A Franklin newcomer, Tina Lilly decided she had to “sink or swim” in her new community, and there’s no doubt she is definitely swimming. Not only is she the financial center manager of First Tennessee Bank on Downtown Franklin’s Public Square, she is president of the Williamson County Cultural Arts Commission, a volunteer at various local high schools, a member of several professional clubs, and an avid painter and singer.
Originally from Memphis, Tenn., Tina relocated to Middle Tennessee in the early 1990s, when she worked for First Tennessee Bank in Lewisburg. She went on to work in real estate and even served as County Commissioner in Marshall County. During that time, she learned valuable networking and public relations skills. Tina returned to banking in 2015. This year, she was asked to come aboard as Financial Center Manager for First Tennessee, resulting in her move to Franklin this past June.
“I really love the whole community,” said Tina about her new home. “It’s a big town with a small town feel.”
In her role at First Tennessee, Tina is a problem solver. In addition to managing staff, overseeing public relations and increasing revenue, she finds solutions for people’s financial needs.
“I like to help give people financial peace. In my mind, that’s an important thing to have,” she said. “It’s all about building relationships and helping people succeed.”
Currently, Tina’s office is in a trailer off of Franklin’s Public Square, as the First Tennessee Bank’s building is undergoing reconstruction. Tina is excited about moving into the bank’s new location some time in 2017.
“Our clients say they like the coziness of the trailer though.”
First Tennessee’s clients range anywhere from age 18 to 97 and consist of both small businesses and large corporations. First Tennessee @ Work is the bank’s newest program, which targets businesses to create free customizable financial wellness programs.
“The biggest stressor on people is their finances,” Tina said. “When people are stressed about money, it translates into their work. Employee attrition rates increase and frequently there is a lack of focus causing errors and workplace accidents.”
Through the program, financial advisors work with HR directors to coordinate financial seminars for employees and budget workshops. As a result of the program, employees are able to take control of their finances and are happier overall, according to Tina.
In addition to businesses, Tina also works with young people. She often teaches financial classes in high schools. During these classes, Tina discusses how to plan for college, including different student loans available through federal programing.
Tina stresses to her clients– young people especially–to start financial planning early.
“Use the tools available to you through the bank, such as mobile banking. Have your account work for you. It’s actually better to set up multiple accounts for different things, like household expenses or savings for a vacation,” she said. “Lastly, start planning for retirement early on. Lot’s of people wait too long, but it’s best to start immediately– during your first job.”
Outside of the office, Tina is involved with Kiwanis of Franklin, the Heritage Foundation, the Downtown Franklin Association and the Williamson County Chamber. As president of the Williamson County Cultural Art Commission, Tina is in charge of setting up programing for the arts, which she is extremely passionate about. She is the CEO of an art gallery in Lewisburg, Tenn. and is an artist herself, specializing in impressionistic and abstract painting.
“I’ve always been an artist,” she said. “I also love to sing. I actually won a national anthem contest in 2009 and got to open for Barbara Walters at the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Orlando.”
In Tina’s opinion, Franklin is the perfect home for an art lover. In addition to the galleries and the Franklin Art Scene, she enjoys the food and shopping along Main Street.
“I love Cork & Cow, Red Pony, 55 South and Gray’s,” she said. “I also love Meridee’s, and I enjoy eating at Puckett’s every Monday with Kiwanis.”
Tina–who majored in interior design in college–loves to shop at the Iron Gate, where she appreciates the eclectic European flair. The food and shopping scene is just one of the many things that make Downtown Franklin a special place for her.
“It’s all the festivals and extra events that go on here. Mostly, It’s also the small town feel and the people. I haven’t met one unfriendly person since I have been here.”