First State Bank of Blakely, Blakely, GA
Group 2 representative, GBA Compliance Committee
Q: What was your first job, and was there a lesson you learned there that you still use today?
A: My first paying job was working for my granddaddy in a warehouse at a cotton gin. He stressed to be on time, work hard and keep busy. To this day, I strive to do my best at every task I’m given and always try to help wherever I’m needed.
Q: What led you to a career in banking?
A: While walking into Subway one day at lunchtime, I was approached and asked if I was interested in a teller position. Being from a small town where everyone knows one another made it fun for me because I was able to help people I knew personally. The rest is history.
Q: What are you most proud of accomplishing professionally?
A: I love looking back from where I first started as a teller and seeing how much I have learned over the past 17 years. In the beginning, I never imagined I would be comfortable enough in my knowledge of banking to one day step into the role of Compliance Officer, much less become a graduate of the GBA Compliance School. I am extremely proud of the help and information I am able to provide my coworkers at First State Bank.
Q: If you could thank someone for becoming the professional you are today, who would it be and why?
A: Butch Wiggins. He was the president of the first bank I worked at. He believed in me and understood mistakes would be made, but he tried to use each one as a learning experience. He always took the time to answer the “why,” i.e., why it was wrong or why we are required to operate a certain way. It made such an impression on me, and I try to follow his example with my coworkers to this day. It is so important for people to have someone they feel comfortable going to with questions without fear of embarrassment or reprimand, especially in the world of banking where change is the only thing that is consistent.
Q: What would someone be surprised to learn about you?
A: I was diagnosed with stage 4 Metastatic Melanoma when I was 31 years old. It was shocking and devasting to say the least. I have two boys who were seven and nine years old at the time. I had no idea how I was going to work, handle chemo treatments and be an involved mother for my two boys. For a moment, I thought that might be the end of my career in banking. I was working for Butch Wiggins when I was diagnosed, and he went above and beyond to accommodate my working schedule with all of my doctor appointments and chemo treatments. Between having children, a husband who needed me and a boss who didn’t want to lose me as an employee, it gave me something to fight for. I have never been able to go into remission because of suspected scar tissue on my lung. I hope my struggle has been an inspiration to others in similar situations to keep pushing forward.