Veterans Day is a day of celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
This national day of honor and thankfulness was originally celebrated as Armistice Day to commemorate the end of fighting in World War I on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. Today’s Veterans Day, signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on June 1, 1954, is the celebration by all people of the veterans that have served to protect the world from oppression and tyranny, and to preserve our American freedoms and liberties.
Honoring Our Own
At Hancock Whitney, we celebrate our veterans for their service and sacrifice. We recognize those who serve a greater purpose here and in the community. We’re pleased to share this Courageous Conversation with Chief Operating Officer D. Shane Loper, as we also celebrate our veterans.
Shane comes from a long line of military service. In each generation, someone has been called to serve. “Veterans Day is special because all people celebrate the selfless service of the men and women who have served our country and the world by accepting the call to put other people and ideals before themselves,” he says.
Professional and Community Service
The Ocean Springs native has served Hancock Whitney for nearly 30 years – his 30th anniversary is November 19th. When he graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in summer 1990, he also was a 2nd lieutenant in the Mississippi Army National Guard. His transition from college was right in the thick of National Guard units being mobilized to duty during the first Gulf War. Shane struggled finding a job because of his risk of being called to duty.
One day on his job search, Shane walked into One Hancock Plaza and applied for a job. Franklin Williams, a retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant and head of bank technology, interviewed him and hired him as a computer programmer. Shane says he will never forget Franklin and Rodney Sandoz for giving him an opportunity to begin a career while also being allowed to continue his public service in the military.
As this veteran’s career evolved at Hancock Whitney, so has his service to the community. He has served on the USM Foundation board and the Gulf Coast Business Council board. He was appointed by former Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant to serve on the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services board. He also chaired and was a member of the Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA board for seven years.
Shane considers himself fortunate to serve with many of the bank’s past leaders that are still revered today. “I learned a lot about leadership, banking, personal relationships, business ethics, and the essential need for a bank in a community. I am thankful for the opportunities that the bank challenged me with over the past 30 years. I work hard each day to create an environment to allow others to grasp opportunities like I’ve had to succeed,” he says.
“My role is a continuous journey of doing whatever it takes to keep the company moving in the direction of success and sustaining an environment where all associates can be successful”
Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and inclusion is an important aspect of Hancock Whitney that Shane values. “Everyone regardless of who they are or what their role is in the company should believe without reservation that they are an important part of our company’s journey and success,” he says. “A diverse workforce and portfolio of clients only makes the organization stronger.”
“Diversity and inclusion inside the bank brings thoughts, ideas and perspectives that make us all think and see things from a position other than our own. Diversity in our client portfolio ensures we are creating opportunities for all people in the communities we serve. Together we are stronger in our thoughts, decisions, execution and success.”
About Courageous Conversations
At Hancock Whitney, we celebrate our diversity and appreciate the contributions, differences and experiences of our associates. Through the Courageous Conversations article series, we hope to spark curiosity and understanding while respectfully navigating diversity topics, educating one another and more.