First Freedom sponsored a table at the 40th Anniversary Celebration Gala and Fundraiser for the Mt. Juliet Senior Activity Center. The theme was “Bridging the Generations” and featured the Mt. Juliet High School Theater Department. Over $16,000 was raised that night and all proceeds will benefit the activity center.
Pictured from left to right is Sarah Poss, Bank Officer and Marketing Specialist, Kayla Holbert, Mt. Juliet Personal Banker, Kaitlin Wattenbarger, Providence Personal Banker, Jenny Etheridge, Lebanon FSR, Kevin Etheridge, Robert Jennette, April Jennette, Mt. Juliet Office Manager, and Ashley Montgomery, Mt. Juliet Personal Banker.
On June 15th, several First Freedom officers attended Wilson County CASA’s 30th Anniversary celebration at the Capitol Theatre in Lebanon. Linda Shenk, one of the original organizers of Wilson County CASA, was honored at the event.
CASA provides trained volunteers who advocate in court for the stability and healthy development of abused and neglected children. Cases are referred to the CASA programs by the Juvenile Court Judge, the Department of Children’s Services, and/or the Foster Care Review Board. CASA volunteers do not leave the case until the child can be returned home, is adopted, or other permanent arrangements are made for the child.
Pictured from left to right is Derek Frank, Nicole Frank, Mortgage Origination Officer, Rick Marsh, Debbie Marsh, Mortgage Administration Officer, Chris Ferrell, Shelia Ferrell, First VP, Managerial Lender and Wilson County CASA Board Member, Cathey Sweeney, Executive Director of Wilson County CASA, Emily Vance, and Phillip Vance, Assistant VP and Relationship Manager.
First Freedom hosted the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce’s Community Coffee Club on June 14th at the Cookeville Office.
The Community Coffee Club is a new event organized by the chamber to offer networking opportunities for local business people.
Pictured from left to right is Kenny Beavers, Senior VP and Director of Retail Banking, Sandy Taylor, Cookeville Personal Banker, John Lancaster, Chairman and CEO, Gaile Paul, Algood Assistant Manager, Ladell Medley, Cookeville-Algood Office Manager, Bryan Sweet, Cookeville FSR Manager, and Kelly Emery, Cookeville Assistant Manager.
Maliea Oakley, Senior Vice President and Director of Human Resources, and Phillip Vance, Assistant Vice President and Relationship Manager, attended the Wilson County Main Street Awards Breakfast on May 30th. First Freedom Bank was a finalist in the Best Bank/Mortgage Company category for the second consecutive year.
FFB recognized nine employees this past quarter for exceptional job performance and exceeding their individual goals for enhancing and broadening customer relationships. Their outstanding performance earned them the prestigious honor of Chairman’s Cup Member for the quarter. Pictured above is John Lancaster, Chairman and CEO, with the Chairman Cup Team Members Dawn Kidwell, Mt. Juliet FSR Manager, Kimberly Colson, Mt. Juliet FSR, Karen Elmore, Lebanon FSR Manager, Jenny Etheridge, Lebanon FSR, Sara Beth Davenport, Gainesboro FSR, Susan Nichols, Algood FSR Manager, Josh Hall, Cookeville FSR, Keleigh Carnes, Providence FSR Manager, and Kim Cowan, Providence FSR.
Kim Cowan also received the MVP Award for Achieving the highest overall performance score among all FSRs.
The Lebanon Wilson County Chamber of Commerce held their annual Derby Day Fundraiser on May 5th at Tuckers Gap Event Center. Several of First Freedom’s lending group were in attendance to show their support and enjoy the festivities.
Pictured from left to right is J.B. Owens, Executive Vice President and Director of Commercial Banking, Bethany Owens, Phillip Vance, Assistant Vice President and Relationship Manager, Emily Vance, Shelia Ferrell, First Vice President and Managerial Lender, and Chris Ferrell.
On May 2nd, First Freedom’s Shelia Ferrell, First Vice President and Managerial Leader, graduated from Leadership Wilson.
