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Iesha Vaughn

Iesha Vaughn - Banking Center Manager, Avondale Meadows



For Iesha Vaughn, serving her community comes naturally.

“I feel like it’s something in me,” she explained. “I feel like God gave me a gift of service, and that’s what I do – I don’t second guess it or question it, I just do it.”

It’s a gift she’s brought to bear numerous times in her role as Banking Center Manager over the banking center in Avondale Meadows, Ind.

Avondale Meadows is one of two First Merchants banking centers that opened in low- and middle-income neighborhoods in recent years – the other being in the Northland neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio. These areas have been traditionally underserved by financial institutions, and for decades have lacked access to vital financial services and education.

Iesha took the helm in Avondale Meadows in April 2022, and was tasked with more than just providing banking center services to the area – her job is to help the community grow and prosper, in any way she can.

“I don’t live in Avondale Meadows, so I try to make sure I spend a lot of time there and that, when I am there, I am really visible,” Iesha shared. “I do my grocery shopping in the community, I go to the dollar store there, I buy lunch there.”

And everywhere she goes, Iesha makes connections.

“I’m constantly talking to people – and I’m in their business the whole time,” she joked. “I introduce myself, ask where they bank, ask if they need help getting a mortgage or you know, anything that might help them meet their goals and dreams.”

“There’s a fast-food restaurant across the street from us, and I think three or four of the employees there now bank with us, just because I’m constantly in the drive-thru talking,” she added with a laugh.

But Iesha thinks she’s had success because she approaches every conversation with genuine interest – genuine care.

“I want to know how we can help – whether it’s a customer, a community member, or a neighborhood nonprofit,” she said. “I want to plant that seed – that if they ever need anything they can reach out. And if we ever want to partner or volunteer or anything of that nature, we know who to contact, as well.”

Iesha also spends her time at monthly meetings between community leaders and area non-profits, further strengthening those relationships and letting local groups know about services like financial education that they can share with their own patrons.

“I want them to know that we’re happy to help,” she said.

But Iesha isn’t just involved in the Avondale Meadows community – she’s also heavily involved in First Merchants’ own Employee Resource Groups (ERGs).

“I used to head ERGs at a previous job, so when I got here and saw First Merchants had them, I knew I was going to jump in feet first,” she said.

Iesha has taken on leadership roles, helped source speakers, and provided general support for First Merchants’ ERGs, and says she sees them as an opportunity.

“I think we should be a part of anything we can be a part of to bring each other together to bring each other closer,” she explained. “We all have something in common in the core of our everyday lives – we all work for First Merchants – so why not come together and share our likenesses and our differences?”

In her free time, Iesha volunteers for events supporting those living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), including Indianapolis’s annual MS Walk, and volunteers at her local Special Olympics. She also serves on the Avondale Meadows Board and is the Parent Engagement Director for EVOLVE. Iesha is inspired every day by her two children Arie and Trey.


First Merchants Bank’s commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility compels us to invest in our communities by finding ways to reduce inequalities, improve the quality of our neighborhoods, and promote positive economic mobility though our five community pillars: Employee Empowerment; Community Investments and Charitable Giving; Financial Wellness; Community Home Lending; and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. This series features First Merchants teammates who embody the spirit and impact of the company’s Vision: “to enhance the financial wellness of the diverse communities we serve.”