Senior Vice President Liz Hefler and Vice President Lindsey Wands both began their careers with Hancock Whitney after college in a training program, and from that experience and through the mentorship of colleagues at the bank, gained skills and experience that have helped them advance through the organization and into roles within the commercial banking division that they describe as “a people business.” Dispelling misconceptions of all bankers sitting within an office all day, Liz and Lindsey described how they spend significant amounts of time meeting their clients, getting to know them as individuals, understanding the unique operations of their business and market segment, and “walking the floor” with them on a regular basis.
As they walked into the Financial Literacy class at Sacred Heart, which operates its own on-campus PJs coffee shop and is taught by local PJs franchise owner Aubry Miller, Liz and Lindsey were eager to hear the students describe their business strategy, adaptations during COVID, marketing innovations, projected profits, and lessons learned during the past year. Students have managed the on-campus PJs coffee shop successfully since 2016, but this school year has presented unique challenges to the student managers who have had to work within COVID health protocols, restrictions of movement on campus and reduced-contact serving and payment systems. However, as all successful entrepreneurs must, the students have taken these challenges head on and adapted their practices. Reflecting upon the profitable nature of the new “grab-and-go” pop-up, the class decided that it may become a permanent fixture, and shared this as well as other data-driven insight with the Hancock Whitney visitors.
With a clear picture of how the student entrepreneurs have managed their business, Liz and Lindsey shared insight from the industry level on how businesses in general have fared in the past year; ways that large and small companies have had to transition during the pandemic; general advice for entrepreneurs who are seeking loans as well as good management practices. They also advised the students to take advantage of training opportunities and mentorships that help to fill the gap between textbook knowledge and success in the business world.
As an entrepreneur herself and mother of three young children, Aubry is passionate about preparing her students to succeed in business and define their own careers, and through her class connects students to resources such as Liz and Lindsey as well as female entrepreneurs in the local business community.
“I cannot think of anyone to better represent the female business environment than Liz and Lindsey,” said Aubry. “I first started working with them in 2016 when we began this class. During that time, we have bonded from our similar work/life experiences, and we have also become good friends. I look forward to many more years of our partnership and inspiring young girls to follow similar fulfilling careers.”