Sorrell College of Business alumnus Chad Jones, president and CEO of First Bank of Alabama, challenged students to take on the “journey” of leadership and build relationships.
“My time at Troy University was the beginning of my path towards leadership,” he said. “Leadership is a journey, not a destination.”
Jones, a Talladega native, has a banking career that spans 27 years – the last 16 of which have been with First Bank of Alabama and has been in his current role for past eight years. He has also served on the board of First National Bankers Bank since 2017.
His visit was part of an event co-sponsored by the Sorrell 360 Center for Professional Life and the Johnson Center for Political Economy. He also participated in “Success Stories,” a television show hosted by Associate Dean Dr. Allen Mendenhall, who also directs the Johnson Center.
Jones said much of the credit for his success as a leader was meeting Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr. and developing other mentors.
“He asked me what activities I was involved in at school, and how did I see myself,” Jones said of his first meeting with Hawkins, during a campus visit with his mother during high school.
“What he was getting at was: ‘Did I see myself as a leader’,” he said. The answer was ‘yes’ and that turned into a scholarship to attend TROY – first in accounting and then in marketing.
Another central theme of his talk was the importance of building relationships, particularly with mentors. Mr. Jones credited several mentors who guided him during his education and career, including Dr. Hawkins.
“They were able to see potential in me that I couldn’t see in myself (at the time),” he said.
Other key discussion topics included the importance of communication, hard work, professionalism, and character.
“Mr. Jones is a perfect example of the type of leader and professional that we prepare our graduates to become. He exemplifies the Sorrell College culture of heart, humility, and hard work, as shown through his gratitude for his mentors throughout his career and his willingness to share his time and advice with our students. He also shares time with community organizations and spoke often of his family. Mr. Jones was an example for students of career success as part of a meaningful and fulfilling life,” said Dr. Laura Dove, and assistant dean and director of the 360 Center.
Mendenhall called Jones “an excellent role model for students” and “the kind of business leader who should inspire young people.”
The Sorrell 360 Center houses the three professional development courses required in the business core. The Center also hosts the Sorrell College Career Fair and many other events each year. Alumni, employers, and anyone with an interest in student professional development, career readiness, soft skills, or related topics are encouraged to speak to classes and host or attend events. For more information, please contact Dr. Laura Dove at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Laura Dove contributed to this story.