“So I took an accounting course, and the rest is history,” she said. “This is the only professional job I’ve ever had – I started with the company when I was 19 – and I’ve never looked back.”
Eventually, Emily worked her way up to Banking Center Manager at the Lapel, Ind. Banking center, and began to dip her toes into volunteerism.
“I started volunteering at a local food pantry, just to get involved and out in the community,” she recalled. “And then our banking center began hosting breakfasts for the local Chamber of Commerce, and grew from there.”
When Emily began leading the Anderson Downtown banking center, she dug in further.
“Helping others is a huge passion of mine, and this is the county I live in – I can’t help but get involved,” she shared. “My parents instilled in me to give back to those around me and it has become a huge part of my professional identity.”
Now, she serves on the Board of Directors, Advisory Group, and Finance Committee for Guardian Advocates, Inc.; as an Ambassador for the Madison County Chamber of Commerce and on the Board of Directors, Executive Board, and Finance Committee – and as Treasurer – for Mainstage Theatre. She also volunteers for local nonprofits, including Firefly, the Anderson Housing Authority, TeenWorks of Indiana, The Crossing School of Business and Entrepreneurship, Heart of United Way of Indiana and Women United of United Way.
Her favorite way to give back, however, is teaching others the skills they need to become financially independent.
“So with TeenWorks I often give back to kids in schools by teaching them about finance and what credit is,” she shared. “I also work with a local domestic violence shelter, helping survivors gain finance skills, practicing with them for job interviews, and helping them build a resume. This kind of work is really where my passion lies.”
You can also find Emily working with local transitional housing groups and shelters.
“I get the opportunity to help people build credit and see them go from that transitional housing program to getting the keys to their own home – there’s nothing more rewarding than that,” she said.
And it’s work that often dovetails with her position at First Merchants Bank, as well.
“We had a transitional housing client that came to us as a banking customer,” Emily recalled. “He had just gotten out of prison, gotten a job, and wanted to open a checking account. We also started working with him on improving his credit. He ended up going to trade school for welding and made a connection with the instructor who agreed to sell him a truck at a really great deal. The loan was only $4,000, but we were able to facilitate that and it was an amount that had a huge impact on his life. It changed his life – and that’s why I do what I do. That’s what I love about the job.”
While a lot of her volunteerism comes from being a representative of First Merchants Bank within her community, Emily said she’s still grateful for the chance it gives her to pursue her passion of helping others.
“It’s just amazing that this is something I’m able to do,” she said. “I’m so blessed that my manager and First Merchants Bank allows, supports, and encourages me to have this impact so that I can truly help my community prosper.”
In her spare time, Emily loves reading, watching reality TV, and spending quality time with her family, including husband of 17 years, Derek Blue.