GBA Member Profile

Jennifer Eavenson
Human Resource Director
United Bank, Griffin, GA
Group 4 rep., GBA HR Committee

Q: What was your first job, and was there a lesson you learned there that you still use today?
A: My first job was working at Belk’s department store. I was 15 years old and was able to work part time though an early school release program that was offered in conjunction with a business class I was taking in high school. I learned so many things that have served me well in all of my jobs: be dependable and reliable, get to work early, be helpful and friendly to all customers and co-workers, do your best with every task, always be willing to do whatever is needed, volunteer to assist others, don’t assume, ask questions for clarification and recognize and appreciate that every customer has different wants and needs.

Q:  What drew you to a career in human resources and/or the banking industry?
A: I always laugh and say that as a middle child, I was born into the role of HR. I was the problem solver, soother and negotiated compromises with my siblings. I was taking a business management class at University of Georgia and worked on an HR project with a local company. I loved everything about it! I liked the challenge of finding solutions to problems, communicating up, down and across an organization, and thinking through the impact that implementing the project would have on employees and customers. It all made sense to me, and I felt that I had found my calling. Being a banker came naturally to me. My father was a banker and loved his profession. I worked at the bank with him while I was in high school and every summer while I was in college. I feel fortunate to have spent the majority of my HR career in the banking industry.

Q: When you think about the future of the banking industry, what makes you hopeful and what makes you concerned?
A: I have seen the banking industry go through many changes and evolve over the years. I believe that the future continues to look bright. A bank is really the people who work there. I think that we need to continue to attract employees at all levels who want a profession where they can build relationships with customers, help individuals and businesses realize their dreams and make a difference in their communities. I am concerned with the challenge of being able to attract and retain the next generation of bankers. Current bankers need to be willing to recruit and hire new employees with “soft” transitional skills and then teach them the business of banking.

Q: If you could thank someone for becoming the professional you are today, who would it be and why?
A: My first professional job after college was as a junior executive in human resources with Davidson, a division of Macy’s in Atlanta. I had the opportunity to work for a knowledgeable, professional and compassionate HR executive who became my mentor. Barbara Franze set the example and taught me how to be fair in applying policies and procedures, make and deliver hard decisions in a compassionate manner, build positive working relationships with all employees, do the “right thing” (which oftentimes means telling people things they don’t want to hear but need to know), trust my intuition and stand by my ethics.

Q: What would someone be surprised to learn about you?
A: There are two things that I think people would be surprised to learn about me. Business related, not only have I worked with banks in Georgia but have also worked with banks in Chicago, Detroit and Cincinnati. Personally, I love horses and have ridden horses in 11 different countries: Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, Iceland, Croatia, Italy, France, Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic.