written by PAMELA A. KEENE | photo by KELLE MAC PHOTOGRAPHY
For Tasia Katapodis, the flashback was overpowering. Seeing the Salvation Army’s warehouse filled with toys for the Christmas Angel Tree stirred memories of her own childhood, when she and her sister relied on the kindness of strangers for their holiday gifts.
“I was an Angel Tree kid, so I know what it means for families to have support, love and compassion when times are difficult,” said Katapodis, regional president of United Community Bank (UCB). “Now I can reciprocate in such a small but significant way to give a voice to those who do not have one.”
Growing up in Memphis, Tenn., Katapodis started working with her father’s poultry business when she was in the third grade. “I’d get on the phone to collect bills, making my voice sound older than I was,” she said. “[At 12], when my father went out of town on business, he put me in charge of running the plant.”
Since graduating from Vanderbilt University as a L.S. Wood Scholar, she has overseen the integration of eight bank mergers and acquisitions as well as managed a $4-million banking operation in six metropolitan Atlanta counties, while simultaneously establishing a new bank in the Atlanta market.
She gives generously of her time and leadership talent. Katapodis has been chair of the board of the Metro Atlanta Salvation Army since 2012, managing 50 board members and an annual budget of more than $20 million. She also serves on the Gwinnett Medical Center’s Women’s Advisory Council and the Board of Counselors at The Carter Presidential Library — and the list of volunteer work continues.
“So many opportunities exist to remind us of the work that still needs to be done,” she said. “We are focused on making positive changes in Atlanta that merit our attention. We cannot afford to overlook problems that exist in the markets where UCB operates.”
Today, she continues to live by example, often bringing her own children to serve at soup kitchens, to help select Angel Tree gifts or ring the bell for the Salvation Army’s holiday kettles. “I want my children to understand that it’s a privilege to serve others and give of yourself to help a community grow and prosper,” she said.
“It’s about making the next generation of citizens sensitive to the needs of their community, and each and every one of us doing our part.”
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