By Colin Barrett, President/CEO, Tennessee Bankers Association
When I stepped into this role just over four years ago, I inherited an exceptional team known to be the best throughout the country. But I also knew that this team would be changing in a short matter of time. The TBA, like many of your banks, had and still has key employees at retirement age. My goal was to build a team that would not simply take their place but build on the great foundation that has been laid while also adapting to a changing banking landscape.
2017 is another year of transition at the Association. Taking on new roles are two TBA veterans, Amy Heaslet, who will be leading our legal and government relations efforts; and Debbie Brickles, who is taking on additional responsibilities in our education department. They, along with other staff members in our administration, accounting/insurance, and communications departments, will be carrying on the TBA’s legacy of effectively representing the interests of our member banks.
In August, Amy was named SVP and General Counsel of the TBA. She has been with the Association eight years and is only our third General Counsel. Amy’s knowledge, both on the Hill and as TBA’s legal counsel, is unmatched, and she is already doing an outstanding job leading our legislative and BankPac efforts.
Debbie will be leading all our education efforts with the assistance of Monique Jenkins, our member services specialist. We will also be adding a new member to the TBA education team starting at the first of the year. Our conferences and schools, one-day programs and webinars continue to have excellent, and in some cases record-breaking, attendance; even in light of consolidation. Providing the training you need will continue to be of the utmost importance to the Association. And while it is difficult to say goodbye to longtime colleagues, change brings a level of excitement to the Association as we welcome new team members and new ideas. Many of these you have already seen with an updated website, new education programs, additional endorsed partners to meet your needs, and more ways to engage our elected officials. Our team actively identities new ways to make sure the Association is meeting your needs.
At the end of 2017, Susan Taylor will be retiring. To many of you, Susan is the face of the Association as she has worked with our various committees putting on outstanding conferences and schools aimed at providing bankers the tools they need to successfully lead their banks. Susan is leaving the Association, and specifically education, in an even stronger position in which she found it, something I imagine we all want to accomplish in our respective positions.
Looking back and looking forward is bittersweet for me. Brad Barrett, Karen Holmes, Dianne Martin, and Tim Amos represented more than 120 years of experience in serving Tennessee banks—and did it very well. People like them are not replaced; their contributions remain an integral part of who and what we are as an Association.
And while the Association will continue to evolve, our commitment to Tennessee banking will not waver.