Meridian Star

February 25, 2013

Star of the Week: Lela Tisdale

from staff reports
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — From staff reports

    People say she has a way with words. A product of the University of Southern Mississippi’s Journalism Department and Meridian Community College, Lela Tisdale, marketing officer with Citizens National Bank, has been using her gift with pen and paper to shine the spotlight on others for more than 20 years.

    “Writing just comes naturally to me. People come to me all the time with writing assignments about any and everything, and a lot of them will say, ‘I need you to work your magic for me.’ For some reason, a lot of people think I have a knack for taking simple messages and communicating them in a way that shines,” Tisdale said.

    “My absolute favorite articles to write are about people,” she said, “and I’ve gotten plenty of practice lately. Our bank has a really cool Small Business Banking website,, where we spotlight each of our commercial lenders with a personal bio page. So far, I think I’ve written over 20 banker bios in the past year. Banking is a people oriented business, so we want people to feel extremely comfortable when it comes time to contact us about something they need."

    Citizens National Bank is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, and Tisdale has led the way when it comes to the bank’s efforts to lend a helping hand to non-profits in the community.

    “I’ve watched with pride as our bank has opened its doors to all kinds of agencies who’ve needed our help to see that their good work continues,” she said.

    Born in Meridian, Tisdale says: “I love this town! We have so much to be proud of here. I am especially proud of people like Sela Ward and Marty Stuart who travel all over the world and enjoy telling everyone about the treasures we have here at home.”

    Tisdale also loves music and is an accomplished pianist.

    “My mom and dad paid for years of piano lessons and I’ll always be grateful to them for that,” she said. As for her knack for writing, she says that much of it comes from being surrounded by creative people as she was growing up.

    “My sister wanted to be a teacher at an early age, and I can remember her sitting me down at a desk in her room and pretending that I was her student. By the time I started to school, she had me reading pretty well,” Tisdale said.

    “My uncle, Malcolm Newell, was also an interesting person to be around as I was growing up. Nothing was vanilla about him. He’s always had little interesting sayings like 'You’re as welcome as the flowers in May,' or if he wasn’t having a good day he would say things like 'This life is something else!' A few months ago, I went to see him for a long overdue visit and he complimented me on what I was wearing. He didn’t say ‘I like your outfit.' Instead, he said 'that’s a beautiful ensemble you’re wearing today.'

    “You just can’t help but write well when you’ve been surrounded by people like that who live life to the fullest and think such rich thoughts."

    February was a big month for Tisdale who celebrated her 11-year-old son Justin’s birthday and her 2-year-old daughter, Lindsey’s birthday. She and her husband, David, also celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary.  

    “I guess February is my month to get things done,” she said.