Regina Wood, AFC® is Vice President of BancorpSouth Bank in Mississippi. She is a military spouse and was part of the FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship class of 2018.

As an AFC®, Regina makes this commitment to her clients – “that during the counseling process, we will be present and purposeful in all that we do. We will uncover your dreams and priorities, and you will identify goals to achieve all of the above. By advocating for your goals, our relationship of support and trust will foster financially fit families and communities.”

AFCPE: How did you first learn about the AFC® and the Fellowship Program? What inspired you to apply?

Regina: In early 2018, I found myself in a position that I felt was crippling in my career. As I started exploring furthering my education, obtaining a Master’s degree wasn’t near the top of my list; however, I was reminded of a conversation that took place in 2016.  A mentor commented about how passionate I was when I talked about helping people and financial stability.  My google search then led me to AFCPE®, where I discovered that they were just a week or two away from launching the application for the FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship.  Instantly, I committed to applying and contacted my mentor about a reference letter.  I never thought I had a chance at being chosen…boy, was I wrong!!

AFCPE: Did you work in the personal finance space previously?  Tell us a little about your professional journey.

Regina: My short answer is yes!  I was practically raised in personal finance since I started as a bank teller in 2001.  In 2008, I became a Branch Manager of a small, regional bank.  Although my husband is active duty military, we haven’t experienced the constant moves.  In 2011, we moved for the first time in 11 years.  I took a break from work and returned as a Branch Manager & Lender in 2014 when we returned to our “home area”.  Shortly thereafter in 2015, we moved again and I was able to transfer within my regional bank who now wasn’t as small.  I continued to carry the Branch Manager & Lender title until 2018 when I was promoted to Assistant Vice President after yet another move. This past year, I was promoted to Vice President.

AFCPE: Wow, that’s quite the journey!

Regina: As a professional military spouse, I have grown to understand the meaning of networking. Without the ability to network, military families could never support the mission.  Part of my daily journey is to leave the day better than the day before, to spend time listening, and to help others see good in situations.  My desire is to help people. To help others realize they don’t have to be scared of finances. To help families avoid financial trauma and make informed decisions. To help communities grow and thrive.  I am thankful that my employer and supervisors continue to support my journey as an AFC®.

As a scholarship recipient this past year, I was also able to attend the AFCPE Symposium in Portland, OR with great support from my employer. I truly believe that when we do genuinely educate, we build trust and relationships.

AFCPE: What has been your favorite experience in the AFCPE community or as part of the Fellowship Program?

Regina: Becoming a Fellow was a huge milestone and scary at the same time moment! When I applied for the Symposium scholarship, I thought “there’s no way”.  Boy, I was wrong again.  My favorite moment has been meeting people from all over the nation at the Symposium.  Did I mention I love to network?  I now have friends like Julie Habermann, Jeff Dade, Famous Robyn, etc.  I also found myself in a Cooperative Extension CEU class.  Sasha Grabenstetter and a few others at the table asked if I knew what Cooperative Extension was…and I replied “somewhat, but I’m about to really find out”.  Sasha took time to email a contact in Mississippi, who I connected with, and now I have a stronger network locally!

AFCPE: Has anything surprised you about the program?

Regina: The ease of obtaining hours.  It does take dedication to complete and track, but there are so many opportunities.  It was a huge concern for me in the beginning.  I am so thankful that I pushed through and didn’t become scared of the commitment.

AFCPE: Do you have a client story that is meaningful to you or that you’d like to share?

Regina: There are so MANY!  One of my favorites is that of a current client.  I met her as a divorced, disconnected single mother back in 2007.  She had no idea how to manage finances and definitely couldn’t balance a checkbook.  She and I spent many hours together.  I knew her kids, knew her goals, and helped her open her business account shortly after she obtain her license to practice in her field.  Today we still visit.  I’ve been there to help her recover and celebrate.  Another example was a recent customer who was the victim of a scam.  Its heart wrenching to see someone so vulnerable and scared, but also so trusting and accepting of help.  By meeting people where they are, you truly get the opportunity to make a difference.

Regina Answers the Friday 5:

  • My Why: Because it’s my story.  It’s my story of dealing with hurt, bad decisions, and wasteful spending.  It’s a life that wasn’t on purpose.  As a believer in Christ, it’s my story that has been redeemed and now, I get to share with others every single day!

  • My Favorite Quote: “You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you.” – Dave Ramsey

  • My Favorite Personal Finance Resource: PowerPay & Allocated Monthly Budget Sheets

  • My Best Advice for someone starting the journey to financial well-being:  “You don’t think your way into a new kind of living.  You live your way into a new kind of thinking.” – Jo Saxton

  • My Best Advice for a new professional entering the field: “Every moment is granted for purposes we can’t see.  Every breath is issued for eternal things left undone.  We brush against people in check-out lines who will live forever in heaven or hell, and we contain God.  Try to tell me your life is insignificant.  Try to tell me that anything about this life is insignificant.”
    – Jennie Allen, Author of Restless: Because You Were Made for More

Connect with Regina on LinkedIn.

Interested in pursuing the FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship? Apply March 1 – April 17, 2020. Learn More.

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