GBA Member Profile

Janet Leach
Vice President, Controller
Oconee State Bank, Watkinsville
2017 Georgia Banking School Graduate of Distinction
Member, Georgia Banking School Board of Directors

Q: How long have you been in banking, and will you share a little insight with us about how you became a career banker?

I have been in banking a total of 22 years  my entire working career. I worked as a bank teller while in college and worked my way up to assistant controller of a savings & loan while obtaining a degree in Accounting at night from Mercer University. I was then a stay-at-home mom for 12 years, working for my husband’s construction company as accountant. I returned to banking as controller for The National Bank of Georgia in Athens and currently serve as the controller for Oconee State Bank in Watkinsville. 

Q: What are some leadership lessons you learned early on that you still use today?

Treat your co-workers with dignity and respect and always look for the positive. Positive leaders create positive cultures. Creating a culture that is strong and positive and surrounding yourself with other positive individuals will help you to form a great team and set you on the road to success! Be thankful for your job and work family. Every day is a gift! 
Q: What’s your quick pitch to your peers or those younger than you, who may be considering getting into banking as a career?

Banking is a very rewarding career. Ultimately you are helping others to become successful whether it is the customers obtaining their first car or home loan, or starting up a new business.  The work environment is also  very rewarding as you develop lasting relationships and work together to help the bank become a success story. Every job within the bank is important! Every person has the opportunity to grow from one job to the next if they choose to work hard.
Q: What are some of the reasons bankers should attend the Georgia Banking School, May 6-11?

Georgia Banking School is a dynamic three-year program that sets you on the course to success in banking at the highest possible level. Other than my brief time as a teller, I have always worked in the operations areas of the bank. Georgia Banking School gives you a view of the entire bank from being a lender, funding the bank, managing interest rate risk, measuring and evaluating bank performance, servicing customers—it even gives a glimpse into the top management positions of the bank. It brings the entire picture into focus and gives you a great sense of what it's like to run the bank and make important decisions. It has definitely been a highlight of my banking career so far. 
Q: What is one thing your GBA friends might not know about you?

I have two children who recently graduated from college. My son, Kyle, is a transportation engineer in Atlanta, and my daughter, Rachel, is a production coordinator in the film and television industry in Nashville, TN. I am very proud of them both! My husband Keith and I enjoy visiting them often.  I am very blessed in both my work life and home life!