Leadership Wilson is a non-profit community leadership program. Each year 30 local leaders participate in experiential learning, seminars, group discussions, field trips and retreats organized to stimulate idea exchanges and discussions.
Pictured from left to right is Dorie Mitchell, Director of Leadership Wilson, and Shelia Ferrell.
FFB hosted a booth at the semi-annual Bizapalooza, held on April 19th at the Leslie Town Center in Cookeville. This event is coordinated by the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce and provides a networking opportunity for local businesses.
Pictured from left to right is Gaile Paul, Algood Assistant Office Manager, and Kelly Emery, Cookeville Assistant Office Manager.
First Freedom sponsored a table at the Wilson Books from Birth Imagination Dinner on April 12th at the Wilson County Exposition Center. The table’s theme was Olympic Team, Team USA.
Proceeds raised from the dinner benefit Wilson Books from Birth, a division of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Wilson County. This organization is a free pre-K literary service which mails one book each month to every Wilson County child, up to age five.
Pictured from left to right is Chris Ferrell, Shelia Ferrell, First Vice President and Managerial Lender, Kathy Haskins, and Maliea Oakley, Senior Vice President and Director of Human Resources.
First Freedom attended the annual Future Farmers of America (FFA) Spaghetti Dinner, held on April 5th at the James E. Ward Ag Center in Lebanon. All proceeds from the dinner support the Lebanon FFA chapter.
FFA is an intracurricular student organization focused on agriculture and leadership.
Pictured from left to right is Kelly Ferrell, Lebanon Senior Personal Banker/Team Leader, Karen Elmore, Lebanon FSR Manager, and Maliea Oakley, Senior VP and Director of Human Resources.
Ladell Medley, Vice President and Cookeville-Algood Office Manager, attended Sycamore Elementary School’s “Guys with Ties” event on March 28th.
Guys with Ties is a new event coordinated by the school in order to introduce the second-grade boys to local male community leaders. The guests each spent a few minutes talking about leadership values and how those values fit in their lives, education, and careers. After the presentation, they showed the boys how to tie a tie.
Pictured is Ladell Medley speaking to the students at the event.
Shelia Ferrell, First Vice President and Managerial Lender, worked on a Leadership Wilson team to develop a Public Service Announcement (PSA) for local students. The PSA specifically promotes the Crisis Text Line, a free 24/7 service that connects texters to trained and compassionate crisis counselors.
This PSA will launch at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year on media monitors in every middle school and high school in Wilson County. The team is also working on introducing the PSA into local movie theaters and professional service providers in order to reach as many Wilson County students as possible. Their goal is to have the PSA on all local channels by the end of 2018.
Pictured from left to right is Shelia Ferrell and her team members Kristin Fleming, Elaine Nawiesniak, Michael Leach and Luke Randolph.
First Freedom attended Del Webb’s annual Trade Partner’s Fair on March 8th. The Trade Partner’s Fair is an event coordinated by Del Webb to allow local businesses that are registered in their Trade Partner Program the opportunity to meet the residents.
Del Webb is a local community located at Lake Providence in Mount Juliet. First Freedom has participated in their Trade Partners Program since 2013.
First Freedom Bank officers attended the annual Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber awards banquet on February 13th.
Attendees pictured left to right: J.B. Owens, Executive Vice President and Director of Commercial Banking, John Bradshaw, President, COO and CLO, Sarah Poss, Personal Banker and Marketing Officer, Kenny Beavers, Senior Vice President and Director of Retail Banking, Ladell Medley, Vice President and Cookeville Office Manager, Kelly Emery, Cookeville Assistant Office Manager, Gail Paul, Algood Assistant Office Manager, and Donna Elrod, Vice President and Gainesboro Office Manager.
Tucker Worley has joined First Freedom Bank as a Relationship Specialist, announced Kenny Beavers, Senior Vice President and Director of Retail Banking.
