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Remarks for TNMBA Presidential Installation

I feel incredibly honored to have been given this opportunity to serve as the President of the Tennessee Mortgage Bankers Association along with my incredibly talented board.

Serving on the board these last several years has been such a blessing to me both personally and professionally. I have grown in so many ways and made new friends across the state that otherwise I may not have had the opportunity to meet. I have learned from some of the best leaders in our industry having been a part of this organization and look forward to continuing to serve this great state and its members.

 For the last few weeks, I have been contemplating what I would say in my installation speech. I thought I had it all planned out and then COVID-19 came and changed everything. We were all looking forward to the GRC and celebrating our monumental 60th year anniversary. It was going to be a great event and most likely the best one we have had yet.

To be completely transparent, I found myself at times questioning my new role as President. How would I accomplish everything I intended when this pandemic has changed the landscape? Can I adapt myself and change the way we’ve done things to still be effective and engaged with our members? Am I capable of taking on this tremendous challenge before me? These are just a few of the questions I have asked myself. You see, in my mind I was telling myself “I can’t” do this because it wasn’t what I had planned and then it hit me. Here I was telling myself “I can’t” do something when I dispel that word every time my kids say it. I always tell them “can’t” never has and never will because it is an excuse.

So, here I am to tell you I CAN AND AM ready to take on this huge responsibility in what will most likely be one of the most challenging years for TNMBA and our industry. I can tell you that I am extremely passionate and full of perseverance and while I know I don’t have all the answers and am not the most knowledgeable in all facets of the mortgage industry, I have a talented board working side by side with me.   Had we been at GRC, they would have been recognized so I would like to take the time to recognize each of them and their positions. 

  • Eric Fellows, President-Elect 
  • Debbie Gadberry, Vice-President
  • Todd Brown, Secretary/Treasurer
  • Jeff Tucker, Immediate Past-President
  • Nick Huber, West TN Director
  • Tiffany Searcy Wright, Middle Tennessee Director
  • Kevin Tuscan, East Tennessee Director
  • Jeff McEvoy, Affiliate Director
  • Stacy Cook, Legislative Chair. 

Thank you to each of you for your willingness to serve with me this year. I look forward to working together to achieve our goals and for what lies ahead. 

I love this industry and chose to serve in this capacity to give back to it what it has greatly given to me. I am very self-driven and hard working. I know the reason I am who I am today is because I was raised in a house that valued and promoted hard work and taught me to push myself to achieve the goal. I grew up seeing my father work exceedingly hard through the ups and downs of being a small business owner of a concrete company which now has five locations across West Tennessee. My drive for success keeps me going even when faced with challenges. I hope my kids will learn from me and see the value in working hard and knowing that you are never inadequate to fulfill your dreams.

When taking on a leadership position with TNMBA, part of the oath you take is the understanding it will take time away from your own interests, your business, and your family. I want to say thank you to my family and my Regions team for allowing me this opportunity knowing that my time will be shared. I believe that people come into your life at times for a reason and there are a few that I need to thank for helping me get to where I am today. 

Jimmy Harrison is a former manager of mine who made a lasting impression in my life. He saw my potential and was always open and honest with me and challenged me on ways to better myself. It may not have been what I wanted to hear at the time, but it was what I needed to hear. I consider him one of the greatest mentors I will probably ever have and a dear friend. 

Dean Puryear, a past TNMBA President and a former boss of mine is the reason I am involved with TNMBA. I can vividly remember our conversation when he said you either need to consider pursuing your CMB or being a Director for TNMBA. I chose the latter and here we are years later. I do intend to pursue that CMB next. 

Last but certainly not least, is my current boss at Regions Bank, Chuck Mader. Chuck is a Regional Manager for Regions and a past President of TNMBA. He also served as President of the Educational Trust Fund. I am thankful to have such a great boss and friend and greatly appreciate his strong support for me and the TNMBA. It is a special treat to have Chuck install me and our board during our video installation.

