and former board member for the Wheeling Area United Way, a member of the Bethany College Alumni Council and president of the Estate Planning Council.