Born: London, Kentucky.
Education: Bachelor of Science, accounting, University of Kentucky; Master of Business Administration, University of Kentucky; Certified Public Accountant.
Employment: McCoy has been president and CEO of Planters Bank for 14 years. Before her career at Planters, McCoy worked for a variety of banks and a public accounting firm.
Family: Husband of 29 years, Hal; son, Griffin.
Hobbies: Travel, cooking, shopping and reading.
Elizabeth McCoy, president and CEO of Planters Bank in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, loved travel from an early age, and her mother knew it.
“She always said, ‘Don’t ask Elizabeth if she wants to go somewhere because she’ll say yes before she even knows where it is.’”
McCoy’s parents were avid travelers and passed on their passion. As a teenager, McCoy experienced a 30-day trip to major European capitals.
“Wow! That really whet my whistle,” she said.
Today, McCoy can add to her many professional accolades that she was the impetus behind her bank’s travel program: Passport 50.
“I started the program nearly six years ago because I realized what an advantage a travel program is to a community bank. Our members are incredibly loyal,” said McCoy.
Much More on an Impressive Resume
McCoy, who is also the chair of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, an organization that represents the interests of more than 90,000 employers across the commonwealth, and an enthusiastic alumnus of the University of Kentucky, feels that chamber-of-commerce travel and alumni-group travel is also about the loyalty.
“I’ve been on several UK alumni trips, and it is amazing the camaraderie you share with people that went to the same school, regardless of the difference in ages,” she said. “And it’s the same on chamber trips. You’re bound to connect and grow closer to the people you travel with, and as a result, you’ll have a closer relationship once you get home.
“We all know that banks are not in the travel business to make money but to benefit our customers. It’s the same with alumni groups and chambers. They do it for the loyalty.”
Having the correct person to lead a loyalty program is essential, according to McCoy.
“I was always envious of Carolyn Cobb and what she did for another bank in their travel program, and so I was thrilled when she agreed to come here and direct Passport 50. I have had the opportunity to be on a number of our day trips, and I appreciate her attention to detail yet her willingness to be flexible.
“She always has a smile on her face, and that is just one of the reasons our trips fill up, whether they be day trips or overseas excursions. It takes such a special person to genuinely gain the trust and friendship of all sorts of different people.”
Learning, Laughing and Enjoying Treasured Moments
Thanks to travels with her husband, Hal; extended family; and professional associations, McCoy’s personal history of travel destinations is impressive; the Nile, Tahiti, Alaska, Russia, Egypt, European countries and more are checked off on her list.
“I think it is so important to also spend time with good friends during those cherished days when you’re not at work, not worried about family and free to just have fun,” she said. “Hal and I celebrated a dear friend’s 50th birthday aboard a riverboat cruise on the Danube from Budapest to Prague. Not only was the trip fantastic, there were times we laughed so hard we cried just because we were having fun together.”
McCoy experienced her first Kentucky Chamber of Commerce trip in 2013 when the group traveled to Dubai, thanks largely to the relationships Kentucky officials have made with Dubai royalty.
“Our governor’s wife became personal friends with the Princess of Dubai during the 2010 Alltec World Equestrian Games in Lexington. The royal family has a love of horses, and they have visited Kentucky many times, made investments in our state and created many jobs.”
The trip included not only a private reception, but also a tour of the royal stables and a visit to the Maydan Racecourse and the Burj Kahifa, the world’s tallest building.
“It was a trip of a lifetime,” said McCoy. “Traveling with Kentucky business leaders was a true pleasure. Dubai is unlike any other country to which I have traveled. We found the people to be very open, with an incredibly positive attitude.”
Teach Your Children Well
While McCoy describes the biggest benefit of traveling as the broadening of one’s perspective on the world, this down-to-earth bargain hunter admits that one of her favorite traveling perks is the shopping.
“I always try to buy jewelry or some sort of original artwork everywhere we go,” she said.
“For instance, I have beautiful lacquer boxes from Russia. But I remember my first time in Russia, I was wondering, where is the gift shop? They took us to a little book rack. The second time there, they had so much more to offer. The former Soviet Bloc countries are getting much better, from accommodations to cuisine to gifts, in attracting travelers.”
McCoy and her husband recently took their 6-year-old son, Griffin, to England.
“It was his first international experience, and what an experience it was for us. To see it through his eyes, to hear the questions he would ask — it was a fantastic reminder of how different the world is.
“It is so important to expose your children to things they aren’t accustomed to, from cars to food to the way people look. And you don’t have to go out to the country. Watch them throw fish at Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Go to an island off our own coastline.
“Just show your children that traveling is one of the best ways to live life to the fullest.”