Senior Vice President, Government Relations
Georgia Bankers Association
Q: Can you share a little bit of history with us about how your career in government relations began and developed?
I went to Washington, D.C., one summer while in college and interned for my Congressman, who was Richard Ray. After that experience, I wanted to return to D.C. after graduation and was fortunate to land in Sen. Sam Nunn’s office. I stayed with his office for nearly eight years until his retirement. At that time, I heard that Joe Brannen was looking for someone in this role with the GBA so I latched on and didn’t let go until he hired me.
Q: People in the banking and government relations world see you as an epitome of effective leaderhip at both the state and federal level. What is one leadership lesson you have learned that you still think about today?
I try to remember the age-old qualities of respect for others and perseverance. Another notion that I try to remember is that most challenges are attainable if you believe in yourself. And, it must be said, that bankers are the epitome of leaders in their communities.
Q: Who gets the most credit for driving you to succeed and grow as an individual? From the beginning until now; who has made the biggest impact?
I’ve had the good fortune of having great teachers in my professional life – folks that are highly motivated who also want those around them to be successful. Before that, nothing would have been possible without the support, encouragement and love from family that continues today.
Q: 2016 is a year many people are saying will dramatically transform the United States, and perhaps global political landscape. We are already seeing some of the key roles that Georgians may play in the future administration in Washington. How important is it for bankers in Georgia to remain actively engaged with their lawmakers to make sure we keep a strong voice in the state as well as in Washington, D.C.?
One thing is sure; if bankers are not at the table then our industry will be on the menu. That goes for state and federal level advocacy. The first way bankers can participate in 2017 is come to the GBA Legislative Reception on Jan. 11. We are cautiously optimistic going into the next session of Congress that some regulatory relief is possible. We also will be working hard during the next session of the Georgia General Assembly with initiatives to update the banking code and modernize the Business Judgement Rule that has been used in court against some bank directors. We also have to be careful about initiatives that others may be bringing that aren’t in our favor.
Q: When you’re not working on GBA government relations duties, other civic or business community obligations, what do you like to do?
I don’t have one particular hobby, but I enjoy travel and spending time with family and friends.