GBA Member Profile

Deesha Hagwood
Chair, 2018-2019 GBA Marketing Committee
Vice President - Marketing
Oconee State Bank 

Q: What do you hope to accomplish in your role as chair of this year’s GBA Marketing Committee?

I would love to see our committee increase in size and participation and to be the premier resource for bank marketing teams across Georgia by continuing to offer innovative insights and solutions at each peer group meeting. It’s an exciting time to be working in marketing at a community bank, but it also can be overwhelming to keep pace with the changing trends and technologies in the banking world. As chair of the GBA Marketing Committee, the way to support members and achieve these goals is as simple as connecting people to solutions. By doing so, our committee as a whole can support the advancement of banking in Georgia to an even higher standard of excellence.

Q: When you think of the future of the banking industry in Georgia, what makes you concerned and what makes you hopeful?

I definitely have more hopes in regard to the future of the banking industry in Georgia than I do concerns. Everyone is uneasy about the constantly changing political climate and how that will continue to affect legislation in the banking industry, as well as the potential for another financial crisis looming on the horizon. The influx of fintechs as disrupters of the traditional methods of banking and finance is not a comfortable spot for any community banker. However, we have never been more educated and equipped to respond in the political arena regarding bank legislation than we are today, thanks in large part to the steady and successful efforts of key lobbying endeavors on behalf of Georgia banks. The fintech conversation has become one of potential for banks across the spectrum, as we begin to consider departing from the confrontation aspect and shifting to a tone of collaboration. Innovation is happening at the speed of light, and there is never been a better time to find ways to connect our customers with solutions that create value for their life.

Q: What one memory do you most treasure in your career so far in the banking industry?

I am blessed to have been with Oconee State Bank for almost 20 years, so I have an entire tapestry of memories woven into my career in banking. The 2016 “passing of the baton” between our former President and CEO, Amrey Harden, to our new President and CEO, Neil Stevens, has likely been one of the major highlights in recent memory. These two banking leaders merged history and future in the most remarkable manner. Amrey’s legacy is the foundation of our community bank, and Neil’s vision is our future. It was wonderful to witness and be a part of this special time in my bank’s history.

Q: What's the most important lesson you've learned in the last year?

Don’t sweat the small stuff and, as cliche as it sounds, enjoy the present, for it is truly a gift. My mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in March of 2017. As a mother of two myself who depends on her almost daily as my resident “life expert,” it totally rocked my world and immediately rearranged my priorities. None of us are perfect in how we give of ourselves in our personal and professional lives, but in these defining moments, life has a funny way of putting things in perspective for us. I strive every day to find balance, be present and enjoy it all. I don’t always get it right, but I’m thankful that with each new day comes new opportunities to try again.

Q: When are you the happiest? 

My joy in life comes from my family, my faith, my circle of friends and the people I’ve been blessed to do life with. I’m so thankful to say that circle includes my Oconee State Bank family and my local community. I also love traveling, coffee and a good autobiography!