“The servant-leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead.”
Robert K. Greenleaf
Servant-leaders are true community treasures. Every day, these individuals place the needs of others ahead of their own in order to bolster the common good. Regardless of their positions, servant-leaders inspire those around them to seek and achieve higher goals through their personal examples of hard work and self-sacrifice. In essence, they personify leadership by example.
The Hendersonville area is blessed to have a number of dedicated servant-leaders who fill a variety of leadership roles in business, nonprofit and government entities. They tirelessly give of their time and talent to help our city grow and prosper, while simultaneously balancing work, home and civic responsibilities.
One such individual is Kelley Crecelius.
Most community leaders wear many hats, and Kelley is no exception. Most days, you will find her hard at work as a relationship manager at First Horizon Bank, handling the financial needs of her banking clients.
“I had the opportunity to join First Horizon Bank in 2016, and I knew right away that it was the right move for me,” says Kelley. “God opened the door for me at the Hendersonville Main branch, and it has been a wonderful fit.”
Since the advent of Covid-19, Kelley’s daily work schedule has been busier than ever.
“I am part of a team that processes Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for the bank, and our workload has increased dramatically since the start of the pandemic,” says Kelley. “However, it has been a blessing to be able to help small businesses obtain the funding they so desperately need to keep their doors open.”
For most people, holding down a full-time professional position would provide enough challenges. However, not for Kelley.
Along with her banking responsibilities, Kelley also serves part-time as a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Coast Guard. Since 1997, she has performed in a variety of military roles, including search and rescue, law enforcement, procurement, public affairs, aviation and training.
“Since I was about five years old, I knew I wanted to be in the military,” says Kelley. “I researched all five branches of the armed services before deciding to join the Coast Guard. At the time, it was prior to 9/11, and the Coast Guard was the branch that was the busiest and that had a defined, daily mission.”
Banker, military officer – most people would think that these two roles would be enough for any individual. Once again, however, not for Kelley.
Along with her banking and military responsibilities, Kelley is also very active in a variety of professional and community associations. She currently serves as the chair for the Bankers en Motion Resource Group of First Horizon Bank, the committee co-chair for the Sumner County United Way, a director for the Hendersonville Area Chamber of Commerce, a Sea Scout charter captain and a volunteer with the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary.
In her rare moments of free time, Kelley enjoys working on her farm with her husband and her children. She also finds time to read books on military history, usually while relaxing to tunes from her favorite musical artist, the late Country Music Hall of Famer Don Williams.
Kelley also enjoys another leisure activity that is becoming increasingly popular around the country.
“I love judging barbeque competitions,” says Kelley. “I have been a Kansas City Barbeque Society certified judge for several years, and I love sampling and rating meats prepared by world-class grill masters.”
Given all of Kelley’s professional, civic and family obligations, most people would marvel at her ability to strike a healthy work-life balance.
However, like most servant-leaders, Kelley is quick to give the credit to others.
“I am blessed to have an amazing support system,” says Kelley. “My husband, my parents and my mother-in-law all help keep things going at home when I am gone with the Coast Guard. I also work for a great company who encourages and supports my community activities.”
There is no doubt about it – Kelley Crecelius is an inspiration for all, and she is a credit to her family, her community and her country.
If you happen to run into Kelley around town, be sure to thank her for her service. That is, if you can catch her before she moves on to her next challenge.