Like many boys Mardie Herndon thought about pitching in the big leagues one day. As he batted and bounced his way through a childhood enjoying baseball and basketball, he learned a lot about his future as a bank president. Really, you ask? Really. • “Looking back I would say that eventually your desires reach beyond your skills,” he says with a grin as he contemplates what sports and teamwork taught him. “However, there’s much to be gained from the experiences and challenges of those endeavors. When I played baseball I was a pitcher, and when I played basketball I was a point guard. In both of those positions I controlled the pace of the game. There’s a lot to be said of that responsibility when you’re on the mound and when you’re in the president’s office. It allows you to influence the outcome while trusting your teammates to properly play their position.” • MARDIE HERNDON IS THE NEW PRESIDENT OF PADUCAH BANK.
It was an internship at a brokerage firm and a presentation by a local bank president in Savannah, Georgia, that led Mardie into the financial services industry. As he completed his degree at Georgia Southern University, Mardie intended to enter the brokerage world, but as he met with various members of Wachovia Bank’s management team, he felt led to serving the community and building his career as a banker. His career began in 1991.
“After spending more than 22 years in banking with two large regional banks, I was at a point in my career where I wanted to do something more meaningful. As I made this decision, I was able to take some time off to really think about what I wanted to do,” Mardie says. “I contemplated working with a non-profit and managing a local foundation. I also thought about working in healthcare as continuous industry changes create opportunities for leadership. I even went pretty far down a path with a couple of other large companies, but they were both in urban markets.”
Mardie and his wife, his high school sweetheart, Jennifer, loved the small town life, as did his 17-year-old daughter Kailyn, who would be making the move with the family. The Herndon’s twin daughters are 22 and both live and work in Savannah. Mardie describes Jennifer as being his foundation and strength. He added that while the board “liked” him during the interview process, they absolutely “loved” Jennifer!
“When the opportunity came up in Paducah, a friend of a friend referred me, and honestly I couldn’t tell you where Paducah was on a map at that point. But it only took one visit to this wonderful town and a 30-minute conversation with Joe Framptom to know this was the place for me. I feel as though I have spent the last 22 years preparing for this opportunity at this very moment.”
Mardie attributes his immediate love for Paducah and Paducah Bank to the character of the company, the opportunity to do something gratifying, not only personally but professionally, and the ability to have an impact on things he really cares about. Those include faith, family, and career.
Mardie credits his dedication to his familial roots. “My father operates an aircraft parts company that was opened in the 1940s by my grandfather,” he explains. “I grew up in an environment that was filled with hard-work, commitment and always seeking to go above and beyond for customers. Those days were my earliest inspirations. I hope I’m carrying those traits into my generation and exhibiting them for my daughters.”
Speaking of daughters, Mardie believes that his children have also been inspirations. “They each have such defined personalities. They’re all kind-hearted, strong, and determined in their unique pursuits. I’ve learned a lot from being a dad. My girls have made me a better person.”
Of course, in a house of girls, there is always “something” going on. When we asked Mardie to recall a funny memory with his family he told this story.
“During a family vacation to Disney World our youngest daughter was terrified of roller coasters. So we all coaxed her and talked her into riding the Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster. She cried all the way through the ride. I was so stressed out that when I got off the roller coaster, I had pinched a nerve in my back and could barely stand up and my wife had lost her cell phone on the ride. Our older girls just stood back and laughed. Eventually we ALL could laugh about it…after a dose of Advil!”
But through the laughter AND the tears of raising a family and investing time in a career, balance is the basis of making it all work, Mardie suggests.
“I think you have to prioritize the many facets of your life and find the proper order. I think that’s vital at home and at work,” he comments. “When it comes to my new place here at Paducah Bank, it’s important to me that as a team we all find the right balance; that we base our dealings on honesty and that we are guided by a moral compass that always steers us to do what’s right. I think that’s an important part of leadership. I hope to inspire our team to reach beyond what they feel they’re capable of accomplishing so that we are truly at the top of our game for our customers and the community.”
The sports that Mardie played growing up in Georgia ignited a competitive desire in him to be the best. Today, here in Paducah, excellence is always the name of the game.