GBA Member Profile

Margie Blanton
Human Resource Officer
WB&T Bankshares Inc., Valdosta
2017-2018 Chair, GBA Human Resources Committee

Q: What are some career lessons you learned early on that you still use today?

The day before I started my job at the bank in 1976, my father sat me down at our kitchen table and explained the “Overall Philosophy.”  He told me I should never judge a man by the overalls he wore and explained to me how hard working people would be my best customers.  He was right.  Some of my best, career-long customers showed up driving old beat up trucks and wearing worn out clothes and they remain my good friends today.  I learned, early on, to treat everyone the same and I credit his “Overall Philosophy” to my success in banking as well as in my HR role. 

Q: What’s your quick pitch to young people who may be considering getting into banking as a career?

I encourage every young person we hire to not allow another person to interfere in their career path.  If they allow a poor manager or a negative co-worker to get in their head, it will discourage them and cause them to lose focus on their future in banking.  I encourage them to seek out a good role-model within our company and work towards following their leadership skills and positive work ethics. 

Q: As an HR professional, what are you focusing on this year to improve overall staff performance and efficiency at the bank?

Working at the holding company level instead of actually being present inside our banks can be challenging.  I work with a great team of folks that make my job easy so that, once someone is hired, I know they are going into very capable hands for training and career development within each of our locations. 

Q: How have you and your bank benefited from your participation on GBA Committees and at GBA Events like the upcoming HR Professionals Institute throughout the year?

In our HR Professionals group, not only have I made some wonderful friends, but I’m part of a group of people that I can email or call and get answers and guidance when I have issues that I may not have dealt with in the past.  We are a very close group and I appreciate their help.

Q: What session(s) are you most eager to hear at this year’s conference ?

Well, as the 2018 Chair, I’d have to say ALL of them!  I am especially looking forward to having an HR professional from another industry participate in our conference.  Sonya Parham-Shannon, VP of Busch Gardens, not only works with people but also with giraffes, sloths and monkeys!  That’s got to be an interesting HR job!

Q: What is one thing your WB&T co-workers and GBA friends and peers might not know about you?

I love to play the piano and enjoy digging through antique shops as I am a depression glass collector.  My Sunday afternoons are usually spent baking.  I have no children so I rescue dogs and currently have two rat terriers and an Australian Red Heeler.  I am not a fan of big houses so I live in a cabin in the woods.