President & Chief Executive Officer
Oconee State Bank
Location: Athens, Georgia
The greatest leadership lesson Neil Stevens has learned is to hire great leaders who are smarter than him and who love their work, excel in their roles and serve humbly. “Once this is done, cast a compelling vision and eliminate the obstacles in order to give the team the autonomy to use their talents,” said Stevens, the President and CEO of Oconee State Bank. “Have the emotional intelligence to know how to balance confidence with humility when leading. Humility will take a team further and open more doors than arrogance ever will.”
Oconee State Bank is a locally owned and operated community bank. The mission of the bank is to create remarkable experiences that significantly mark the lives of others. Headquartered in Watkinsville, Georgia, the bank operates four full-service branches and one limited-service branch. In February 2021, Oconee State Bank celebrated 61 years of service and continues to be the only locally owned and operated community bank headquartered in Oconee County.
Stevens was elected President and CEO of Oconee State Bank in 2016, having previously served in the banking industry for almost 30 years. After working in different cultures over many years, Stevens made the intentional decision to build a culture of excellence, care, success and fun, said his colleagues. “OSB has a tremendous history, but when Neil stepped in, there was an opportunity to take the dynamic of the organization to a new level of growth and expansion, all while building a culture that is remarkable.”
During his time at OSB, Stevens has successfully led initiatives to rebrand the bank with a new logo, new vision and mission statements and a new set of values.
“Under Neil’s vision, we have completely restructured the executive leadership teams, expanded into multiple new markets, implemented a targeted digital growth initiative, experienced significant growth in both total assets and stock value, and implemented numerous culture and growth initiatives that have strengthened both our internal team and overall balance sheet,” said his colleagues. “We are truly a better organization because of the passion and purpose Neil has brought to his leadership role.”
Stevens was also instrumental in launching the bank’s first charitable giving arm in the form of The Remarkable Foundation. “Neil continuously puts focus on the team collectively and not just on individuals,” said his staff. “He would certainly say that he is most proud of seeing the bank work as a team with the credit going to the team.”
Neil double majored in college along with attending school to become a paramedic. His miraculous story of survival of a fiery wreck was featured on the show Rescue 911!