15 leadership lessons you need to know from a local banker who’s married to a youth minister

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Brittany Cobb
Brittany Cobb of Truist. Photo via Brittany Cobb

In 2022, Brittany Cobb will celebrate 15 years working with Truist. From the early days, when she couldn’t believe she was getting paid to do a job she loved so much, to now, she has had the opportunity to grow, thrive and lead others. Keep reading for her story. 

Meet Brittany Cobb

Today, Brittany Cobb serves as a Premier Banker for the State of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. The focus of her role is Relationship Manager to the bank’s higher net worth families. 

In this, she does the following: 

  • Helps manage their banking and credit needs
  • Partners effectively to manage risk
  • Provides investment education
  • Financial and estate planning

When she started at Colonial Bank as an administrative assistant in July 2007, Cobb never could have imagined she’d be where she is now. Here’s what happened. 

A long and rewarding career with BB&T/Truist

Truist Purple Bag
Brittany Cobb assembling hygiene bags for a local nonprofit. Photo via Brittany Cobb

In that first role, Cobb supported the Retail Banking Manager for the State of Alabama. In 2009, when BB&T acquired Colonial Bank, a lot of new leadership came to the state and gave her the opportunity to meet many world-class leaders. 

At the same time, the job she loved changed, and no one was exactly sure where she fit in best since her entry into banking was at the administrative level, and she didn’t yet have any retail banking experience. 

“I remember Josh Petty telling me he wanted me to transfer to the Relationship Banker role working inside the branch. I said ‘You want me to go talk to the clients?’ I wondered if he knew what he was doing.”

Brittany Cobb

Although she had a lot to learn, Cobb found herself surrounded by really good leaders who believed in her and pushed her out of her comfort zone. During the two years she worked in that role, she developed “a tremendous amount of ambition” (her words). 

She spent the next year seeking out opportunities and raising her hand for any advancement opportunities she could. 

When Cobb finally got the opportunity to manage a branch of her own, it was a small, rural office, and she was basically a third-string walk-on. 

“Josh Petty was my Retail Banking Manager at the time and I remember the words he spoke to me. He said, ‘This office likely won’t be a top-performing office, but you need to learn the fundamentals of the job. And you better not finish last. Now go show me something.’”

Brittany Cobb

Cobb walked into the office beaming with excitement and pride. She quickly learned that everyone there knew way more than she did about operating a branch, since they’d been doing that since before she was born. 

Learn more about Truist today.

Leadership lessons along the way

leadership lessons, youth group
Youth group is an important leadership development opportunity. Photo via Brittany Cobb

At that moment, Cobb realized she had to learn and put her time in. 

“I wasn’t there to manage an office. I was there to lead people as I had been led. To lead with servitude, humility, support and encouragement.”

Brittany Cobb

Since her office was an hour’s drive from where she lived, she took advantage of all that time to learn everything she could about leadership through audiobooks and podcasts. 

Here are Cobb’s top 15 leadership lessons: 

  1. Culture matters—a whole lot.
  2. People remember how you make them feel.
  3. Character creates value. You have to treat people the right way. Character is an accumulation of your thoughts, habits and priorities—what you think, what you do and what’s important to you.
  4. There’s no substitution for activity.
  5. People don’t work for organizations—they work for people and purpose.
  6. It’s ok to be a role player. And, sometimes it’s best to get out of other people’s way if they can do it better than you can.
  7. Leaders who want their teams to thrive can’t make blanket statements and expect the individual it was intended for to hear it.
  8. You have to be direct and clear in your communication, but you have to do it out of love.
  9. Genuinely caring about people and their families far outweighs the tasks at hand.
  10. There are tremendous parallels between business, leadership and your personal life.
  11. Everyone wants to win, but not everyone knows how to connect the daily things you have to do to make that happen. Everyone wants to win at work, everyone wants to win as a wife/husband, as a mom/dad, a daughter/son, brother/sister, friend/colleague. But do your everyday actions align with what you say you want?
  12. It’s crucial to have discipline, focus and mental toughness when you’re tired and discouraged, because that’s where true growth happens.
  13. The best way to improve is through your mistakes. I continue to make a lot of them. Fortunately, the quality of my advice improves with every mistake I make. I made mistakes with money, and I used those to advise my clients. I made mistakes in my relationships, and I used those to improve the quality of mentoring people.
  14. One of the most important things a leader can do is cast vision and lead through change.
  15. Over time, leadership becomes less about you and your ambition and more about the positive impact you can have in the lives of individuals you’re surrounded by, whether at work, at home, at church, in the grocery store or at a little league game.

Demonstrating love and kindness to the future generation of her community

couple, leadership lessons
Brittany Cobb and her husband, Harmon Cobb II. Photo via Brittany Cobb

Cobb’s husband is the youth minister at Harmony Baptist Church in Anniston. She enjoys working alongside him, remembering people in her younger years who encouraged her and helped her figure out life. 

Together, the couple loves visiting the local nursing home with their youth group and talking with the residents of the memory care facility. Cobb knows first-hand what it’s like to care for someone with a cognitive disease, after losing her mother-in-law to such an illness.

In this work, there have been times when her personal experience has helped her minister to other family members who are visiting since she’s been in their shoes before. 

As for the youth, they love spending time talking to the residents and singing with them. 

A final word on Truist’s culture

mom and daughter
Brittany Cobb and her daughter. Photo via Brittany Cobb

“You can develop all the corporate buzzwords to define what you want your culture to be at the organizational level. What we miss sometimes is that culture is determined by me and you. When you foster an environment of honesty, integrity, doing the right thing, meeting the needs of others…you’ll all of a sudden look up and realize you have exactly what so many others try to create.” 

Brittany Cobb

Truist’s purpose is to Inspire and Build Better Lives and Communities. 

Cobb and the people she works with live by the following company values: 

  • Trustworthy—do the right thing, the right way, for the right reason
  • Caring—every moment matters
  • One team—we can accomplish anything together
  • Happiness—have an enthusiastic positive attitude

“If you had told the 21-year-old Brittany that I would have the opportunity to do what I’m doing today, I wouldn’t have believed you in a million years. I kept saying yes to every opportunity I was given, all the while thinking I wasn’t anywhere near ready for it. What I was ready for was to serve in any capacity I was needed. I am extremely blessed to have been surrounded by individuals who care about investing in the growth and development of other people.”

Brittany Cobb

Brittany Cobb, Registered Representative, Truist Investment Services, Inc. Investment Adviser Representative, Truist Advisory Services, Inc.

Investment and Insurance ProductsAre not FDIC or any other Government Agency Insured •Are not Bank Guaranteed •May Lose Value

Services offered by the following affiliates of Truist Financial Corporation: Banking products and services, including loans, deposit accounts, trust and investment management services provided by Truist Bank, Member FDIC. Securities, brokerage accounts, insurance/annuities offered by Truist Investment Services, Inc. member FINRA, SIPC, and a licensed insurance agency where applicable. Life insurance products offered by referral to Truist Insurance Holdings, Inc. and affiliates. Investment advisory services offered by Truist Advisory Services, Inc., Sterling Capital Management, LLC, and affiliated SEC registered investment advisers. Sterling Capital Funds advised by Sterling Capital Management, LLC

Find out more about Truist today by visiting their website or following them on Instagram.

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