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As women in banking, it is important that we lift each other up and celebrate each other’s accomplishments. The entire purpose of the Girl Banker blog is to do just that! The Girl Banker of the Week series serves as a way to highlight Girl Bankers everywhere by telling their stories and motivating and encouraging other women in banking. It also is a great way for women in banking to connect! Read below about this week’s Girl Banker of the Week!

Emily Mays | VP, Senior Marketing Director | Community Spirit Bank

Emily Mays serves as Vice President and Senior Marketing Director for Community Spirit Bank, a $142 million bank headquartered in the Northwest corner of Alabama.  This Barret School of Banking graduate began her career at CSB in 2013 as a drive-thru teller and rose through the ranks very quickly. This is her Girl Banker Story!

Girl Banker Story
Growing up a farmer’s daughter, the value of hard work was instilled in Emily early on. In fact, she firmly feels those virtues have helped her navigate through life. Marrying at the young age of 18, she found herself leaving the only community she had ever known of Russellville, Alabama. She received her Bachelors in Business from the Univerisity of North Alabama in 2003 and went on to manage her in-laws’ furniture store where she began dabbling in advertising. She loved helping lay out the newspaper ads and recording radio spots. Her passion for marketing was sparked!

In 2005, Emily began her career in banking after a move to Auburn, Alabama. She began working as a retail lender at Citifinancial and found her rhythm as a loan officer. While living in Auburn, she had her daughter, Lola Olivia. Soon after, Emily and her family relocated back to Franklin County, Alabama. She was finally going home after 10 years.  After returning to Russellville, AL, Emily was able to maintain her position with Citifinancial by commuting to a branch in Decatur, AL. Although the commuting wasn’t ideal, it was necessary for a few years until she was able to transfer to a branch in Russellville.

Emily and her daughter, Lola.

Unfortunately, during this time, as things began to fall in place for Emily, things also began to fall out of place. Within the span of just a few months, she was newly divorced, going through selling her home and found out her Citifinancial branch in Russellville was closing. Thankfully, Emily and Lola were able to find a home close to her family and she was finally back in her hometown.

At the advice of a friend, Emily applied for a teller position at Community Spirit Bank in Russellville, AL. At this point, she had 8 years of banking experience under her belt and applying for an entry-level position was a bit begrudging. Regardless, Emily was resilient and wanted to get a fresh start so she applied.  After her third interview, Emily remembers sitting on her kitchen counter and seeing the bank’s number pop up on her caller ID. She was starting to question why this bank thought it was necessary for tellers to go through so many interviews! Unbeknownst to her, the EVP/COO/HR Manager of CSB was relentless and saw potential in her and potential for the bank.

Emily was hired for the teller position and started eight days after walking out of a job she had been at for over eight years. She recognized immediately this was her chance to do things differently.  Her previous banking experience was in a big corporation with no personal touch and now she was working the drive-thru at a community bank. At that point, she set a goal for herself to be the highlight of every customer’s day. Sometimes the power of a smile can change everything. She began to ask herself what made the banking experience better… was it speed, friendliness? If so, then do those things, but for every customer you touch, you should strive to make it the best banking experience they have ever had.

And the rest is history. Slowly she was incorporated into marketing projects and within five months of starting at Community Spirit Bank, she was moved to the main office as Marketing Director. Emily continued to help out on the teller line when needed. “That’s the heart of community banking. When everyone pulls together to help out.” A few years later she was promoted to Marketing Director/Executive Assistant to the President/CEO and started learning about what made the bank tick. More recently, she was promoted to her current position, Vice President/Senior Marketing Director. Not a day goes by that Emily isn’t thankful for her role at Community Spirit Bank and for all of the ups and downs that got her there.

Commitment to the Community
Working to carry out the bank’s EverFi Financial Literacy mission is one of Emily’s favorite areas of focus. Providing support to her bank’s ten sponsored schools is a highlight of her public relations role. To date, they have reached over 2,800 students and that number keeps growing. In 2016 she was elected to the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and was recently elected to serve as Vice President of the Director’s Executive Board in 2018. She also serves as a team captain for CSB’s American Cancer Society Relay team.

Fun Facts
In addition to being a full-time banker and full-time mom to Lola Olivia, Emily has also found the time to squeeze in two half marathons. She also happens to be a superhero fangirl and a lover of hiking, cooking, going to the movies and of course coffee.

MOTIVATION | “That feeling of overcoming new challenges. I have never served in a capacity that has pushed the limits more of what I “thought” I could do. There is always something new to learn and something new to try!”

Join me as we celebrate this week’s Girl Banker of the Week, Emily Mays!

Know someone who should be the next Girl Banker of the Week? Send nominations to thegirlbanker@gmail.com!