Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, vice president, office manager
Veronica LeBlanc, overseeing the Gateway branch for Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, was waiting for a customer one day when he called, upset and nearly in tears. The customer, it turns out, ran out of gas on the way to the bank.
LeBlanc and a colleague jumped into action. They went out, bought a gas can and delivered fuel to the client. Although that’s not in the typical banker’s training manual, it’s why LeBlanc loves her job. “Being in banking, people think it’s the same thing every day,” she says. “It’s not. You never know who you will impact.”
LeBlanc has had a big impact on Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, a $566 million asset institution that’s one of the last community banks in Southwest Florida standing after a decade of consolidation. She joined the bank in 2017, recruited from IberiaBank to open Sanibel Captiva’s new branch in Gateway, a tight-knit community between Fort Myers and Lehigh Acres. The branch, bank officials say, has since grown to $43 million in deposits, as LeBlanc — beyond delivering gas — has created a family atmosphere for customers and employees, including an annual July 4th BBQ.
A Chicago native, LeBlanc thought she was going to be a teacher. But she was hooked on banking after working as a teller in high school, in Indiana. After more than a decade of working for bigger and regional banks, LeBlanc says Sanibel Captiva’s streamlined entrepreneurial culture has been a key to her success. “When I started [at Sanibel Captiva], I said, ‘What do you mean I don’t have a to call a 1-800 number for an approval?’” LeBlanc says. “‘No,’ they said. ‘You’re the approval.’”
That entrepreneurial culture was in overdrive in the early days of the pandemic. That’s when LeBlanc and many of her Sanibel Captiva colleagues worked nights and weekends to get federal Payment Protection Program loans processed and approved quickly. “It was crazy. It was nonstop,” LeBlanc says. “Sundays I would try and force myself to not look at the computer. But I would fail.”
The payoff, in being able to provide clients a way to stay in business and keep employees on the payroll, was worth the frantic pace. “I enjoy being a banker,” LeBlanc says. “People look to you for financial advice and you can really help them.”
Years on the Gulf Coast
What community group or organization are you most involved with?
Kiwanis of Fort Myers/Gateway, SWFL Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, local chapter of businesswomen
What's the weirdest job you've ever had?
In high school during summer break, I worked at a pickle manufacturing plant that distributed pickles to McDonald’s and Burger King. My job was to check the pickles for accurate salt levels. If the salt levels were too high, I had the authority to completely stop the entire production until the salt levels were accurate, which happened a couple of times. I would say that’s a weird job for someone that young.
What's your top tip for being productive?
For me the most important thing I do to keep me on task and productive is to maintain a daily to-do list. It helps me prioritize my most critical items, which become the basis for my work day and week.
If you could have a side hustle, what would it be?
What's your favorite off-hours activity?
A good workout, spending time with my family and a good glass of wine
What's your favorite board game, game show or video game?
What’s your go-to delivery service? (DoorDash, Uber Eats, GrubHub, Bite Squad, etc.)
As a Gateway resident and local community banker, I feel an obligation to frequent the many, local Gateway eateries. I limit these delivery services. I prefer to order directly and support our local restaurants.
What do you use most — Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams or Google Meetings?
Zoom and Microsoft Teams
What’s the best binge-worthy show you have enjoyed during the pandemic?
I have to admit I have watched several during the pandemic, including "You," "Ozark," and like everyone else I had to watch "Tiger King."
What’s the longest virtual meeting you’ve been on since mid-March?
Approximately one hour, 30 minutes regarding they Payroll Protection Program
How many times had you used video for a work meeting prior to the pandemic?
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned during the pandemic?
To be able to adapt to a new situation. I am fortunate to work for an organization that was able to quickly improvise, adapt and overcome an unprecedented situation.
What do you miss most about the world pre-pandemic?
Freely seeing/visiting my family and friends and feeling 100% comfortable and safe having a good meal at an indoor restaurant.
What have you been spending more time doing during the pandemic?
Aside from binging on Netflix, I've spent countless hours cleaning out closets and rearranging furniture over and over again.
Do you prefer working from home or working from an office?
As an essential business, my team and I have been working together everyday in the office to provide necessary banking services to our customers without any disruption.
How have you kept up camaraderie with colleagues during the pandemic?
The beginning of April, every San Cap Bank branch was a point of contact for the Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program, so we experienced a huge increase in activity helping people secure these loans. We were in the office every day, sometimes late evening and working on the weekends, assisting customers via phone, email, videoconference or safely in person by appointment. Although this was challenging, it has made us a much stronger team.
What’s the first thing you’ll do after the pandemic?
Get on a plane to visit my family in person and spend time with my sweet nephews and nieces.