GBA Member Profile

Parrish Clark
Chief Executive Officer
Guardian Bank, Valdosta
Leadership GBA Executive Committee President

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 nearly 18 years.  My father is a 42-year banker, so I was raised in and around banking.  I knew it was an honorable profession filled with good people, and banking was always in my mind as a possible career choice.  I happened to be graduating college when WB&T Bankshares, Inc. was planning to open Guardian Bank in Valdosta, and I very fortunately, and unexpectedly, got an opportunity to get into banking and work with my dad.

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

The team is bigger than the individual.  Our banks are accountable to the shareholders, directors, customers, regulators, and the community, so we as bankers have lots of folks counting on us each day.  We do important work, and it takes our entire team to do the job well. The mission of the organization is bigger than any individual.

Q: One of the leadership challenges we keep hearing about is how to attract good talent to the industry. What would you say to convince a young person to consider a career in banking?

If you are seeking a career of glamour, ease and the infamous "bankers’ hours,” banking is not the profession for you. But, if you are passionate and driven, if you want to work hard and be challenged every day, if you want to impact lives in a real and direct way, if you want to contribute to the betterment of your community, then banking is a career you should consider.

Q: What are some of the reasons why your fellow bankers should attend the GBA Leadership Conference July 20-23?

GBA’s Leadership Conference is an opportunity to get to know great bankers and really fine families. I learn so much from my peers, and I am always inspired by the high-quality people we have in our industry. Additionally, the Leadership GBA Executive Committee has worked hard to build a program that will deliver information you can immediately utilize in your bank. Finally,  the Ponte Vedra Inn is pretty special!

Q: When you’re not on the job at the bank or fulfilling your Leadership GBA duties, what do you like to do?

I enjoy being with my family. We have young children, so I enjoy what they want to be doing. It is nice when that includes the Georgia Bulldogs, the deer woods, or a beach.