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It's a small world: How the ATM industry brought 3 friends together

Monday, January 09, 2017

by ATMIA

Connections to the ATM industry — and a bit of serendipity — brought three women full circle from a tiny Catholic high school in New Orleans.

Robin Robicheaux, director of distributor services with Cardtronics, Maria Miller, national account manager with Triton, and Alicia Blanda, chief marketing officer with Blanda Marketing & Public Relations, all have something in common – other than being ATM industry professionals. They all went to the same high school yet didn't know each other 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.” Robin commented that her graduating class was only around 86. Alicia's was less than 100 as well.

Maria and Alicia first met while working at Triton in 2006. Despite becoming fast friends, it wasn’t until a year or so later they discovered they had 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 show 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?’,” recalls Robin.

“I said, ‘What’s a Robicheaux doing in New Jersey?’,” said Alicia.

From there it was a matter of moments to discover they, too, had grown up in the same part of New Orleans and attended the same school. Furthermore, Robin’s dad and Alicia’s mother were both principals in the local school district – and knew each other.

In 2014, at the ATMIA conference in Las Vegas, Alicia was finally able to personally introduce Maria to Robin where they all had dinner at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville and were able to chat about home.

“It’s pretty amazing to have found Alicia and Maria,” said Robin. “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 phrase that are unique to the region.”

Without the communication, conferences and connection with the ATM industry, Robin, Maria and Alicia may never have found one another. Now, they have yet another connection to bring them even closer together.

“We don’t get to see each other all of the time,” said Maria, “but we have become very good friends through the industry.”


Help ATMIA celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ATM and the 20th anniversary of the association by sharing your stories. Contact Sharon Lane, ATMIA Global Director of Member Services, at +001-605-271-7371.

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