How did you get into banking as a career?
CEO, Bank of Early, Blakely
GBA At Large Board Member
After graduation from Florida State University, my first job was in credit analysis with a community bank near my hometown, but I did not plan to become a career banker. Though I enjoyed the analytical role, I preferred more customer contact. After brief stints in a management training position in the textile industry and as an adjunct instructor for Troy University, I returned to banking through a part time position with Bank of Early after a move to Blakely with my husband's employer. The local community bank provided the opportunity to gain experience in every area of banking, get to know customers from all walks of life, remain connected to the agricultural industry, and to become involved in and contribute to the community where I lived and worked. . . . I was hooked!
What was your first job and was there a lesson you learned there that you still use today?
Growing up on a family farm as the oldest of four daughters, my first jobs involved herding cattle on horseback, feeding animals and pulling weeds. I was a manual laborer who was never promoted to the fun jobs involving operating equipment. The lessons learned on the family farm range from a deep understanding that God is in control, family is second only to our faith, hard work is essential for happiness and success, responsible stewardship of natural and financial resources is imperative, and investing in the lives of others and supporting our community enriches everyone. One lesson that I still use on the job today: When faced with difficult situations, I am often reminded that few challenges compare to standing between a herd of 200 hungry cows weighing 10 or more times your weight and an open field of lush, green, rye grass!
What's your favorite part of any given day at the bank?
I love working alongside our staff to use the combined skills and resources at our disposal to help our customers finance their dreams, grow their businesses, solve financial problems or make a positive impact on our community.
How does involvement in GBA help you and your bank?
GBA provides an excellent education, training and advocacy resource for our bank. We participate in the CEO, CFO, Senior Lending Officer and Leadership Roundtables, and we believe these are valuable to the continued development of our staff and the growth of our bank.
When you are not at work, what do you like to do most?
My favorite thing to do is spend time with my husband, Joey, and our two adult children, Preston and Mary Helen. We all enjoy outdoor activities like kayaking, biking, snorkeling or exploring the beach or woodlands together. I also enjoy music and serve as pianist for the gospel quartet, Crossroads.