Embarking On An Exciting New Adventure at AB&T

By Brad McEwen

Well, I think I’ve left everyone in suspense long enough--the time has come to answer a few questions that I suspect have been on the minds of my many friends and neighbors who read my recent goodbye column in the Albany Herald.

Number one, (and this is the answer to what has proven to be the most burning question) Luke Flatt is NOT making me cut my hair in order to join the AB&T team.

And to address the inevitable follow-up, no, I won’t be wearing a suit to work every day now that I’ve returned to the traditionally conservative world of banking.

I know those developments come as a huge shock to those of you who know the venerable leader of Albany’s premier community bank, but it’s the God’s honest truth.

Actually, it surprised the heck out of me too.

But the more he and Sr. Vice President Perry Revell explained the bank's vision and my role within it, the more that decision has started to make sense. You see, despite my years of experience in the field, I will not be the man to see if you need to open up a new Gold Choice checking account or if you’re looking for a home equity line so you can make those much-needed improvements to your dwelling.

While I’ll be more than happy to point you in the right direction when you need some assistance, I have not been hired as a banker.

As it turns out AB&T’s leadership has a much different, and I believe truly out of the box, plan for Brad McEwen, and for the future of the company.

And it’s that new role in that unique vision that’s at the heart of this missive.

I think it’s pretty obvious to those loyal readers of the Albany Herald who regularly paid attention to the copy underneath my bylines, that I loved my job as a writer and being the Digital Editor of Albany’s oldest newspaper.

As I’ve written about so many times in the past, having the opportunity to inform and hopefully entertain the good folks of Southwest Georgia was in many respects a dream job—something I had strived to do since I was 15 years old.

So it’s no wonder then that in the days following my formal announcement that I was leaving the paper and going to work at AB&T, that many readers were left scratching their heads.

Intermingled with the truly heartwarming “congratulations” and “I’m so proud for you” responses (and the extremely humbling comments expressing a genuine sadness that they wouldn’t get to read my stories in the paper) folks really wanted to know what exactly I would be doing and why I was making this decision.

The broad answer to the first of those questions is that I’ll be doing a lot of different things--all aimed at helping the bank improve communications.

My formal title is Communications Manager, meaning I will be responsible for a wide-variety of internal and external communications, including eventually managing the bank’s social media content, developing more effective communications between associates and management, and developing even more methods in which the bank can connect with its community, something which is of the utmost importance.

To that end I’ll still be visible around town, attending functions and interacting with residents, but most importantly I’ll be gathering information so I can continue to do what Luke and Perry think I do best--tell stories.

What stories, you ask?

Well, your stories, our stories, the community’s stories.

In discussing my role and the varied tasks with which I’m being charged, the leadership at AB&T was adamant that I continue writing, that I keep tracking down the stories that highlight the good things going on in Albany, Georgia-- the stories that shine a light on the amazing men and women who make this community what it is.

People who have heard a little bit about what I’m endeavoring to do at AB&T wrongly assume that I’ll be a marketing agent for the bank, creating material that will tell everyone how great our checking accounts are and how great our people are and telling them they need to bank with us.

While I certainly believe we can provide incredible products and have the outstanding associates to deliver those products with the associated customer service necessary to instill customer confidence, that is not really the aim in this new position.

You see my new role is much more than some kind of marketing/public relations gig. What really appealed to me was the notion that not only could I help AB&T increase its visibility in its market and show the public the things that make me proud to call AB&T my bank,  but that I could help the bank become a positive force in our community.

The offer to come to AB&T also served to remind me of the a few of the things I loved about banking, not the least of which was connecting with people and figuring out ways to enhance their lives.

During the 10 years I spent at Regions Bank, where I started as a part-time teller, before working my way up to Consumer Sales Manager of 12 retail branches across South Georgia, I took on a wide range of responsibilities, but the one constant was helping people.

It didn’t matter whether I was assisting an elderly customer fill out a savings withdrawal slip, or guiding a newly-employed college graduate through an auto loan application, or explaining how electronic bill pay was not only safe and secure, but also convenient, or helping a local farmer get his crop line renewed for the coming year or coaching branch managers to more effectively lead their sales teams--I relished the chance to play a positive role in someone’s life and make a difference.

And making a difference, a real difference, in the lives of the varied souls who make up our community, is what fascinated me about the AB&T vision.

To me, that vision is to position AB&T as a conduit for promoting the great things going on in our community, and to provide an avenue for celebrating the diverse population that calls the Albany area home.

I firmly believe that if we can effectively tell the story of our community, and highlight all of the incredible people and the things that make us proud to live here—the ease of life, the kind and caring heart of our neighbors, the hard work of our teachers and leaders and business men and women who get up each and every morning with a desire to make a difference in just one life--that we can ensure that our community continues to grow and thrive and that future generations will feel the way I do. That they’ll hold their heads high and tell anyone who wants to listen that Albany is their home and that home is where the heart truly is.

Connect with Brad – 229.405.7212 - brad.mcewen@abtgold.com - @BradGMcEwen