We are excited to introduce a new feature in our weekly Monday Morning Report newsletter to showcase our highest-level members. Leaders You Should Know highlights community leaders who are making a notable impact in the Nashville region.

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Tell us about yourself?
As Ascend‘s AVP of Business Development, I oversee the credit union’s community development, strategic partnerships, financial wellbeing and field of membership initiatives. Having held marketing and business development roles with Ascend since 2007, I have been part of numerous membership expansion and community support opportunities. I am actively involved with non-profit organizations throughout Middle Tennessee, leading internal and external fundraising efforts to improve the lives of Ascend’s members and the communities we serve. I co-chair Ascend’s Employee Resource Group for Young Professionals, which aims to connect and empower team members 40 and under of all ranks and locations. I am a proud MTSU alumnus – go Blue! I was raised in Tullahoma and currently live in Murfreesboro with my husband and two young sons.

Tell us about your business/industry?
With more than 236,000 members and more than $4.1 billion in assets, Ascend Federal Credit Union is the largest credit union in Middle Tennessee and one of the largest federally chartered credit unions in the United States. Based in Tullahoma, Tenn., the member-owned financial institution offers banking, loan, retirement and investment services from its 27 branches, more than 55,000 free ATMs worldwide, a digital banking portal, and a mobile app. The credit union’s mission is to serve by offering financial literacy education and giving back to its communities in a variety of ways. Ascend is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration. For more information, visit ascend.org.

What should we know about you?
I am an extrovert and love getting to know people of all walks of life. In my personal time, I enjoy spending time outdoors, doing creative art with my kids and friends, reading, and traveling.

How did you get to your current position?
I was recruited to a field position in Marketing during my final semester at MTSU. After several years in that role, I migrated to a specialist role, which allowed me to gain knowledge and skills about the business, including data, relationship management tools, and compliance. I was appointed to lead our Business Development team, which was created as its own department for the first time, in 2018. I have since had the wonderful opportunity to be a “leader of leaders.” My team is seasoned with skills that far exceed my own, and I am grateful to serve alongside them to propel Ascend’s “why” – which is everything we do is to support our members and the communities we serve.

What value do you see in Chamber involvement?
Ascend has been actively involved in our area Chambers for decades. We appreciate the Chamber’s vital economic development efforts, business strategy, and networking opportunities.

What do you enjoy most about being a leader?
I enjoy developing and encouraging my team to be the best version of themselves. They teach me so much every day, and my role as their leader is to support them in their career endeavors and help them solve complex problems to provide the best service to our communities, allowing individuals in Middle Tennessee to be financially empowered.

What local non-profit has a mission that resonates with you?
Ascend is proud to support hundreds of non-profit organizations throughout Middle Tennessee. If I have to select two, a couple of our most trusted partners include Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle TN and Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Both of these wonderful organizations provide vital resources on basic human levels, and they are exceptional to work with.

What advice would you give a student about entering the workforce?
My best advice for a student entering the workforce is to focus in on your top skills/strengths – and if you don’t know what those are yet, invest some time in identifying them through taking assessments like StrengthsFinder. Be true to yourself, your own individuality and uniqueness is what sets you apart and will allow you to organically become who you are meant to be. Success happens when you can work in a role/for an organization in which your own personal morals, beliefs, and goals align.

If you could switch careers for a day, what would you do and why?

I would like to work in a creative role if I could switch careers for a day. Interior design or a personal shopping gig would be up my alley!