“We are very pleased to have Tucker as a member of the First Freedom team,” said Beavers. “Tucker has a great education, is very familiar with the Wilson County area and loves being an active part of the community.”
Worley is a member of the Mt. Juliet Church of Christ where he has volunteered for numerous mission trips, served as a Church Camp counselor and currently serves as the coach of the Boys high school basketball team. Worley is also involved with the Young Professionals Group of the Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce.
Worley is a graduate of Wilson Central High School and recently completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting at Freed-Hardeman University.
First Freedom Bank is excited to announce promotions for four of its staff members. Each of these individuals started with First Freedom in an entry level position. Their promotions are reflective of their hard work and the company’s focus to educate, train and promote from within.
Laura Johnson AAP, CAMS, CBSM, Assistant Vice President and Deposit Operations Manager, has been promoted to Vice President.
Johnson started with First Freedom in March of 2008 as a Financial Services Representative. She immediately demonstrated strong operational skills and was assigned to the deposit operations area two months later. Progressing quickly, Johnson was promoted to Deposit Operations Supervisor in January of 2011 before being promoted to Operations Officer and Deposit Operations Manager in June of 2013. In 2017, Johnson was promoted to Assistant Vice President.
Johnson has eighteen years of banking experience, compounded by a specialized education revolving around bank automation, money laundering and information security. Johnson holds the Accredited ACH Professional certification (AAP) from National Automatic Clearing House Association (NACHA), the Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist certification (CAMS) from the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists and the Certified Banking Security Manager designation (CBSM) from the SBS Institute. Johnson also holds a General Banking Diploma and a Bank Operation Diploma from The American Bankers Association.
Originally from Mt. Juliet, Johnson currently resides in Lebanon with her husband, Jeremy, and daughter, Kaylee.
Laura Morris, Operations Officer and Loan Operations Manager, has been promoted to Assistant Vice President.
Morris started with First Freedom in November of 2011 as a Financial Services Representative. As a result of her interest in loans and background in Accounting, she was promoted to Loan Operations in December of 2012. In August of 2016, Morris was promoted to Loan Operations Supervisor before being promoted to Operations Officer and Loan Operations Manager in January of 2017.
Morris has eight years of banking experience. She holds an Associate Degree in Accounting from Everest College. Originally from Portland, Tennessee, Morris resides in Old Hickory. She has one son and one grandchild.
Kayla Ring, Construction Specialist, has been promoted to Bank Officer and will function as the Construction Manager. In this role, Ring now has responsibility for documentation, structuring, closing, inspecting and funding of the bank’s residential construction loan portfolio.
Ring started with First Freedom in August of 2013 as Financial Services Representative before quickly being promoted to FSR Manager in November of 2013. In September of 2015, Ring was promoted to Construction Specialist where she assisted in the management of the bank’s new and existing construction loans.
Ring has ten years of total banking experience. She has completed multiple training modules through the Tennessee Bankers Association in the areas of cash flow, credit analysis and credit documentation. Ring is a Wilson County native and a graduate of Wilson Central High School. She currently resides in Bethpage with her husband, Michael, and their son Aiden.
Sarah Poss, Personal Banker and Marketing Specialist, has been promoted to Bank Officer and will function as the bank’s Marketing Officer. She will also continue to serve as a Personal Banker in the Providence Office.
Poss started with First Freedom in January of 2015 as a Financial Services Representative. By the end of the year, her performance warranted a promotion to FSR Manager for the Lebanon Office and Training Coordinator for the entire company. In May of 2016, Poss was instrumental in establishing and eventually managing the bank’s uniform operational audit process throughout the company’s footprint. In June of 2017, Poss was promoted to Personal Banker and Marketing Specialist in the company’s Providence Office.
A native of Detroit, Michigan, Poss is a graduate of Watertown High School and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Anthropology from Middle Tennessee State University. She has taken additional classes in the areas of training and communication through the Tennessee Bankers Association. She resides in Watertown with her husband Justin.
