BY OLIVIA CAMERON – Boca Grande’s Englewood Bank has just hired a new manager to keep their tellers in good hands. Gretchen Holla has been in the banking business since her career history began and she is now part of the island crew. However, her managerial title didn’t fall out of the sky.
Gretchen joined Bank of America’s team at the age of 20 in her hometown of Washington, North Carolina. Her banking experience grew during her time with her local branch and it wasn’t long before her title advanced.
“I was a natural. After six weeks, I was promoted to teller manager,” said Gretchen.
She worked with the branch for 25 years before deciding to take the next step.
She and her husband, Ron, have traveled frequently during their ten-year marriage, but realized they’d never visited the Englewood area. Just as soon as they picked the small town off the map, the pair made the move down.
Gretchen had begun to work with Bank of America in a part-time position. She made the decision to work as a float teller for Englewood Bank. As a float teller, Gretchen valued her free time, but it was short lived.
“I didn’t mean to land a full-time position,” said Gretchen, but she couldn’t pass up the offer. She was asked to take an executive position in February and has now become Retail Banking Officer. This position equips her with an advising role and allows for authoritative management of finances and customer needs.
Her multiple years of experience set her up for the position.
“It was an easy transition,” said Gretchen. “The island is like a family community.”
She has found comfort in the small population, stating that this position has brought a different mindset.
“You drive over the bridge and think, ‘I can handle anything’ because you’re basically working in paradise.”
Her comfort in the workplace has given the staff a family-like appeal. Her residence is home to three dogs, two cats, and a few hermit crabs.
“I’ve always had a big passion for animals.”
That’s why Gretchen believes she will have future involvement with the humane society. She enjoys being a part of community outreach and sees the shelter as a great place to start.
Gretchen also aspires to help on behalf of the Homeless Coalition someday to give back to the community what the community has given to her.
Not only does she have banking experience but knows a thing or two about traveling the world. Her husband, Ron, was born in the Netherlands, which has given the pair the chance to travel to his home and to Paris, Germany and Belgium. Gretchen’s two daughters currently reside in North Carolina; however, she doesn’t regret moving south. She has fallen for the seaside town, fishing culture, and beach days.
The moment she came across the causeway was when she knew she’d made the right decision. Gretchen looks forward to helping the community of Boca Grande through her past experience. Her new leadership position in the bank is to be met with smiles and familiar faces of the town.