GBA Member Profile

Shannon Fortson
EVP / Chief Credit Officer
Pinnacle Bank, Elberton
Chair, GBA Agriculture Committee

How did you get into banking as a career?
My dad was a 42-year veteran of the banking industry, so I basically grew up in First National Bank of Elberton (predecessor to Pinnacle).  Over the years, meeting and getting to know the employees there, and witnessing the positive impact that the bank made for people I knew and for local businesses really intrigued me.  I guess it became a part of me, to the point that I started work there in high school. Then I ultimately chose Finance as my major at UGA and began my professional career in banking right out of school with NationsBank in Atlanta.  

What was your first job, and was there a lesson you learned there that you still use today? (not necessarily career, could be in high school or college etc…)
My very first job was in the lawn-care business (we called it grass cutting back in the 80s).  My dad instilled in my brothers and me a certain work ethic and management style for taking care of our customers.  Throughout middle school and on through high school, we carried on with this work and built up the business.  My dad’s expressed insistence of always going the extra mile, giving customers more than they expect, thanking them for their business and always carrying through on promises and commitments made a huge impact upon me and my life, quite frankly.  To this day, these values that he instilled within me serve as a guide in my interactions with our customers and bank staff.  

What is the biggest challenge at your bank these days?
I would say that the ever-changing technological and regulatory environments are our biggest ones. They continually require us to reevaluate our processes, procedures and platforms so that we move with the flow, yet stay ahead of the curve.  Change is constant and dynamic.  So, the challenge is to stay informed, remain flexible, be progressive and maintain a financial commitment to win in these environments.  Our bank staff and management team excel in these arenas.

How does your involvement in GBA help you and your bank? 
GBA serves as an integral training resource for our employees.  Also, involvement at the committee level and in roundtables provides us the type of networking with peers necessary for sharing best practices and ideas, and staying attuned to what’s going on around the state.  Through GBA, I’ve had the opportunity to make life-long friends and learn from others’ expertise in so many ways.

When you are not at work, what do you like to do most? 
I truly enjoy spending time with my kids and making memories with them.  Also, golf is a favorite pastime, as well as running and other types of exercise.