It’s been an amazing 41-year career ride for Geri Thomas, Bank of America’s Atlanta market president, state president of Georgia and senior vice president of diversity and inclusion. As chief strategist for the banking institution’s diversity and inclusion efforts, Thomas envisions her legacy to be one that actuates a mind-set “where [associates] believe that diversity and inclusion is their responsibility, and not just the people who work for me or their manager’s responsibility.” It’s also a goal that Bank of America’s CEO and board of directors strongly support.
“I am also responsible for making sure we have an integrated approach where our customers and clients here in Atlanta, and our constituents, receive all of the services and solutions that Bank of America has to offer,” shares the Atlanta native.
A graduate of Georgia State University, during her freshman year at then-Clark College, Thomas worked a summer job at Bank of America. She was hired to work in consumer banking support and became the senior staffing executive responsible for staffing support for the Bank of America Global Consumer and Small Business Bank before taking on her new role last year.
For Thomas, “it’s been a long summer.” She’s never looked back and has kept pressing forward while moving up the career ladder.
With Thomas’ seniority and title comes power, which she uses with aplomb. She directs her influence to make sure that Bank of America is a good corporate citizen by supporting the community and having a presence on the boards of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Atlanta, Georgia State University’s Robinson School of Business, Atlanta Committee for Progress and Woodruff Arts Center.
“I get the most satisfaction witnessing the success of others, whether it’s seeing someone fulfill a dream of homeownership, or helping an entrepreneur grow their business from their living room to a skyscraper,” she beams.
“Align with people who are on course and share the same goals and objectives that you have. I was blessed to have people who cared about me — [who] were my sources of truth, and some strong managers who taught me lessons … and were vested in my success,” she imparts for college graduates and other professionals seeking longevity and career advancement.
“I learned from my parents that hard work will help you get what you want, more than anything else,” she concludes. –yvette caslin