It's a small world: How the ATM industry brought 3 friends together
by the ATM Industry Association
The ATM Industry is a community. And sometimes, it is more tightly knit than we might realize, as three industry professionals discovered.
Robin Robicheaux, director of distributor services at Cardtronics, Maria Miller, national account manager at Triton, and Alicia Blanda, chief marketing officer at Blanda Marketing & Public Relations, all have something in common — besides being ATM industry professionals, that is.
They all went to the same school in Gretna, Louisiana. But here's the thing: They never met until the ATM industry brought them together.
"We all grew up in the same area of New Orleans," said Alicia, "and it turns out, we all went to the same tiny Catholic high school called Archbishop Blenk — just at different times."
Maria and Alicia first met while working at Triton in 2006. But despite becoming fast friends, it was more than a year before they discovered they'd practically grown up together.
"We noticed on Facebook that we were connected to a lot of the same people," said Maria. "So we started talking about it and it turns out we were attending the same high school in New Orleans for a year before I moved to Mississippi."
Robin and Alicia met at the 2010 ATMIA conference in Miami. While sharing a cab to the airport, they started chatting and exchanged business cards.
"I said, 'Oh! You have a fleur-de-lis on your card. Are you from New Orleans?'," Robin recalled.
Alicia had a question of her own: "What's a Robicheaux doing in New Jersey?"
From there, it was a matter of moments before the women discovered that they, too, had grown up in the same part of New Orleans and attended the same high school. What's more, they learned that Robin's dad and Alicia's mom were both principals in the local school district — and also knew each other.
At the 2014 ATMIA conference in Las Vegas, Alicia was finally able to introduce Maria and Robin. Over dinner at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, the three friends chatted about home.
"It's pretty amazing to have found Alicia and Maria," Robin said. "Having all grown up in New Orleans means we have the same cultural history with grandparents or great grandparents who spoke Cajun French, as well as using a variety of phrases that are unique to the region."
Without their connection to the ATM industry, it's unlikely that Alicia, Maria and Robin would have ever crossed paths after leaving New Orleans. But that connection — and a bit of serendipity — has brought them close together in spite of geographic distance.
"We don't get to see each other all of the time," Maria said, "but we have become very good friends through the industry."