For Leanne Beard, Branch Manager and Assistant Vice President at BankPlus in Hernando, the banking industry has been her whole life.
This year, Beard, a Hernando native, is marking her 37th year in banking.
"I have basically been involved with banking since 1980," said Beard, who is a 1979 graduate of Hernando High School.
Beard said she has been honored to have pursued a profession which has touched the lives of so many people in the community where she was born and raised.
"You see businesses come and go that you've done business with," said Beard, who has weathered not one but two separate economic recessions that literally brought the nation's economy to a halt.
Beard recalls the first recession that she witnessed in 1982 and the second nearly disastrous recession of 2008.
"To me, the one we had in the early 80s was not as memorable because I had just started in banking," Beard said. "It didn't affect me as much as the one that we had in 2008. Being with the banking industry as long as I have, you know how things roll."
When the "Great Recession of 2008" hit, Beard said the banking industry tightened its collective belt, along with bank customers.
"We bucked up, bundled up and belted down," said Beard. "We have overcome that hard time. Not only did we as employees weather the storm, but so did our customers who were hit hard. We persevered. We have seen the growth come back. It's definitely booming again. The building and development is coming back. DeSoto County is slowly but surely running out of lots. The developers are having a hard time finding land to build homes."
To keep up with that growth, Beard said the banking industry in general and BankPlus in particular, has implemented cutting-edge, state-of-the-art technology.
"With the millennials today, we are keeping up with the technology of the world," Beard said. "We have online banking, mobile banking, and we'll probably see in the future what is known as an Innovative Automated Teller Machine. The machine can be an automated teller or a personal banker where you can talk with a live person through video conferencing."
Beard grew up in Cockrum as the daughter of a master brickmason, Barney Langston and his wife Eleanor. She was named branch manager in 2007 and has been promoted to assistant vice president through continual credentialing courses offered through the American Institute of Banking Courses.
"I've been with BankPlus for 12 years now and also had hands-on training over these many years," added Beard of her nearly four decades in banking.
Her mother Eleanor Jackson just chuckles at the fact that her daughter is nearing the milestone of four decades spent in the banking industry.
"I was not a very good math student," said Beard with a laugh. "The adding machine was my best friend."
Beard said she is most fortunate to be able to "count" the many friends that she has made in the Hernando and DeSoto County area.
"The people here are simple, down-to-earth, energetic and good-hearted," Beard said.
Beard is very involved in the community, citing her volunteer work with the Palmer Home for Children and the annual Mudbug fundraiser, the Water Tower Festival and the Hernando High School Football Booster Club.
But it's her family that "counts the most."
Beard has been married to Robert "Brett" Beard for 36 years. The couple has three children: Kelley, 33, Leslie, 23, and Dusty, 18.
"We have enjoyed raising our kids here," Beard said. "This is home."
Robert Lee Long is Community Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.