SVP/Chief Risk Officer/Compliance Officer/ISO
The Piedmont Bank
Peachtree Corners, GA
Vice Chair, Leadership GBA Board of Directors
Q: What was your first job, and was there a lesson you learned there that you still use today?
A: My first job was a part-time teller at the Bank of Monticello in my hometown of Monticello, Georgia. I would go to work at the bank after school, on the weekends, and school breaks. I learned so many valuable lessons during my time at the Bank of Monticello that I still carry with me today. There are two pieces of information that stick out in my mind: Steve Jordan, the bank president, knew I was going to the University of Georgia to major in accounting. He pulled out the bank’s general ledger and explained two key items: loans are assets and deposits are liabilities. As a future accounting major, this seemed completely backwards, but I’m so glad he took the time to explain that to a young 18-year-old starting her college career as an accounting major! Here’s the second tidbit that sticks out in my mind: I learned from Don Kelly, vice president of the bank, that when signing information, it doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t have a date! I believe his exact words were “It don’t mean a dern if it ain’t got a date.” My time at the Bank of Monticello solidified my desire to specializing in learning how to audit financial institutions in college and immediately afterwards. Thankfully, eventually, I came back to my “first love” industry!
Q: What drew you to the banking/financial services industry?
A: Related to the first question my first job was in a bank as a part-time teller. I loved my time in the bank. I loved talking to customers, and I loved helping customers! At a young age, I saw how vitally important the community banker was to a small town and I wanted to be a part of making a difference in my community.
Q: When you think about the future of the banking industry, what makes you hopeful and what makes you concerned?
A: The future of the banking industry is ever evolving – ever changing. I’m hopeful as I know every day brings a new challenge, a new experience. But mostly, I’m hopeful in community banking because I still see on a day-to-day basis how we as community bankers are helping our communities. No matter what comes our way (global pandemic included) the banking industry strives to help the folks in our communities.
Q: If you could thank someone for becoming the professional you are today, who would it be and why?
A: a. I have been blessed with so many individuals God has placed in my life that have helped mold me into the professional and person I am today. My parents, Russell and Angie Bennett, receive full credit for instilling my hard work ethic. I distinctly remember both parents telling my brother and I on numerous occasions: You may not be the smartest person in a room at a given time, but you will be the hardest working person in the room. Secondly, my career mentor, Tim Keadle, has provided career advice time and time and time again. He reinforced the hard work ethic my parents taught, and he has taught me innumerable lessons about the banking industry. Ever since he hired me to work at his firm straight out of college, he has been pouring into my career and my career development.
Q: What would someone be surprised to learn about you?
A: I love to sing! I serve on the praise team at my church!