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The Group Travel Leader Small Market Meetings Going on Faith

Checking in with Kimberly Dockery

Vice President and Silver Spirit Director

Merchants Bank

Cullman, Alabama

Merchants Bank of Alabama originally opened in 1907 in Hanceville. Today, the bank operates five offices in Cullman and Marshall counties with assets totaling $260 million. With close to 3,000 members, the Silver Spirit club accepts customers 50 and over with a deposit of $1,000 in checking or $5,000 in savings.

Born: Cullman, Alabama

Education: B.S. from Auburn University and a graduate certificate from Samford University Community School of Banking

Employment:  Dockery worked in the transportation industry before starting at Merchants Bank 15 years ago. 

Family: Married with two grown children, Nathan and Amanda

Hobbies: Dockery enjoys photography, playing the piano and scrapbooking in between her travels.

When Kimberly Dockery, vice president and Silver Spirit director of Merchants Bank, talks about Cullman, Alabama, it can sound reminiscent of the idyllic fictional towns of Mayberry or Bedford Falls.

“This is a fun little town where everybody know everybody,” said Dockery. “My group members are my friends. I went to school with their kids and grandkids. When I go to the grocery store, I’ll see them. Sometimes on the way to work, I’ll get them milk and things like that.”

Dockery enthusiastically will tell you that the close friendships she forms as bank club director have been her favorite part of her job. Though the bank club’s membership has risen to close to 3,000, Dockery strives to foster relationships with everyone.

“I really do celebrate with them during happy times like when they overcome cancer,” said Dockery. “I grieve the loss of their spouses with them. The hardest part of my job is attending a funeral for one of my members. I get so attached.”

Though she loves the wonderful destinations she’s been able to discover, it’s the people that keep her passionate about leading Merchant Bank’s travel club.


Picking Up a New Dream

When Dockery first started at Merchant Bank 15 years ago as a customer service representative, the Silver Spirit club had just started. While she waited for a transfer into the bank’s investments department, the club’s director position became available.

“It was a more fun route than just working in investments, which is what I thought I would be doing,” said Dockery. “I went into it not really knowing a lot about travel planning.”

Growing up, Dockery’s family made a trek to the nearby beach each year but not much beyond that. Her first trip with the club took her to Cape Cod. She knew immediately that this was the job for her.

“At the time, the program was just starting,” said Dockery. “There were only 20 people on the trip, so it was like going with 20 of your good friends.”

Since then, the club has expanded to take an average of 50 people on day trips seven to nine times a year. Dockery also organizes short trips of three or four days, as well as one big trip a year.

After so many years on the job, Dockery has seen it all, from a 93-year-old walking confidently on a glacier to a laugh-filled dune buggy ride in California. Dockery plans mostly domestic trips, with the exception of the Canadian Rockies.