Saturday, July 20, 2024

Williamsburg native takes community all the way to the bank

Williamsburg native Leigh Houghland was recently promoted to Regional Executive of Chesapeake Bank’s Williamsburg market. (Courtesy photo)
Williamsburg native Leigh Houghland was recently promoted to Regional Executive of Chesapeake Bank’s Williamsburg market. (Courtesy photo)

As someone born and raised in Williamsburg, Leigh Houghland knows what a special place it is.

Which is why he’s working to give back to the town — and he’s in a special position to do so. Houghland was recently promoted to Regional Executive of Chesapeake Bank’s Williamsburg market. Through his involvement with the bank, as well as various community organizations, he plans to ensure Williamsburg remains exceptional for all of its residents.

While his role at the bank may be new, Houghland has been active with local civic groups for years, including the Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA, the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance, Child Development Resources(CDR), and the Kiwanis Club of Williamsburg.

He’s currently president of the Board of Directors for the Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA. His focus is growing an endowment to enable the YMCA to provide swim lessons to all second-grade children in the area it serves.

“I think swimming is a skill that we all should have, especially given all the water we are surrounded by here,” Houghland said. “It’s so important. If we can save just one life by providing swim lessons, that would be pretty powerful.”

Looking after Williamsburg’s youth is a priority for Houghland, who was also recently appointed vice president of the Board of Directors for CDR. The organization provides early intervention services for children from birth through age three. Houghland started out as a finance committee member for CDR and most recently served as treasurer.

“CDR is an incredible organization,” he said. “I am happy to give them my support.”
Houghland also enjoys being a part of Kiwanis Club of Williamsburg.

“Kiwanis is another civic organization that gives to children, and I enjoy volunteering with them,” said Houghland, president-elect of the group. “I’ve also met some of my best friends through Kiwanis.”

For the past ten years, Houghland has been active with the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance. He is immediate past chair of the Chamber. The organization witnessed an increase in membership under Houghland’s leadership after he helped enact a new membership policy to make it more affordable to join the Chamber.

“I wanted to be involved with the Chamber to help support the economic health of Williamsburg,” Houghland said. “I like that it cheerleads for our businesses. I also enjoy working with other business leaders and being an advocate for businesses.”

Working with business owners is what drove Houghland to a career in banking. Houghland, a graduate of Wake Forest University and the American Bankers Association Stonier Graduate School of Banking, joined Chesapeake Bank in 2015 as a commercial loan officer. In his new role, he will manage the bank’s retail and commercial banking presence in the Williamsburg market.

“What I enjoy about business banking is learning about the different businesses and becoming a partner in their success,” he said.

Many of Chesapeake Bank’s employees are active in the community, including Marshall Warner, who first brought the community bank to the Williamsburg area and whom Houghland succeeds.

“Our tagline is ‘It’s All About Community,’ and Chesapeake Bank really models that,” Houghland said. “Our employees are amazingly engaged. I hope to follow in Marshall’s footsteps and continue his stewardship. I hope to see Chesapeake Bank continue as a strong community supporter and partner to our customers and the businesses we work with.”

Jeff Szyperski, President and CEO of Chesapeake Bank, has no doubt Houghland will.
“Leigh exhibits a strong commitment to making his community a better place,” Szyperski said. “Whether it is through banking or his non-profit involvement, he always contributes.”

Houghland is just as devoted to his family: his wife, Laurie, who works at Bruton High School, and his two children, Callie and Will. They all enjoy what Williamsburg has to offer.

“Our community is such a treasure,” Houghland said. “I would never want to live anywhere else. To have the power to give back and make this a great place for everyone is a wonderful thing.”

Read more profiles of local residents in WYDaily’s section In Our Hometown

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