First Freedom Bank is proud to sponsor Gainesboro’s local Junior Pro Basketball team for their 2018 season. Team members are all Jackson County residents and the games are held every Saturday at Gainesboro Elementary School.
Pictured is John Roland, team coach, accepting the sponsorship check from Greg Scott, Gainesboro FSR Manager.
J.B. Owens, Director of Commercial Banking at First Freedom Bank, has been promoted to Executive Vice President, announced John Lancaster, Chairman and CEO. Owens will continue to serve as the Director of Commercial Banking, with additional responsibilities for the company’s secondary mortgage operations.
“Along with our president, John Bradshaw, and our Board of Directors, I am very pleased to announce JB’s promotion to Executive Vice President,” stated Lancaster, “He has been a great leader in our company and has contributed significantly to our success over the last 11 years. JB possesses a great work ethic, is highly intelligent and embraces opportunities to serve our communities. I am excited for him and his future as we continue to build First Freedom Bank.”
Owens started with First Freedom in 2006 as a Credit Analyst after a two-year stint with KraftCPAs where he focused on bank auditing. Owens quickly proved to be an asset to the bank and in 2007 was promoted to Assistant Vice President in the commercial lending division. In 2008, he was named Vice President and Relationship Manager. In 2010, he was promoted to First Vice President and Senior Lending Officer and assigned full management of the lending and mortgage divisions at First Freedom. With his success, Owens was promoted to Senior Vice President in 2013.
Owens stated, “In 2006, I changed career paths by leaving public accounting for an opportunity to become a community banker. I was excited about what First Freedom might become and hoped that I could grow with the bank. I am so thankful that John Lancaster, John Bradshaw, and Ken Howell took a chance on me by giving me an opportunity to join their team. It has been an absolute pleasure to be a part of the First Freedom story. Together, our employees have had a positive impact on the communities we serve while also providing a strong return to our shareholders. I am proud to have been a part of First Freedom’s history and look forward to being a part of its future.”
Owens earned both his Bachelor of Science in Accounting and his Master of Business Administration degrees from Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville. He maintains an active CPA license and is a member of the Tennessee Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He is a graduate of the prestigious Stonier Graduate School of Banking at the University of Pennsylvania, the Southeastern School of Consumer Credit at Vanderbilt University, and the Southeastern School of Commercial Lending at Vanderbilt University.
An active member of his community, Owens has a long history of community service. He is currently the Chairman of the Board of the Lebanon/Wilson County Chamber of Commerce. He is past Chairman of United Way of Wilson County and past president of the Lebanon Kiwanis Club where he also served as a Little League commissioner for several years. In addition to his current Chairmanship of the Chamber, Owens serves on the board of the Southeastern School of Advanced Commercial Lending and the Accounting Advisory Board for Tennessee Tech University’s College of Business.
A native of Smith County, Owens resides in Lebanon with his wife, Bethany, and his daughter, Camille. They are members of Mt. Juliet Church of Christ.
FFB recognized seven employees this past quarter for exceptional job performance and exceeding their individual goals for enhancing and broadening customer relationships. Their outstanding performance earned them the prestigious honor of Chairman’s Cup Member for the quarter. Pictured above is John Lancaster, Chairman and CEO, with the Chairman Cup Team Members Kacey Nieves, Lebanon FSR, Karen Elmore, Lebanon FSR Manager, Bryan Sweet, Cookeville FSR Manager, Susan Nichols, Algood FSR Manager, Dawn Kidwell, Mt. Juliet FSR Manager, Tori Flatt, Lebanon FSR, and Katie Shaffer, Lebanon FSR.
Tori Flatt also received the MVP Award for Achieving the highest overall performance score among all FSR.
On Tuesday, November 14th, Ladell Medley, Vice President and Cookeville and Algood Office Manager, spoke at Sycamore Elementary School’s Vocational Day. Guests spoke to six classes about different careers and the importance of making good choices.
Medley’s theme was “Never Quit (School) – Sometimes you get set back but keep going forward!”