Business Q & A

A conversation with Ryan Rackley

At 31, Ryan Rackley has reached a major milestone in his career.

Rackley, a Salina native who has been living and working in Wichita for the past couple of years, has been named a director at a major financial services consulting firm, Cornerstone Advisors.

Cornerstone hired Rackley to advise its bank and credit union customers on a variety of technology related activities, including helping to negotiate contracts with technology vendors and advising on electronic funds transfer matters such as debit and credit cards and ATMs.

"That's where a lot of banks focus on today to deliver services," he said.

Working at Cornerstone is pretty close to being a dream job for Rackley, he said.

He'll be working with mid-size banks and credit unions from coast to coast. Last week he was in Charlotte, N.C.

Rackley started his career at Capitol Federal Savings in Topeka. More recently he worked as a technology consultant to a variety of industries.

But at Cornerstone he will be "laser focused" on working with banks and credit unions.

He is married to Christy and they have children 3 1/2 years and four months old.

"They keep me grounded and motivated," he said.

How did this position with Cornerstone Advisors come about?

"Over the past year or so Cornerstone has seen a very steady stream of business, so much so they are in a growth mode. They really brought me on board to facilitate that growth."

How did you find out about it?

"A couple of things led up to that. One is a mentor — everyone should have a handful of professional mentors — people who you have deep respect for and can go to for candid career advice.

"Standing at the top of that list for me is Bob Roth. He is a managing director at Cornerstone. We have had a working relationship for more than 10 years now and one afternoon I gave him a call to catch up and the conversation went kind of like, 'You know, Ryan, Cornerstone has some really amazing things going on right now. Think you might be interested?' "

You said the other thing leading to your job at Cornerstone was something your father, Dave Rackley, instilled in you growing up. What was it that he said?

"Love what you do, work hard and stay smart. I have lived my life with those three principles and I have not gone wrong yet."

How did you pick banking with a technology-based degree?

"Right out of college I started working for the bank in the business continuity area. I found that the business of banking really interested me."

Cornerstone is based in Scottsdale, Ariz., and you are still living in Wichita. How does that arrangement work?

"Currently I've got what I call a remote office in Wichita that I will be keeping. I might be looking at a move in the future. I'll mainly just be going to the clients, and that means lots of airports, stale coffee and dry doughnuts."

How much of your time do you think will be spent traveling?

"The average I would say is about 30 to 40 percent travel."

Why does banking interest you?

"To be successful, to be a good banker, you have to have a very analytical mind, learn to quickly solve problems."

What did your father and mother do for a living?

"My father is an entrepreneur owning and operating several small businesses throughout his career. He also does a lot of sales work. My mother is an RN. She is the healer and takes care of us all."

Where do you want to be 10 years from now?

"I think the last 10 years has shown me I really enjoy consulting. One of things that drives me is appreciation for my work... when the CEO looks you straight in the eye and says thank you. Personally, that is a huge deal for me.

"Cornerstone is kind of like the Delta Force of the financial industry. The culture of the company makes it a fabulous place for me. The intangible that they have is a high regard for their thought leadership.

"To sum it up, I think I've finally found the right fit for what makes me happy."