Bank honored for gender diversity

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

NASHVILLE -- For the second year in a row, First Farmers and Merchants Corporation has been recognized for its efforts to have women on its Board of Directors.

CABLE, the largest network of professionals in Tennessee committed to connecting women with opportunity, recognized First Farmers, noting that Dr. O. Rebecca Hawkins, former President, Columbia State Community College, and M. Darlene Baxter, former Vice President of Affiliate Services for Maury Regional Medical Center, have been on the First Farmers Board of Directors since 1999 and 2007, respectively.

The organizing committee of Nashville business and professional women chose the name "CABLE" because the word suggests strength of the links between women.

First Farmers joins 12 other companies in Tennessee and 14 outside the state honored in ceremonies at the Nashville CABLE Board Walk of Fame on the Lipscomb University campus for the bank's gender diversity.

"We're humbled to be among the companies who are being recognized for placing women in key positions in our top leadership ranks," said T. Randy Stevens, chairman and CEO, First Farmers and Merchants Corporation. "Both Rebecca and Darlene are smart businesswomen who have contributed greatly to the success of our bank through the years. They also are excellent representatives for all of the women we have throughout our company who demonstrate daily that our belief in diversity is simply smart business."

The Walk of Fame is an annual event intended to celebrate those companies that advocate and demonstrate the benefits of gender-balanced boards. The bank was one of only four companies that repeated the honor from 2010, the Walk's inaugural year. Companies from Tennessee recognized include AmSurg Corporation, Nashville, HealthStream, Inc., Nashville, Regal Entertainment Group, Knoxville and First Security Group, Inc., Chattanooga. Companies outside the state recognized include CIT Group, New York, New York, Abercrombie & Fitch Co., New Albany, Ohio, and BB&T Corporation, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.