I want to commend my predecessor, Jeff Tucker, for being an incredible leader and elevating the presence of TNMBA. He and the Board of Directors have accomplished great things this year and strengthened the Association and I plan to continue towards achieving our mission and purpose. I would also like to thank all the past Presidents of TNMBA for your service and getting us to where we are today. We wouldn’t be who we are without your great leadership.

This year I would like to focus on four areas which are Legislative/AdvocacyProfessional DevelopmentNetworking/Communication, and Membership Development.

 One of the most important aspects is advocacy. TNMBA is the only mortgage trade group in the State of Tennessee that has a lobbyist to help us achieve our purpose of protecting and promoting the best interests of our members in the state legislature. Tony Thompson is our lobbyist and while things look different for us it also looks different for him. He has really helped us during this odd time and represented us to make sure that we could continue business as usual. 

Advocacy is at the very heart of our mission and I plan to continue representing our members and informing them of changes in laws and regulations affecting the mortgage industry. We had a great event at Day on the Hill this year. We had the opportunity to meet with key legislators and let them know who we are and what we do. It was the best Day on the Hill event yet and I expect next year to be even better. 

We had an incredible year increasing our PAC account and we will continue that focus this year. Thank you to all those who contributed and to the local chapters for making this a priority and realizing the importance of this mission. This being an election year brings about an even greater need to increase our members and make sure our voices are heard.

Professional Development is another pillar we are passionate about. We want to provide our members the opportunity for continued growth to help build upon their career. We will do this through education courses, seminars, and great events like the GRC. The education piece of TNMBA is what gave rise to the Future Leaders program. We plan to have another great class of Future Leaders this year and have some great sessions planned. 

This was our third year offering scholarships and I have enjoyed taking the lead on the scholarship program. I am so grateful that TNMBA can provide financial assistance to young students who have a passion for our industry. This year we added two new scholarships in addition to the existing college scholarships. One was for a high school student whose parent/guardian was a member of TNMBA. We wanted to be able to give back to our members and thought this was a great chance to do so. The other was for a TNMBA member from an underrepresented class who had a desire to pursue their CMB designation which is the highest designation in our industry. Proudly, we awarded $8000.00 in scholarships this year. Thank you also to the Educational Trust Fund committee who is always instrumental in providing growth opportunities to the members. Tiffany Searcy Wright did a fantastic job this year raising our awareness for Diversity and Inclusion and finding ways for TNMBA to partner with other diverse groups. We have great plans to continue that mission and bring about more partnership and education. 

TNMBA also gives the opportunity to network and connect. Unfortunately, with the cancellation of GRC this year and the challenges associated with COVID-19 things may look different. However, I promise we will be innovative like we have never been before and find ways for you to feel connected. I do look forward to the time when I can travel the state and meet many of our members.

Membership Development will be a key component of our success this year. As our industry continues to face hurdles we need to stand together as one voice. We are stronger in number and need everyone to join and help us elevate our purpose to our legislators. Thank you to those who are presently members of TNMBA. I will ask for your help this year in engaging other colleagues in our industry to join our efforts and help give strength to our purpose. While there are many obstacles and distractions around us, I can assure you we are focused on making this a great year. I feel confident we can overcome the challenges before us and make a positive difference in the professional experience of our members. 

I conclude with my promise to dedicate my time, energy, and attention to making TNMBA the best it can be and provide for its members in the best way possible. I will promote TNMBA and continue to raise our appearance across the state and at the National level. I am very excited to get to visit and work with the local chapter Presidents and their members. I would like to recognize: 

  • Jeremy Less, Memphis MBA President
  • David Menke, Nashville MBA President
  • Sheena Corbett, Chattanooga MBA President
  • JR Huber, Knoxville MBA President
  • David Hamilton, Tri-Cities MBA President. 

I feel confident in my ability to lead this organization because of the talented and committed board I have working alongside me. Together, we will use these obstacles as an opportunity to innovate, grow stronger, and be better than when we started. Let’s make this a great year! 

Karley Bond
President
Tennessee Mortgage Bankers Association

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