NEA Women in Business: Leigh Ann Wright

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Class of 2019 Women in Business Leigh Ann Wright Senior Vice President/Operations Officer First National Bank, Paragould

Residence: Paragould
Education: Degree in computer information systems, Arkansas State University
Professional background: Wright began her career with First National Bank (FNB) in October 1985 in the bookkeeping department. After graduating from ASU, she moved to the lending department as a loan assistant. After several years, Wright was given the opportunity to move to the operational side of the bank. She was promoted to vice president/operations. She is currently senior vice president/operations officer, supervising the tellers and customer service representatives for all 20 FNB branches.

What was your dream job as a kid and why? I always knew I wanted to be in banking. As a kid, I loved the game Monopoly and I wanted to be the banker every time we played. I loved counting the money and being over the Monopoly bank.

What inspired you to pursue the career you are in? Banking has always interested me since I was a kid. Going to the bank with my mom and watching the tellers handle the money was always fun for me. My mom also worked at the National Bank of Commerce when she was younger, which is now First National Bank.

What advice can you offer to women who want a career in your industry? Banking is a great career choice. There are many jobs in a bank besides the ones you see on the surface. I encourage each person I interview that may be over qualified for a teller position to take the job if offered to get their foot in the door. Getting your start with the bank at the ground level helps you better understand the banking atmosphere and then gives that person the opportunity for management to see what they are capable of and what their potential could be, which could pave the way for their career with the bank.

What has been the most fulfilling moment of your career so far? Receiving the first ever “Pinnacle Award” given by FNB in March of 2017 has been my most fulfilling moment. I received this award for my exemplary leadership, selfless acts of time, and dedication to First National Bank.

How do you spend your time away from work — if there is such a thing? What are your hobbies? I love going to sporting events: football, basketball and baseball games. Huge Red Wolf Fan! I love to travel and see new places. Also, I enjoy reading Danielle Steele books. I have almost every book she has written.

What qualities do you feel are most important in a company leader? Honesty, compassion, and dependability.

What’s the first thing you do at the office each morning? Turn on my computer and check my emails.

Do you feel like we’re getting closer to gender equality in the workplace? I do feel we are getting closer to gender equality in some professions.

What are three words you would use to describe yourself? Loyal, dedicated, and dependable.

What is something unique people would be surprised to know about you? I played the French horn in the ASU band.

What’s your favorite app at the moment? The First National Bank app, of course!

If you have a bucket list, what are the top things on it? See the Seven Wonders of the World and travel to any foreign country like Greece or Italy.