Tennessee Alumnus

Chief People Officer

Beth Corum is this issue's spotlight representing UT Martin.

Beth Corum helps make bank best place to work

By Joe Lofaro

She sat in the middle of the classroom, toward the front, waiting for her test to be returned. Instead she saw Dr. Jerald Ogg take all the tests and throw them in the air. With papers scattered, Ogg expressed his concern over the low grades and retreated to the Department of Communications. One by one, the students made their way down the hall to his office in Gooch Hall to discuss their grade.

Beth Corum, then Bethany Harding as a student at UT Martin, was no exception. However, Corum’s grade was above average on the communications law test. It was the only time Corum saw Ogg blow up in the six classes she took from him, and it was only the second time in 26 years of teaching that the now vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost has ever resorted to such antics.

“Other than my father, I consider Jerald Ogg to be my earliest mentor,” says Corum, who graduated in 1990 with a major in communications. “She was plugged in,” Ogg says. “She had energy and curiosity that you did not see in a lot of students.”

After graduate school at Florida State University, Corum answered an ad for a communications director for the Florida Bankers Association. Now she is the president of Capital City Services Co., a subsidiary of Capital City Bank Group in Tallahassee, Fla., and the chief people officer (CPO). During her tenure, the bank has been recognized among best places to work in Florida and best banks to work for by the American Banker magazine.

Corum, a native of Paris, Tenn., is still plugged in, serving on several community and industry organization boards. Many of her coworkers have said Corum is not a typical boss, nor is she a typical banker. “In the spirit of full disclosure, Corum is not smart. She just wears glasses. And zebra print. Every day,” according to her biography.

“I work in a conservative, male-dominated industry with lots of dark suits, so I wear some type of animal print, usually zebra, every day,” she says. “It’s generally subtle, and people in the community look for it when they see me.”

The wife of Chris Corum and the mother of 3-year-old Stella gives most of the credit for her success to her undergraduate days at UT Martin. “UTM was a small campus with unprecedented access to leadership,” she says. “I had a fantastic college experience that prepared me for the role I have today.”