NEA Women in Business: Deana Osment

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,450 views 

Class of 2019 Women in Business Deana Osment NEA Division President Centennial Bank, Jonesboro

Residence: Jonesboro
Education: B.S. Finance, Oklahoma State University
Professional background: Osment has worked in banking for nearly 30 years. Her first banking job was as a part-time teller in college at Stillwater National Bank in Oklahoma.

What inspired you to pursue the career you are in? I was 23 and working at a bank in the note department years ago. I looked up to and admired many of the commercial loan officers in the bank making big deals. I’ll never forget, my then-boss laughed when I told him my goal was to be a commercial lender during my annual review. Looking back, he probably was just shocked because very few young women held the position of commercial lender at that time.

What has been the most fulfilling moment of your career so far? There have been a lot of great moments, but probably one of the best moments was when I was offered a position as a commercial loan officer by that same boss.

What advice can you offer to women who want a career in your industry? Be consistent. I’d tell that to anyone, male or female. Anyone can do a job well some of the time, make sure you’re the one doing it all the time. Be the one your co-workers and customers can count on. And have fun. Don’t ever take yourself too seriously.

What are three words you would use to describe yourself? Loyal, honest, competitive.

What qualities do you feel are most important in a company leader? One of the most important qualities in a leader is someone who listens to their people and makes them feel valued.

How do you spend your time away from work — if there is such a thing? What are your hobbies? I like spending most my time away from work with [my husband] Ray and our family. My parents just moved to Arkansas from Texas, and we have two teenage children who I really enjoy being with. I like to play tennis, go to the lake and read a good book.

What’s the first thing you do at the office each morning? Turn on my computer and get a cup of coffee.

Do you feel like we’re getting closer to gender equality in the workplace? Yes, I feel like we’ve definitely come a long way towards gender equality since my early career in banking. At the end of the day, we’re all just people with different abilities. I have been fortunate to work for companies that realize that and reward hard work no matter someone’s gender.

Of all the mentors in your professional career, who has been the most influential and why? I’ve had several great mentors who’ve influenced me over the years, and I really don’t think I could single out just one. They were all people who believed in me, supported me and trusted me with opportunities to learn and do more. I owe each one of them a piece of my success. No one really does this alone.

What’s your favorite app at the moment? My friend, Christi, just introduced me to an app called Splitwise. It tallies up expenses made by a group of people and gives each person their total owed. I’m always the go-to person for keeping up with the group’s expenses, and this makes it so easy.

If you have a bucket list, what are the top three things on it? I don’t have a bucket list, but I am hiking the Grand Canyon this fall, and I’m super excited about sharing that experience with some good friends.