LIVING HISTORY: Carver State Bank President & CEO Robert E. James is “In the Boardroom” with Southeast Georgia Leadership Forum

With the goal of facilitating an exchange of ideas among leaders in the local area, the Southeast Georgia Leadership Forum is hosting its first “In the Boardroom” session. “In the Boardroom” provides an opportunity for participants to hear from prestigious industry leaders who will share valuable insights about their career and the life experiences that set them on the path to success.

The first “In the Boardroom” session will take place Tues. May 10, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Kehoe Iron Works building, located at 660 E Broughton St. The keynote speaker will be Robert E. “Bob” James. James is the Chairman of the Board and President of Carver State Bank, which is one of the oldest black-owned banks in America, having opened its doors in 1927. 

James recently celebrated his 50-year anniversary with Carver State Bank. He entered the position in December of 1971 at the age of 24, making him one of the youngest individuals to become the president of a banking institution in the country. A living piece of history, James holds the distinction of being the longest-serving African American President of a banking institution. He was also among the first African Americans to be accepted into Harvard Business School, which is where he received his MBA. 

“I have a unique background in terms of leadership,” James began. “And that background is I grew up in a housing project in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and I’ve had a unique journey to get to a leadership position,” he explained. Against all odds, James proved himself to be a tenacious leader with a passion for inspiring others. And he plans to share about the life experiences that led him to where he is today.

“I will lean heavily on my journey to the leadership positions that I’ve held. I’ll lean heavily on practical solutions to problems and to the complex issues you face as a leader,” he explained. 

With James at the helm, Carver State Bank continues to fulfill its mission, which is to “provide the building blocks to financial freedom” to thousands of people in the community they serve. 

“One of my business priorities has always been community involvement,” said James. 

As an active leader in the community, James has served on several boards and is a member of numerous organizations including the National Bankers Association, Community Development Bankers Association, and Georgia Bankers Association among others. 

“Bob James is an icon in our community for the work he’s done with Carver State Bank,” said Michael Traynor, consultant for Morris Multimedia. “Leading [the bank] through its years, in its 95th anniversary this year, we believe he has a lot to offer from his experiences that will make for a very good session for the folks who are going to attend,” he continued. 

“He has really made a difference across the board in how our community works together to find solutions to solve problems. And so, he’s an excellent example of the type of individual we want to have as leaders in our community,” Traynor added.

At “In the Boardroom”, participants will have the unique opportunity to hear James speak candidly about his decisions and how they positioned him for success. It’s going to be an exciting learning experience that will equip participants with the information they need to take their careers to the next level. 

“I think participants are going to learn about the leadership that is necessary to run a successful business. . . [They’ll also] learn about the experiences that Mr. James has had over the years and how he’s made the bank so successful, and how you as an individual can also make your leadership successful in whatever you’re going to do,” Traynor explained.

This is an exclusive opportunity to hear from one of Savannah’s brightest leaders. Tickets are just $25 per person, which includes lunch and refreshments. They are currently available at

About The Author

Chantel Britton

Chantel Britton is a compelling storyteller with an ever-growing curiosity. She's built a rewarding writing career for herself in addition to serving five years as a Public Affairs Officer in the U.S. Army Reserve. She's an NPR nerd with a deep passion for all things travel, sustainable living and adventure. She...

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