What is the best business decision you ever made? Finding the courage to realize we could launch Edison National Bank in 1997. No question. Working with (my husband) Geoff and our directors to steer the growth of Lee County’s oldest locally owned and managed community bank has been a labor of love. I believe we have made a difference for our customers and our community.
What is the best life decision you ever made? Recognizing that I wanted to try to “have it all.” I am so fortunate to be a professional woman who gets to work with her husband every day. I am truly blessed to have the best son any mother could ever hope for. Anybody would be beyond lucky to have either of these things be true. I am eternally grateful I didn’t need to choose just one.
Why are you and Southwest Florida a good fit? How could Southwest Florida not be a good fit for anyone? We have a regional community of caring people and organizations, a shared commitment to make that community the best it can be, and a beautiful natural environment in which to enjoy our lives and families.
What’s the most valuable tip you can give to a high school freshman today? Banish the words “I can’t” from your vocabulary. Aim for the heights and don’t take “no” for an answer. If you want to achieve and accomplish, find a way. If things don’t go the way you hoped, find a better way (a paraphrase of my favorite Thomas Edison quote). As the old saying goes, “Nothing beats a failure but a try.”
What’s the most valuable tip you can give to a college freshman? Take a broad variety of classes. Study hard and get your best grades. Identify the subjects that you are most passionate about. Get hands-on experience in that field just as soon as you can. Those are the areas of study on which you should base your life’s work.
What’s the most valuable tip you can give to a college senior? Imagine what you want your life to be by the time you reach your parents’ age. Then work backwards to identify the steps in the career path you’ll need to pursue to reach those life goals. Once you figure that out, don’t be afraid to approach a mentor (or two) to help you get there … one step at a time.
Other than family members, who influenced you the most in your youth? Of the people outside my family, I wish everybody could have someone like Pastor Walter Brooks in their lives. He was the minister of the Weeden Heights Baptist Church in my hometown of Florence, Ala. He helped me recognize that, when struggling with the right path forward, think of God first, family, then everything else. If you establish those priorities in your life, everything else will fall in place.
What is your favorite leisure activity? Rooting the FGCU Eagles on! We’re so fortunate to have such a great university in our backyard with fantastic extracurricular programs at FGCU, including an exciting sports program. I’m a sports fanatic from the word go. But, if there’s nothing to watch, Geoff and I just love going fishing in our flats boat. We’re a catch and release family!