For April Wolford, Banking Center Manager at First Merchants Bank of Valparaiso, the banking business was no doubt going to be a focal part of her journey. After attending a job fair following college, Wolford ended up as a teller and soon worked her way up to obtaining a management position.
“My favorite part about my job is helping people. I’m a problem solver. People go through stressful and hard times, and my job is helping them get through these times and help them reach their financial goals whether its personal or business related. I like to look at the situation as a whole and come up with a plan that will help each client get to where they want to be in the future,” said Wolford.
Banking isn’t the only type of problem solving and future planning that she does. Wolford is extremely dedicated to her community and helps give back in any way she can. Wolford has been a part of the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce for over ten years and serves as an Ambassador. She spends most of her time at the Chamber welcoming new members and businesses to the community and mentoring businesses all throughout their first year.
“Introducing new businesses and integrating them into the community is very important. I never want anyone to feel like they’ve walked into a high school cafeteria when they walk into a Chamber networking event. I want them to see familiar and friendly faces and feel comfortable,” said Wolford
Besides her frequent involvement with the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce, Wolford finds herself volunteering any time she can. She finds great joy in donating her time while surrounded by her loved ones and co-workers during big fundraising events. Some non-profits that Wolford has donated her time to include Lakeshore PAWS, United Way, Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, Merry Meals, and Alzheimer’s Association.
“I am blessed that I have time of my own to give to these organizations. I really believe that we have to give back. These things don’t happen unless we take some time to give. I get back way more than I give,” said Wolford.
Wolford strongly believes in rallying the people around her to join her in giving back to the community, especially her co-workers at First Merchants Bank.
“Any time you can get a group together, it’s so much fun. It’s hard work but its enjoyable hard work. I think it’s very important for my team to get out in our community and help out as well. Sometimes if I get caught up at work and have to stay in office, one of my team members will go out and donate their time,” said Wolford.
Wolford struggled to pinpoint her favorite thing about her management position at First Merchants out of a very long list, but came to the conclusion that the team of employees that surround her makes her job so enjoyable.
“After 18 years of being a manager, seeing them grow and move on to bigger and better things and then even become leaders themselves is very fulfilling to me,” said Wolford.
First Merchants Bank has been gaining recognition in the past few years by being named as the second best bank in the country. They’ve moved up from fourth place since last year! Wolford believes this achievement was also made possible by a strong and dedicated team.
“Happy employees make successful employees. We love what we do and it shows. We work hard to help people and that leads to overall success for the bank,” said Wolford.
If Wolford had one wish, it would be if everyone tried their best to give back in any way they could.
“I think if everyone did just a little bit to give back to their communities and people that are in need, every little thing adds up to something big. I see people who really aren’t in the best position to give back, but they do anyway and they find a way somehow, whether it’s giving their time or donations,” Wolford said.
Looking forward to First Merchants Bank’s future, Wolford has no doubt that the company will continue to be successful and gain recognition.
“We’re continuing to grow every year and adding additional locations to the footprint. It’s great to enhance the area that we can help people in and continue to support our employees and encourage them to give back and get involved,” said Wolford.
For more information, to apply, or learn more visit First Merchant’s Bank’s website today!