GBA Member Profile

Sherry Kinard
Senior Vice President
Director of Government Guaranteed Lending
Georgia Primary Bank
Atlanta, GA

Q: What was your first job, and was there a lesson you learned there that you still use today?
A: My first (paid) job was with Chick-Fil-A as a cashier. The most important thing I learned was customer service. Always exceed expectations.

Q: Tell us about your career journey. What drew you to banking, and what has kept you there?
A: Banking was never on my radar. My career is a combination of my faith, being in the right place at the right time and having great mentors.
I grew up in and around small businesses and entrepreneurs. My dad worked as a mechanic for a small business for almost 50 years, and my stepfather owned a bookkeeping and tax service for over 40 years. Although Chick-Fil-A was my first paid job, working with my stepfather was my very first “job.” In addition to answering phones, preparing tax files, sorting receipts and working with accounting ledgers, I had the opportunity to hear daily struggles of local entrepreneurs.
I’ve always been a lover of history, so I attended Clark Atlanta University with hopes of becoming a teacher and later owning my own daycare. Once I got into the role, I quickly learned that I didn’t want to teach. After a few temporary job placements, I was hired by Ray Fisher with Regions Bank and the rest is history.
Additionally, my love of government lead to my being selected to serve as a U.S. Congressional Paige. This opportunity was fueled by my love of government and policy. Twenty years later, my career has come full circle. I’m working with small businesses on a daily basis in a field tied directly to the Government.

Q: What has driven your interest in supplier diversity and access to capital?
A: I was always taught to find a need and fill it. Access to capital is the biggest hurdle for most small businesses. Many small business owners can’t qualify for traditional bank loans and find themselves in a difficult situation. That’s why Government Guaranteed Lending is a great option. I find myself using my teaching skills often as I work with entrepreneurs.

Q:What were some of the takeaways from the White House summit that apply to your role in banking?
A: It was a great event! I found the access to capital panel to be the most interesting, as I work with and assist small businesses with their capital needs on a daily basis. It was refreshing to meet individuals from all parts of the country that are dedicated to helping small business start and grow.

Q: When you think about the future of banking in Georgia, what makes you hopeful and what makes you fearful?
A: I am hopeful because most banks are thriving and focusing more on relationships vs. transactions. I’m fearful that with growth, banks will start to overlook the needs of small businesses.

Q: What would someone be surprised to learn about you?
A: Most people are surprised to learn that seventeen years ago, five days after delivery, I suffered a rare form of heart failure related to pregnancy (Peri Partum Cardiomyopathy). I am so fortunate to have made a full recovery. Among several other activities and interest, I’m a heart health advocate.