Throughout high school, Taylor had “no clue” what she wanted to do for a career. While attending Mt. Vernon High School, she knew she was “pretty good at Spanish.’’ As it turns out, she was pretty good at art as well and landed a scholarship for Fine Arts at the University of Southern Indiana (USI). Knowing what to do for a future career, remained a cold case for Taylor, “As an 18 to 19-year-old, everyone is pounding it in your head that you’ll never make any money as an artist.” Ironically, to save money, she kept her scholarship and graduated with the alleged non money-making degree of art, as well as, married her college sweetheart, Joe.
After graduation, she was forced to kiss her art goodbye for a couple years, “And I put it in a box and thought to myself I will come back to you once I’ve done something I can actually make a career with, as this [a career] is something I need to focus on right now.”
During a graduation party, an acquaintance familiar with her struggle asked if she had ever thought of being a banker. This suggestion turned into the beginning of a new career. Starting as a part-time teller, she worked her way up to be a local Mortgage Officer at Fifth Third Bank and remained in finance when changed employers.
While considering a move to Colorado, she received a job offer with LeaderOne Financial. However, she decided to stay in Evansville for the time being and declined the offer—but kept in touch with her connection. “Long story short” she says, the same personal connection from LeaderOne recommended that she attend an event in the area hosted by Woodchuck; a company specializing in perfect custom gifts for company employees. The kicker though, was the link between the corporation’s endeavors and Taylor’s passion for the environment. For every item Woodchuck sells, they donate and plant a tree. Taylor took the initiative to check it out, with the intent to see if she could get her current employer in Evansville to start using this company as well for employee gifts. With a company size of 20,000 employees, that means 20,000 trees! Although she didn’t intend to go up there to impress the head boss of LeaderOne Financial, her enthusiasm for what they were doing landed her a job offer with them once again. This time though, the offer was to start a branch in Evansville and work remotely. Currently, Taylor is the primary Mortgage Originator for LeaderOne, Evansville.
Taylors achievements don’t stop at her career. She’s been involved with a list of nonprofits and activities in the Evansville area including: HOLA of Evansville, women's self-defense training classes, a financial literacy program, and the Lorax Project.
For HOLA, she was recently nominated Vice President, where their mission is to enhance cultural diversity and ensure the success of Latinos in the areas of education, health, safety, workforce, economic strength and leadership. A few ways they do this, is by raising money by hosting events, partnering with companies like Toyota to offer English classes and a host of other activities! Additionally, she is currently using her mortgage skills to create a housing program for HOLA.
The financial literacy program is a class people can attend that is completely free. In Taylor’s words, “it takes someone from being unbankable to having the knowledge of how to be a homeowner.” Taylor collaborates with Ben Jergins (Old National Bank) on the curriculum and hopes to see the program grow.
For the woman’s self-defense class, hosted at Grace Point Church, she made the class cheaper than the average going rate for self-defense classes. The classes are taught by officer Daniel Betz, and officer Sam Smith who she has known through the years as a banking customer, “Think about fighting a big guy like Sam Smith, who does Guns and Hoses every year… six foot something guy… Oh my, no pressure." She said laughing. She likes being silly and posts her fights on social media so people can see them, as she says “look, you’re going to feel dumb but it’s all in fun and look at what can come out of it… like, look at what kind of a badass you can feel like taking on this massive guy. “Then spoken in a more serious tone, “all the women in the class that participated had such an amazing time. I had one woman afterward that was sobbing crying. They felt like they got piece of their life back. Such a good feeling; such a good program that is definitely needed.”
The Lorax Project is an organization that raises awareness for environmental issues and helps people plant trees. The name Lorax is based off the 1971 Dr. Seuss book around a character who champions for the environment and “speaks for the trees.’’ Taylor just recently brought this idea to Evansville and had a meeting with Vanderburgh County Commissioner, Mesker Park Zoo, and other Evansville community leaders.
When asked about Evansville, Taylor said, “I truly and wholeheartedly believe in this city. There is so much that is happening and popping and that is going to be happening over the next five years or so. I don’t know if you have heard, but the Mayor is working on his canopy project, which kind of coincides with what I’m working on with the Lorax project. Did you know Evansville was nominated as a Tree City U.S.A back in 2000? However, we are now using a smaller percentage of our total tree canopy than before. It has the capacity, so we are trying to get back to being a Tree City U.S.A.” Not only is she passionate about helping her community, but of course is fond of helping her family, and has a three-year-old daughter. “Right now, mom is everything and the coolest, and whenever she is tired or sick, she wants mom, but Dad is a close second.” Even with her dedication to the clients and community she serves through her work and nonprofits, she makes time to “milk these years” while she can as she knows once her daughter reaches a certain age, mom won’t be the coolest anymore.
Taylor has a big heart, and values family above all else. “I LOVE being able to help families like mine achieve the dream of home ownership!” Taylor reminds us that a career doesn’t always come from a degree…it comes from passion.
From the author,
If Marvel can have an end credit scene, why can’t bloggers?
Perhaps as relevant to coworking as the shawarma scene in Avengers, I’d nonetheless like to highlight fun details about this Cowork spotlight session:
- Taylor’s Favorite candy bar is Mounds dark chocolate coconut.
- When asked if she could bring any fictional character into real life, she would bring in Captain Marvel. She loved that it was one of the first Marvel movies she’s seen that they don’t try to over sexualize a female superhero. She also noted she rocks the short hair at the end of it, and us woman with short hair have to power together”
- Tea is Tea-riffic for her.
- CrossFit is the perfect “fit” for her as a workout program.
- If being fluent in one language wasn’t enough, she is also now learning Arabic and sign language. Perhaps, though I forgot to ask yet again, she will learn Elvish which would be slightly not practical yet of epic proportions all the same.
- After focusing and succeeding in establishing herself as a professional in her industry, she’s now been able to start doing artwork again!
- In a sense, she still made a career as an artist. Her life is a work of art, crafting a career that fits her unique skill sets and passions, that captures the hearts of those around her.