2021 NEA Women in Business: Theresa Nedelman

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Theresa Nedelman
Vice-President of Loan Administration
First National Bank
Residence: Paragould
Education: Bachelor of science in marketing (1991), Arkansas State University

What has been the most fulfilling moment of your career so far? The most fulfilling part of my job is helping others. In loan administration, I get to do that daily by serving our entire lending staff, but I would have to say one of the things I’ve enjoyed the most in my career was when I closed mortgage loans. It was fulfilling to help families buy their first homes. The smile it brought to their face and the pride that radiated from them made me proud to be a part of that milestone.

What advice would you give young women who are at the beginning of their careers? I would advise young women to be determined and never shy away from a challenge. You should be open to learning new tasks and always be willing to lend a hand. Teamwork is what creates success. Moments when you are pushed to your limits, are times you gain the most knowledge. I assure you hard work will not go unnoticed.

What was your dream job as a kid and why? As a child, I remember thinking I wanted to be a model when I grew up. I really don’t know why but it seemed glamorous!

What character traits do you feel have benefited you in your success? Friendly, outgoing, hard working and dedicated. These are all traits that I feel have benefited me in my career. I began with First National Bank almost 30 years ago knowing little about the banking world. Slowly, I began to absorb knowledge, building on it day to day. Being kind and friendly towards customers and co-workers gains their trust and acceptance. Combine that with hard work and dedication and this will give you the foundation to a framework for success.

How do you spend your time away from work? What are your hobbies? When not at work, my No. 1 thing to do is spend time with my family. Nothing makes me happier than having all my children and grandchildren together for an afternoon of swimming, laughter and family meals.

Of all the mentors in your professional career, who has been the most influential and why? There have been many influential people in my life including family, high school teachers, and co-workers. I would have to say my mentor was my high school business teacher Mrs. Carol. She is the one who encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and run for FBLA [Future Business Leaders of America] treasurer. She was a true leader who pushed me and made me believe I could accomplish anything I set my mind to.

What’s your biggest passion and why? My parents were both from large families and I grew up with a huge emphasis on family and strong family roots. That has carried over into my adult life. My passion is my family. My husband and I loved watching our children grow up, accomplishing their goals and having children of their own. I cherish my daughter-in-law and my two son-in-laws just like they are my own. There is no way to describe the love you have for a grandchild. My family is what completes my life.

If you have a bucket list, what are the top things on it? I hope to retire while I still feel like traveling. Secondly, I would love to own a beach home. I tell everybody the beach is my happy place. It’s a place to clear my mind and relax.

What is something distinctive people would be surprised to know about you? I was the Future Business Leaders of America district treasurer my senior year of high school.

What’s your favorite app at the moment? I actually have several word game apps. They help me unwind each day.

What’s the next big personal or career challenge you plan to take on? First National Bank is currently involved in expanding our organization for the first time out of state. As with any acquisition, this will require a mix of knowledge, technology and personalities. I strive to not only make the banking process flow smoothly, but I want to welcome our new colleagues in such a way they feel they have always been a part of our banking family.

What’s the last good book you read? “Live in Love: Growing Together Through Life’s Changes” by Lauren Akins. She shared personal details of their lives from a young age until current. I loved how she told of their strong faith in God and how she values family over fame. It’s a true love story that was years in the making.

Editor’s note: Profiles for this year’s NEA Women in Business class were compiled and written by George Jared and Paul Holmes.