GBA Member Profile

Terry Kennedy
Senior Vice President, Human Resources/Business Development
Exchange Bank, Milledgeville
Vice Chair, 2021-2022 GBA Human Resources Committee

Q: What led you to a career in banking?
A: I didn’t set out to have a career in banking, but I’m so glad the stars aligned as they did. I was very involved in my community and knew a lot of bankers, but the opportunity actually presented itself when I was working for United Way of Central Georgia. My campaign chair for two years, Brad Serff, was the president of Exchange Bank. We worked very hard together to raise money for United Way through employee fundraising campaigns. One day, he invited me to lunch to talk about a possible opportunity. I never saw myself working in banking, but there was an opening for a marketing role that was right up my alley. After about 10 years leading business development, there was an opportunity to oversee the human resources function. The board and senior management team had confidence in me and believed that I was the right person to assume this role. HR is very challenging but also extremely rewarding.

Q: What was the most useful piece of advice you received from a mentor or in the early/formative years of your career?
A: I learned early on in life how important it is to listen carefully and assess the situation before reacting. Over the years, I have worked with many different people from all kinds of backgrounds. It’s important to listen to everyone and let their voices be heard. Everyone matters!

Q: Tell us about one experience you’ve had that exemplifies being an HR professional.
A: I feel a tremendous amount of satisfaction when I am able to guide employees to achieve their career goals. I also pride myself on being a good listener who shows compassion and empathy while working with employees through the ups and downs of life. It gives me great satisfaction to watch employees take off in their career. I enjoy seeing them mature and begin to make solid decisions on their own. Employees with a strong work ethic are the best to work with. A positive attitude, outstanding attendance, the ability to get along with all kinds of people, along with being a self-starter and a problem solver are just a few of the attributes that will take you far in your career.

Q: Top Three…

  • First tap/click of the day? Jesus Calling. I need this to begin my day to stay grounded and on track with what really matters in life.
  • Book that you love/has made an impact? I read so much throughout the day that I don’t really find reading for pleasure very relaxing. However, I have enjoyed all of Nelson DeMilles’ novels, particularly Plum Island. My father-in-law, John Kennedy, who retired after serving for more than 45 years in law enforcement, has worked very closely with Nelson on writing many of his novels. You’ll see my father-in-law’s name mentioned in many of Nelson’s novels on the acknowledgements page.
  • TV show or series you love? I am sad that we’re currently on the last season of “This Is Us.” I was glued to every episode. I enjoy shows that foreshadow and also look back in time. It keeps my interest.

Q: When you’re not on the job at the bank, what do you like to do?
A: I love to play tennis. My husband, John, and I play as often as we can – up to 4 times per week if the weather cooperates. My other love is being at the beach. The ocean waves just soothe my soul. Of course, I always love spending time with my four grandchildren and watching them grow and mature. Being a “Gigi” is the best!