Professional headshot of Tatum Ortlepp in black blouse and tan blazer

First Freedom Promotes Ortlepp

Tatum Ortlepp has been promoted to Bank Officer and Assistant Office Manager at the Lebanon Office, announced John Lancaster, Chairman and CEO.  In her new role, Ortlepp will have oversight for the training and development of employees and the overall service level of the bank’s largest and most active office.  She will continue her responsibilities as Shareholder Services Representative. 

“Tatum is very deserving of this promotion,” stated Lancaster.  “Her knowledge and service level exemplifies the First Freedom culture and her passion for customer success is unsurpassed.”

Ortlepp joined First Freedom in July of 2018 as a Financial Services Representative. She was later promoted to Personal Banker in 2019 and assumed additional responsibilities as Shareholder Services Representative in 2020. A conscientious and dependable banker, Tatum proved herself to be a crucial piece to the office’s success. As such, she was again promoted in 2022 to Senior Personal Banker. In addition to her expanding roles and duties, Ortlepp has also been recognized by her peers with the bank’s Red Carpet Service award in 2021.

A graduate of Wilson Central High School, Ortlepp now resides in the Tuckers Crossroads community of Wilson County with her husband, Garret, and their two children.

Professional headshot of Shelia Ferrell

First Freedom Promotes Ferrell

Shelia Ferrell has been promoted to Senior Vice President announced John Lancaster, Chairman and CEO.  She will continue to serve as the Managerial Lender at the Lebanon Office.

Shelia is a career community banker.  Throughout her career, she has worked in virtually all areas of the bank including compliance, technology, internal audit, operations, lending, and management.  In 2012, Shelia joined First Freedom as a Vice President in commercial lending.  In 2017, she was promoted to First Vice President / Managerial Lender, which gave her elevated responsibilities in the department.

“We are pleased to recognize Shelia with this significant promotion,” said Lancaster.  “She is a natural leader within our company and is a recognized and respected member of our management team.” 

Ferrell has been recognized by senior management with the Community Champion Award and by her co-workers with the Red-Carpet Service Award.  She has been involved in many community leadership roles and currently serves on the board of Wilson County CASA and the Smith County Living Committee. She is a former President of the Smith County Chamber of Commerce.

Ferrell is an honor graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration.  She also holds certificates of graduation from the Southeastern School of Sales Leadership, the Southeastern School of Banking, the Southeastern School of Commercial Lending and the Georgia Bankers Association Bank Audit and Operations School. Originally from Defeated, Ferrell now resides in the New Middleton community of Smith County with her husband, Chris.  They are members of Cornwell’s Chapel Missionary Baptist Church.  They are big UT fans and enjoy hiking and traveling.

Headshot of Rebecca Jennings

First Freedom’s Jennings Recognized as CPA

First Freedom Bank’s Rebecca Jennings, Vice President and Controller, has been recognized as a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) by the Tennessee State Board of Accountancy.  In order to become a CPA in the state of Tennessee, an applicant must have completed a Baccalaureate or higher degree with at least 150 semester hours from a regionally accredited college or university. Candidates must also pass all four sections of the extensive Uniform CPA Examination within 18 months, pass a separate ethics examination given by the AICPA, and complete at least one year of relevant work experience.

“Rebecca Jennings is one of the brightest individuals I’ve ever worked with,” stated John Lancaster, CEO of First Freedom. “She is a key member of our Finance team and is a significant contributor to the success of our company.  We celebrate this notable accomplishment with her.”

Jennings has spent a significant amount of time in the finance, retail, and commercial divisions of the bank. She began her career with First Freedom in 2017 as a part-time FSR while still in college. She moved to full-time status in 2018 upon her graduation. In 2021, she was promoted to Assistant Vice President in the Accounting division. Jennings excelled in her role and was again promoted in 2022 to Vice President and Controller.

A graduate of Wilson Central High School, Jennings earned Summa Cum Laude honors with her B.B.A in Accounting from Cumberland University with a perfect 4.0 GPA. While at Cumberland, she received the Most Outstanding Performance Award in Accounting and was a member of several prestigious academic honor societies such as Alpha Lambda Delta, Delta Mu Delta, and Alpha Chi. She and her husband Christian live in Lebanon.

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