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20 Questions - Posted July 25, 2014 9:15 a.m.
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photo by Shannon Richardson

20 Questions with … Pat Hickman, Chairman and CEO, Happy State Bank

What is the best advice you received when you were beginning your career? When counseling/correcting a co-worker, never belittle them – and certainly don’t correct the person in front of others. No one has the right to take another person’s pride.

How do you use social media to grow your network? I really don’t use it. I still don’t understand what a hash tag is and saying that does not bother me at all.

How do you maintain balance? Through a great wife, friends and co-workers who hold me accountable.

What has been your wisest investment? Leading a team to buy a little bank in Happy, Texas, 24 years ago.

How has your past work experience shaped you into a leader? I was hired back in 1978 to be the marketing director for First National Bank Canyon. They told me after I had been on the job for three days that I was also the HR director. I was 26 years old and had zero experience or training as an HR person. I made a thousand mistakes – and hopefully learned from all of them. Forty years of experience has taught me a ton.

What is the best part of your job? Helping people: our customers attain their dreams, my co-workers achieve success in their careers, and our stockholders earn a great return on their investment.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and private life? A couple really impressed upon me the absolute importance of a leader being true to their beliefs in speech and actions – in my case, my Christian beliefs. To be a leader in your business – and family – you have to set the same example in integrity for your children as you do your co-workers. I know I have not done those things perfectly – but I have sure tried to.

Which living person do you most admire and why? Individuals who maintain a thankful attitude. I’ve known people who seemingly have everything and act miserable, and I hate being around them. And I’ve known people who have experienced horrible tragedy, and they are always joyful. I’m blessed just to hang out with them.

Which over-used word or phrase makes you cringe? When someone repeatedly says in a committee meeting or discussion: “With all due respect…” I know it’s polite, but give me a break; just tell me you disagree with me.

What is your business philosophy? At Happy Bank, maintaining our culture is the prime directive.

Which quality do you most value in an employee? A positive attitude. Each employee positively impacts Happy State Bank every day if they walk in with a smile on their face.

What personality trait has most helped you succeed? I think I have a talent in recognizing outstanding skills in other people – and then inspiring them to use those attributes to achieve the same goals that I have.

Who is your favorite author? John Maxwell.

What did you learn from your best boss? The best bosses treat their co-workers with respect all the time. Your worst? The worst bosses treat their co-workers with respect when it’s convenient.

Most important tech tool: Microsoft Office when in town; Happy State Bank debit card when out of town.

Best time management tool: My wife, Nancy, at home – and a great executive assistant, Micki, and chief of staff, Kayla, in the office.

I can’t live without my: I’m not THAT dependent on anything in THIS life.

My favorite thing about Amarillo is: All my children and grandchildren live here.

Most unusual job or task: For years, every time a big dog pooped on our sidewalk, my co-workers thought I was the right person to clean it up. I’m not sure what it is, but there’s some kind of deep meaning in there somewhere.

-- the AM Team

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