Better Together

Ameris Teammate Will McNeeley Honors Fallen Soldiers Through Scholarship Fund

Spotlighting Outstanding Teammates During Black History Month
Feb 7, 2022

Ameris Bank is proud to observe Black History Month and to pay tribute to the ways in which African Americans have shaped our nation and the future. We want you to hear from several of the phenomenal Ameris Bank teammates as they describe how they are now living their ancestors’ wildest dreams. We asked each of these teammates to share an accomplishment that makes them proud.

Cheryl Leakes, VP, Business Banking Treasury Sales Officer 

Throughout the years, I've seen the banking industry evolve for the better. I worked at two other banks before ultimately making Ameris Bank my home. I am so proud and privileged to be part of such an amazing organization. As a business banking treasury sales officer, I am able to contribute to my clients while adding value to the businesses I touch each and every day. I am blessed to be part of the dynamic team of treasury management officers and have supportive leadership that provides freedom to make a positive, lasting impact on our clients. 

Thandi Talbot, VP, Portfolio Manager 

An accomplishment that makes me proud is my promotion to project manager at my previous company where I was asked to manage special projects for failed FDIC banks and third-party lenders. 

One of our projects involved the preparation of 525 certification packages for a failed FDIC bank for submission to the SBA. The magnitude of this project entailed packages containing approximately 200-1,200 pages of loan documentation, and a timeframe of four months was given for completion with limited staff. 

I discovered early on that overtime and some weekends would be crucial to meeting the deadline. The project plan outlined the objectives and deliverables in line with the scope of work. Prior to the start date, I organized a kickoff meeting to bring everyone up to speed with the project requirements.  Training sessions were held, and the goal was to provide a complete product with little to no errors within the specified timeframe. 

We completed the project three weeks in advance of the deadline and received positive feedback from the client and the SBA. The company’s servicing relationship with the FDIC grew, and we continued to receive new projects. This initial project, my parents being my motivators and my determination to excel at anything, helped to shape my career and taught me a lot about leadership, diplomacy and relationships. 

Chad Johnson, VP, Investment Portfolio Manager 

I am proud of myself for finishing my MBA at Georgia State University while working full-time. 

Brandon Sherman, Regional VP, Community Development Manager 

One of my greatest accomplishments is surviving my past and thriving in the future! 

I was raised in poverty by a single parent as the youngest of four children in the St. Bernard Housing Projects of New Orleans, La. In my upbringing and as an adult, I faced many difficulties, including losing everything I owned to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. 

Making it from there to here is a testament of having faith in God, hard work and never giving up on my dreams. 

I am guided by this life statement, “life is the ability to become that which has not been, therefore; I am becoming.” 

Roderick Powell, SVP, Model Risk Manager 

I am proud of my work to develop a new AI Digital Bot Risk Management Program for Ameris Bank. My team worked with other areas of the bank, especially Digital/Robotics Technology, to develop and further enhance the risk management program. 

The new program enables the bank’s automation initiatives to proceed in a safe and sound manner. I am also proud of the fact that our peers in the industry have recognized the benefits of having a risk management program such as ours. Many of them have reached out to my team for insights on how they can implement a similar risk management program for digital bots in production at their banks. 

Corey Townsend, VP, Business Development Officer, Government Guaranteed Lending 

I am most proud of graduating from law school and passing the bar exam. I was not a particularly good student in high school or college, so graduating law school summa cum laude didn’t seem possible. 

I’m sure my ancestors could not fathom one of their descendants being an attorney. I am my ancestors’ wildest dream!