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FNB Oxford Bank’s Melanie Thompson is making a difference

For almost a decade the book “Square Table” has sold thousands of copies as a must-have cookbook for everyone who lives and loves Oxford.

Melanie Thompson, who serves today as marketing manager at FNB Oxford Bank, worked for months trying to get a group to do the book. She was a publishing consultant for Wimmer Cookbooks and believed the right Oxford product would be a big success.

So Thompson, the daughter of Pat and Patty Tatum of Oxford, looked for a partner to do the book, talking to different non-profits, including churches and civic organizations. But it wasn’t going anywhere. One evening she was sitting by Ann Abadie, a member of the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, at a dinner and they talked about the book idea.

Abadie loved the concept and believed YAC would make it happen and soon “Square Table” was born, a community-involved project that has funneled tens of thousands of dollars to the arts council in the past decade and a project that some credit helping energize the agency to send YAC soaring.

“The volunteers really made it happen,” Thompson says. “I am just blessed to have been a part of it.”

Thompson had many wins in publishing, including a popular cookbook with Barbara and Jack Nicklaus (the famous golfer) and their daughter Nan O’Leary, but it’s fitting that she got to be involved with the Oxford book since she and her family have been deeply involved in the city, including its businesses, culture and philanthropy for decades.

As a child, Thompson’s mother, Patty, took she and her siblings to work at the Pantry, the Lafayette County food provider for needy families. “That’s pretty much what I did in the summertime,” she recalls.

Now she and her husband, Billy, live in Oxford and Thompson is the marketing manager at FNB Oxford Bank by day and a mother and community volunteer for most every other available hour.

She still volunteers at the Pantry and also works in the Oxford schools as a leader of Integrity Time (Oxford Elementary) and as a Sunday school teacher of small children at Oxford-University United Methodist Church. She also graduated from Leadership Lafayette.

It’s all part of a commitment to the community that she says was instilled by her parents from those early days at the pantry.

“Big shoes to fill,” she says smiling when talking about her parents. “My mom is one of those who has the ability to see people falling through the cracks and see how to reach out and

help them when they need it most.

“She gets somebody in to see some doctor, or into dental care, or helps them get a job back they lost by getting through red tape, and really cares for people. Both of my parents are incredible role models. It’s just an honor to be back home in this community with them.”

Thompson and her husband came back to Oxford in 2010 – they met as Ole Miss students – and she went to work at FNB Oxford Bank in 2013 when President Johnny Barrett encouraged her to take the job.

She takes advantage of the experienced FNB team to connect the bank with the community, providing programs for RSVP on elder abuse and fraud, engaging them in fundraising for community organizations, and internal initiatives like a healthy workplace.

FNB Oxford participates in the Banker in Every Classroom program and the Reality Fair at Lafayette High School, and she’s even added contemporary music, to the lobby of FNB Oxford Bank’s main branch.

“We want people to feel comfortable in the bank,” she says. “It’s trying to break down the barriers of how people used to see banks as big and stuffy so that people who are having questions about their accounts or financial needs can come in and talk comfortably to professionals who can help.”

It’s all part of having the right job in the right place for Thompson.

“This is home,” she says. “I couldn’t imagine doing this anywhere else.”

Melanie Thompson:

Profession: Marketing Manager at FNB Oxford Bank

Worth Knowing: Thompson had a successful career as a publishing consultant, traveling throughout the country to work with clients. She left the profession to spend more time with her son and family.

Favorite thing about our community:  “Oxford is such a great place to live, an easy place to live. Both our school systems are great. We have assets like the University Museums. We have so many amazing, talented people here. We are blessed.”