When Stacia Schrader left New York for Florida nearly 18 years ago, she chose St. Pete over Miami because she felt she could make a difference here. The vice president of First Home Bank is a powerhouse supporter of the arts in our community, most especially helping the SHINE Mural Festival continue to thrive, through clouds of financial uncertainty, logistical swamps and a pandemic. Her next community event is the Roser Park Tour of Homes and Porchfest on March 19. "I'm trying to get vendors, and do my volunteer work, to make my neighborhood a little bit better, and connected to our performing artists here in St. Pete," she explains. "I think they need a little bit of love on top of the visual arts."
Years in St. Pete
I moved here 17 years ago from New York.
Organizations involved in
I am a board member on the Florida Craft Art Board. I am a Shine Origination member. I’ve been working with the SHINE Mural Festival for seven years now and absolutely love it. And I just was elected as vice-chair for the city of St. Petersburg Public Arts Commission.
What gets you out of bed every day?
In this beautiful city, the one thing that jazzes me is interaction with people. I absolutely love the stories that they bring. And as a banker, I get to see the business side of people. I get to see the highs and lows of someone’s life through their finances. But I just really love the journey that they take me on. I get to live vicariously through all my clients, so there are some days when I might be a little tired getting out of bed, but I never know what awaits me. I’m a traveler at heart, so I get to travel through the people that I come in contact with.
Why St. Pete?
My husband and I were leaving New York after 911. Some things just changed drastically, and we started looking around, and we wanted to come to Florida. And we originally thought it was Miami. But we spent some time here, and we realized that Miami might have been as big as New York, but we couldn’t affect change. Here in St. Pete – we got here, it feels like a really big beach town with a heartbeat, but we could still do things that mattered. We felt like we could make a difference. And 17 years to now, we’ve been able to help change the direction, I think, a little bit and help shape the direction of where our city is going. It’s still that proper size.
What is one habit that you keep?
I am forever positive, Miss Pollyanna. It’s something that aggravates a lot of people around me, but I just always look at the bright side. I don’t want to live in the dark. And anything that I look at that is going south, I’m like, no, we’re going to pull you up, try to figure out the good way, the good path.
Who are some people that influence you?
Well, I get that positivity from my mother. She was a young widow and then had her own health issues, but she never let us know that she was struggling. And every day she just got up and said, I’m just going to put one foot in front of the other and get ‘er done. And with a smile on my face, she really instilled that in us. We never say never in my family and just I love her every day for that. And then I think here in St. Pete, I would say, Kathryn Howd, she’s been on a couple of boards with me and it’s just the volunteerism that she brings to the city as an artist and as just a super volunteer. I’m just amazed she really doesn’t want anything back from it. She’s just doing it to, again, affect change and positive energy and shows everything from being an artist and bringing her creativity to us to buying art, spending money on local artists, and helping develop their business sense and creative sense as well. As you see her at every single festival almost, and she will always give her time.
What is one piece of insight - a book, methodology, practice - that you would share with our readers?
About eight years ago, I got involved with Gallup String Finders and it finally made sense to my personality and to those around me. I finally got myself from it. I’ve taken a lot of personality tests as an executive from all my companies and this one just really, truly sunk in. It enabled myself and my assistant to become an “oil and water” sense of trying to get along and run a business to “oh, you like to do that?” I like to do this good. That’s a good team. It just really got my strength to the top of my understanding of how I went about my day. So that the things that I didn’t love to do, I figured out why I didn’t love to do them and I’d go about them in a different way and that just made it easier.
What is one thing you wish you knew about your work 3 years ago?
As a banker? I wish I saw Covid coming. I think I did an okay job of preparing people’s finances and trying to teach them about how to prepare for that. The general six months of savings that we in the finance world, we try to get you to set aside. That wasn’t quite enough. So I think that if I could have seen that coming, I just would have maybe had a little more confidence, I think, in the structure of what we’ve got because of the stimulus programs that went out, the PPP programs, the structured venue that finally hit and in between all the bridge loans, we were able to keep it together, but our confidence got rocked. And I think that we’ve got to build that back. And I wish I just would have seen it coming and had a little more confidence, I guess.
Well, I am currently at First Home Bank and we’re going through a name change. So we’re going to be changing that, we think March or April to May 1. So hopefully I will be there to let you guys all know that we are not being bought, but we’re just changing our name and growing as the St. Pete headquarters bank. I live in historic Roser Park, and we have a music festival in March. I’m on that committee. It’s going to be an exciting 2022.