GBA Member Profile

Lorenda Smith
Vice Chair, GBA Marketing Committee
Director of Retail & Marketing
First National Bank
Bainbridge, GA

Q: What was your first job, and was there a lesson you learned there that you still use today?
A: I began my banking career in the early ‘80s, when women in banking were typically only tellers or in bookkeeping. Dresses and pantyhose were a must for the females and there was no tolerance for casual dress. A local attorney that was on the bank board casually made a comment in reference to employees not being appropriately dressed. He said, “When you can’t tell your bank employees from your customers, then you have a problem.” That has stuck with me. I still really have a hard time feeling comfortable on “casual Fridays.”

Q: What drew you to a career in the banking industry, and what has kept you there?
A: I never originally thought about banking as a career. A senior manager at the local bank approached me and asked if I would come in to talk to him about a job opportunity. He assured me that I could have a future in banking. He said I would meet wonderful people and my creativity would be an asset. I started working at the bank as a teller, and looking back now, I find that his statement was so true. Having the opportunity to be mentored by three amazing women in my career, being allowed to use my creativity daily and travel the world has kept me in banking for the past 36 years.

Q: How has involvement with GBA affected your career?
A: I truly believe that no matter what position you hold in a Georgia bank, GBA must be in your professional tool belt. Having been at Georgia banks for 36 years, the Georgia Bankers Association has been my go-to throughout my career. GBA’s health insurance program saw me though two beautiful children (now 35 and 28), one devastating miscarriage and multiple surgeries. GBA continues to assist me with sharpening my skills though education, the networking is second-to-none and, most importantly, they are helping me plan for my future. GBA is truly a one-stop-shop!

Q: If you weren’t working in banking, what would you be doing instead?
A: I’ve never thought about what else I would be doing! I love what I do. When I retire, I plan to spend lots of time at the beach enjoying my grandbabies and finally finishing the many books I have started writing.

Q: What would someone be surprised to learn about you?
A: Our middle daughter and youngest daughter surprised us with “We are having twins!” at the same time, so we now have two sets of identical twins girls only six months apart. The girls are very close, when we travel with them people think we have quadruplets. This gives us a total of 10 grandchildren!