From the School Bus to the Stagecoach

Becky Dockery cuts a strong, caring presence at Wells Fargo bank. That’s because she’s been enterprising since she was 16. 

Words by Suzie Walton | Image by Blakeney Clouse 

In 1975, 16-year-old Cordova High School senior Becky Falls awoke each morning before most of her peers and cranked up the engine on a big yellow school bus. “I lived on a farm and the only way to school for me was to ride the bus,” Becky recalls. “I wanted to earn extra money for a new sewing machine and two calves. I said, if I have to ride the bus, I might as well drive it and earn some money.”

As it turns out, driving the bus was a big responsibility. Becky had to make sure the children did not get hurt, that they stayed in their seats and looked both ways before crossing the road. “I kept my eyes on them, especially the small ones. I still look back and wonder how they let me drive at 16,” she laughs.

Flash forward to November 2019, when Becky Dockery is recovering from a partial knee replacement surgery. Refusing to be bound to a bed or to have a dampened spirit, she ambles along the corridors of Wells Fargo Bank in Jasper, chatting with customers. From across the room Becky’s smile and eyes easily light up and her genuine kindness shines brightly as she encourages a customer. She asks about his family and their holiday plans, listening intently as he replies. Her bright eyes are fixed on the man and she is truly interested in his story he delights in sharing. This is her way, and the customers are her priority. 

It is easy to discover the inspiration behind Becky’s drive–-true grit, as she calls it—a lesson gleaned from her grandmother. “‘You gotta have grit in your craw,’ she would say when I was a young girl,” Becky recalls. “I was always a rebel—a little rough and tough.” 

Becky still isn’t one to back down from a challenge. Her habit of looking for opportunity in an obstacle has equipped her to pursue her dreams and climb the ladder of success in the banking business. As branch manager and brokerage associate at Wells Fargo, Becky leads her team like one driving precious cargo.

Her 44 years in the banking industry began with the encouragement of a teacher at the Walker County Center for Technology (WCCT). She recalls a day in March when the teacher, Ms. Powell, asked the class about their plans following graduation. “I rolled my eyes and said, ‘I guess in an office for a lawyer or a banker.’ Immediately my teacher responded, ‘See me after class.’ I just knew I was in trouble,” she laughs. 

Ms. Powell asked Becky how serious her plans were and set up a job interview. “She told me, ‘You have an appointment at First National Bank with my son-in-law Saturday morning at 9. Don’t be late,’” Becky says. “I wasn’t. I knew that a good job wasn’t coming to my front door. I had to go get it.

“Ms. Powell saw something in me and sent me in the right direction. I didn’t choose banking; banking chose me.” 

Becky loved being a teller but after eight years on the job and a subsequent marriage, she got pregnant. “Back then they didn’t protect your job, so I didn’t have my position anymore,” she says. As she has always done, Becky didn’t focus on the obstacle, but instead looked for an opportunity. So when her daughter was old enough for daycare, she pursued a bank position in Five Points West in Birmingham. 

“It was very challenging,” Becky remembers. “In banking there are a lot of regulations, working parts, and constant training. And then, I have the desire to give back, too.”

Now Becky is still full of energy and grit at Wells Fargo Bank. Her healing knee is an afterthought when faced with the daily challenge of being the branch manager of a bank. Meandering through the teller stations, the foyer, the halls, and eventually into her office, her manner appears similar to a coach or foreman. “I don’t run the office; the whole team does,” she says. “Everyone who comes to work here must come on board with a team mindset and a positive attitude.”

A year-long bus route and four decades later, Becky is still driving. Now her precious cargo are the customers who walk through the door of Wells Fargo. “Building lifelong relationships and earning clients’ trust is so important,” she stresses. “I try to be a good mentor and coach who prepares everyone on my team for their banking career or to take my job. I tell them to shoot for the moon and settle for the stars.” 78 

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