An Interview With Ashley Hill, Nashville Market President
What’s your story? Where did you grow up and have you always lived in Tennessee?
Yes, I was born and raised right here in Nashville, although I did defect for a few years and went to Auburn to college.
How did you get into banking?
Following graduation from college, I was intrigued by the skill set and diversity of jobs within banking as well as I had a good friend’s father who was at the old Third National Bank in Nashville, and he invited me to apply to their management training program. Everything fell into place and I started with them in 1983.
How is the culture different at FirstBank compared to larger banks?
The FirstBank culture is very inclusive and multi-faceted so you are engaged with multiple areas of the Bank. That’s the thing I have enjoyed about community banking, in general, for most of my career.
What is your favorite part about your job?
I thoroughly enjoy supporting and fostering my teammates, seeing them grow in experience, expertise and professionalism. And it would be a bit cliché to say that, as a Banker, I enjoy helping clients achieve their goals and dreams. And that is certainly true, but most importantly, I value the client relationships/friendships that have grown over the years and the personal and professional enrichment garnered through those relationships.
Describe a typical day at the office.
Like most of us, you start out organizing your calendar for the day, addressing emails/texts/calls that have come in overnight, and then try to be positively proactive about planning the next few days’/weeks’ activities.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A wildlife management officer or marine biologist.
What do you like best about being a community banker?
Foremost, it is all of the rewarding teammate and client relationships. And being involved in all areas of the Bank, as opposed to being pigeon-holed in one small segment.
As a Market President, what’s your vision for FirstBank in Davidson County?
Solid, sound growth to elevate FirstBank into a dominant market position, while enriching the lives of our community, clients and teammates.
Describe your market area in three words from a banking perspective.
Diverse, opportunity, growth.
How do you think FirstBank’s local banking model gives customers more?
We look first to the client relationship in all aspects, as opposed to just being the lowest loan rate or highest deposit rate. Our community banking level of service to the client is paramount in all we do. We guide our clients’ decision making process to insure their success and best interests are well-served.
What key volunteer or charitable organizations is FirstBank involved with in your market area either as a bank or as individuals?
The Nashville Symphony, Delta Waterfowl Foundation, YMCA of Middle TN, Nashville Downtown Partnership, Junior Achievement of Middle TN, Nashville Public Library Foundation, Backfield in Motion, American Heart Association, Centerstone, Girl Scouts of Middle TN, Boulevard Bolt, Cheekwood and Men of Valor.
What is Davidson County, Tennessee known for?
Music, healthcare, higher education, parks/greenspace, Arts, hospitality, & professional sports (Titans, Predators, Nashville SC).
What key cities are in Davidson County?
Nashville, primarily. But you also have everything from Goodlettsville to Bellevue to Brentwood.
What do you like best about life there?
It is very centrally located with numerous diverse destinations within easy reach, so it is easy to be somewhere fun and adventurous within a very reasonable travel distance. The various local live music opportunities and venues are a somewhat hidden treasure that locals tend to take for granted.
If we got in your car and turned on some music, what are some songs that would be on your playlist, CD or favorite radio station?
You’d quickly discover that I like diverse genres of music:
Red Dirt Country—Turnpike Troubadors, Tyler Childers, Cody Jinks
Classic Rock/Contemporary—Stones, Beatles, Skynyrd, Van Morrison, Buffett
Alt./Contemporary—The Black Keys, Coldplay, Lumineers, Avett Bros., Norah Jones
New Wave—The Police, Bowie, Talking Heads, The Cars
If you could give your 20-year old self one piece of advice, knowing what you know now, what would it be?
There’s no substitute for hard work, listen before you speak or act, maintain an even keel, stay the course, find humor when/where you can, and show and take some initiative.
Have you ever had a mentor who made a difference in your life? How so?
I can recount several who encouraged me to step up and take the initiative to do things outside of my comfort zone. And they delegated responsibilities to me and supported and guided me through the process. And encouraged and reinforced leadership.
What is your life motto?
My family would say it is this one, because I use it frequently:
“The truth knows no courtesy!”
But I also like to borrow a couple from movies:
“Be your future.” (Caddyshack)
“Remain calm, all is well!” and “Knowledge is Good.” (Animal House)
Describe your perfect vacation.
Anywhere in the outdoors with family and good friends. Lake, beach, hiking, hunting, fishing, mountains, live music, with great sunrises/sunsets all make the list.
Do you prefer indoor or outdoor sports?
To be named as one of the 90 Best Banks To Work For in America, we work every day to ensure that associates are engaged, having fun and enjoy what they are doing. American Banker bases their rankings on extensive workplace surveys and reviews of employer benefits and policies.
For more information on American Banker, visit www.americanbanker.com.