Valerie Pendergast, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
SVP, Human Resources Manager
Metro City Bank
Chair, GBA HR Committee
Q: What was your first job, and was there a lesson you learned there that you still use today?
A: My first job out of high school was a distribution clerk for First Data Resources, a credit card payment processing center in Atlanta. I separated reports for small banks and placed them in boxes to be mailed out to the banks. I learned that no matter what I do, I must do it to the best of my ability because it reflects on everyone I work with, including the organization itself. Every job is important.
Q: What drew you to human resources and/or the banking industry?
A: While at First Data Resources, I applied for a personnel coordinator position that was posted internally and got a promotion. Since then, I have moved up through the ranks of human resources and have never looked back. I enjoy helping people thrive in what they do, having the business succeed with my partnership, and implementing a well-thought-out human resources strategy.
Q: When you think about the future of the banking industry, what makes you hopeful and what makes you concerned?
A: I am hopeful about the future of the banking industry because of its resiliency. I wasn’t so hopeful after the great recession in 2008 because I felt the pain of a bank closure. It took some time, but the industry was able to bounce back, which at the time seemed almost impossible. So, I have learned to keep moving forward with hope and caution.
Q: If you could thank someone for becoming the professional you are today, who would it be and why?
A: I would thank my parents for their guidance and support throughout the years, but I would be remiss if I did not stop to thank all of the leaders I have worked with, the good and the bad. I learned from every single manager. Most of all, I thank that first manager that encouraged me to apply for that first human resources position over 30 years ago. I might not be where I am today without her encouragement.
Q: What would someone be surprised to learn about you?
A: I went back to college and finished my degree in business after my youngest child graduated high school and went to college himself.