Teresa Bowen is currently a vice-president of People’s Bank (“People’s”) in Mendenhall, Miss. Bowen was the first African-American to be hired by People’s. She said that at the time she was hired, she was working at a manufacturing plant and looking for a better job. A man named Willie Magee from the church she attended then told Bowen that People’s was hiring. Bowen said that she went to People’s, and Sid Davis, the president of People’s during that time, hired her on the spot. Bowen was hired to work at People’s in April of 1977.
At the time she was hired, Bowen said that she was taking classes at Draughons Business School in Jackson, Miss. After People’s hired her, management gave her an opportunity to go back to school, so Bowen began attending Co-Lin and Hinds community colleges. In addition to taking classes at these institutions, Bowen took classes at both Trustmark bank and People’s. The classes at People’s were taught in the bank by Davis.
Bowen started at People’s working in the mail room. She was subsequently promoted to the proof machine, bookkeeping, the teller line, and then the loan operation office. In the loan department, Bowen said that she began typing loans for officers in the bank, then began making loans on her own, and now she is one of the vice-presidents of the bank in the loan office. Throughout the thirty years of working at People’s, Bowen has continued to advance both in education and her career. She received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Belhaven College in 1998, graduating cum laude.
Bowen said that she experienced people not wanting her to wait on them, and it was hard at times when she first started working at People’s. However, Bowen said that Davis and the current president of People’s were very supportive of her. “I give all praise to the Lord because I can see his hand in my advancement [at People’s], and I thank [my co-workers] for giving me the opportunity to work here,”Bowen said.
Interview with Teresa Bowen