Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

You Are Shaping Our Industry's Next Leaders

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

You Are Shaping Our Industry's Next Leaders

Article excerpt

WELCOME TO OUR leadership -focused issue of the ABA Banking Journal. I hope you'll both enjoy and be inspired by bankers' examples of leadership lessons from their worst jobs and how de novo institutions drive leadership development.

I have relevant experience in both of these departments. Early in my banking career, for example, I tasked myself with both being a banker and delivering pine mulch--two truckloads on my lunch hour.

While not a worst job per se, it could be uncomfortable driving a dump truck in the warmer Georgia months with a dress shirt and tie on. My solution was to have an air-conditioning system from a '66 Mustang installed in the truck. This made my deliveries much more tolerable. Another plus: I became a much better driver because I learned to use the mirrors.

My de novo banking experience was also instructive. I was the first employee hired when Georgia Bank & Trust was formed in 1988. When you're thrust into a leadership role like I was, you look to the examples of mentors and role models. These were leaders who were able to inspire by both their words and actions.

One of them was Mr. Russell Blanchard, who enjoyed a 46-year banking career and was president of Georgia Railroad Bank.

Mr. Russell was, and still is, an icon in Georgia banking. He was the dean of the Georgia Banking School at the University of Georgia when I graduated from the program. He was also a former chairman of the Georgia Bankers Association and encouraged me to say yes when I was approached about following in his footsteps there.

Among many other things, Mr. Russell taught me how to be a professional banker. Although a true Southern gentleman, he was very stern and regimented. …

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