Janis Phillips: Paducah’s Grand Dame of Banking

SINCE JANIS PHILLIPS ISN’T OPPOSED TO USING THE word “grandmother,” (actually she’s quite proud of it) you could think of her as Paducah Bank’s grande dame (definition: French/a great lady generally of a certain age and dignity). The definition fits.

In 1965 Janis was attending Draughon’s Business College, a landmark center of learning in Paducah at the time and the springboard for many young women who would later become some of the community’s first professional female profiles. Although many at the time would enter the business climate as secretaries or clerical staff, some, like Janis Phillips, would transcend decades of being unnoticed to ultimately ascend the notorious corporate ladder and finally reach pinnacles of success they would never have imagined in the middle of the 60s.

“I was working on a part-time basis at the bank for the first year at Draughon’s,” Janis remembers. “I became full-time in January 1966.” While working part-time, Janis decided to pursue full-time employment at an industrial facility in the area. “I found out right away that I was not happy there and was offered a job back at the bank. I haven’t left since.”

Could there be any greater testimony to Paducah Bank’s claim to being the best place to work in western Kentucky? Janis doesn’t think so.

“When I started at the bank, there were many areas that were short of staff and I was asked to help out in several different  departments. This has been invaluable to me, because as I took on more responsibility, it made the job just a bit easier having at least background knowledge,” she recalls.

It is Janis that has become perhaps invaluable to the institution. Indeed, having worked in practically every area of the organization, she has, as she claims, been the recipient of vital experience which, with her sincere desire and dedication to the goal of unequalled customer service, has propelled her to the professional heights she has now reached as Senior Vice President and Loan Officer.

After 40 years (yes, that’s four decades), not only has Janis come to think of her peers as family, she’s also come to think of the bank’s customers as dear friends as well. “I have always taken great pride in helping customers reach their dreams,” Janis comments. “And I’ve known some of these people for a very long time. I’ve watched their family histories unfold just as mine have, and that’s a really special feeling. The most gratifying part of my work all these years has been to see people live the American dream; whether it was a new car or a new home or a new business. The most satisfying part of my history at the bank is the relationships I’ve developed during these many years.”

And, says Janis, not only has she helped the scores of customers who have come her way, she feels she’s been the beneficiary of much learning as she has encountered people from many walks of life and diverse backgrounds. “Having met and worked with so many people from so many different fields has certainly helped me learn and grow as an individual. It’s been a win/win situation, as they say!”

We suppose she would say that it’s just been . . . grand!