Every year for the past 36 years, a group of Chattanooga management professionals have recognized a community leader as Chattanooga Regional Manager of the Year.
When the group recently visited Truist Bank Market Chairman Jim “JV” Vaughn to tell him they had won the annual honor this year, the normally talkative 67-year-old banker was temporarily speechless.
“I was stunned and grateful at the same time, but to be honest, I was shocked because I really thought this band came to me asking for money,” Vaughn recalled in an interview last week. in his 11th floor bank office.
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While leading the operations of Chattanooga’s second-largest bank, Vaughn also often became a prominent fundraiser and supporter for an array of community causes and one who was often called upon to help lead campaigns. local funding. As president of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, Vaughn helped lead the most ambitious fundraising effort for economic development – the $15 million Chattanooga Climbs campaign to support development efforts. economy of the chamber over five years. Vaughn has also helped raise over $500,000 for the Boy Scouts of America’s Cherokee Area Council and worked on record fundraising campaigns for the Chattanooga Urban League, Hunter Museum of Art, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga College. of Engineering and the United Way of Greater Chattanooga, among others.
“I’ve always enjoyed meeting people, giving back to the community, and helping other people and organizations achieve success,” Vaughn said. “I think one of the keys to that success, which I learned from hitting sales targets in the banking industry, is to make sure you recognize people and celebrate their success.”
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It will be Vaughn who will be the recipient of the accolades this year during the chamber’s annual awards program when presenting the manager of the year award.
“Each year we have many great senior executive and community leader nominations for this award, but JV really stands out as the one who has helped lead so many efforts to help improve our community both visibly and invisibly” , said Richard Johnson. , a member of the selection committee for the award, given to senior Chattanooga executives since 1986.
Job: Market President of Truist Bank
Award: Chattanooga Regional Manager of the Year
Education: Graduated from the College of Agriculture at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville with a bachelor’s and master’s degree
Career: Vaughn joined the former Commerce Union Bank in January 1978 as an agricultural lender and spent more than 30 years with that bank and its successive owners, including Sovran, C&S and Bank of America, in various roles in Middle Tennessee and Chattanooga. . In 2010, he was named senior vice president of Regions Bank in East Tennessee and later led all regions SBA lending before joining SunTrust Bank (now Truist) in 2013 and serving as president of markets. of Chattanooga and East Tennessee.
Civic roles: A past president of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, Vaughn also serves on the boards of the Hunter Museum of Art, United Way of Greater Chattanooga, University of Chattanooga School of Engineering, Volunteers in Medicine, and the Lillian L. Colby Charitable Foundation.
Staff: He and his wife, Ginger, are parents to a son, Alex, and a daughter, Mary Carlie.
Vaughn will receive the Chattanooga Area Manager of the Year award during the Chamber’s annual awards program scheduled for March 16.
Growing up on a cattle and tobacco farm in Culleoka, Tenn., about 50 miles south of Nashville, Vaughn is a lifelong Tennessean who values hard work, faith, and family. But Vaughn’s 43-year career in banking isn’t what he originally planned.
Vaughn jokingly brags that he graduated among the top 20 students in his high school class — since there were only 20 in the entire class at Culleoka’s K-12 school. As a member of the Future Farmers of America and point guard on the high school basketball team, Vaughn showed great promise, and community leaders helped support his efforts to attend the University of Tennessee. in Knoxville.
Vaughn attended the College of Agriculture with dreams of becoming a county agricultural extension worker or perhaps a teacher or 4-H leader. When the job market was not hiring at the time of his graduation, he briefly returned to the family farm until a scholarship was opened to allow the recent college graduate to return to UT for pursuing a master’s degree in statistics and computer science, also at UT’s College of Agriculture.
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Although he thought he would work in ranching, he was lured into banking in January 1978 at Commerce Union Bank when a banker with whom he worked in the 4-H business urged him to become a lender. agricultural to the bank. Vaughn quickly emerged as a problem solver known as “Mr. Fix it” at Commerce Union and went on to play various roles with Commerce Union in Springfield, Union City and Lebanon before moving to the bank’s headquarters. in Nashville. Vaughn came to Chattanooga three decades ago to help Commerce Union grow its market presence after First Tennessee outbid Commerce Union and other banks to acquire what was then Chattanooga’s largest bank, Hamilton National Bank, after the FDIC shut down Hamilton National in 1976.
Vaughn worked with Commerce Union Bank and its successive owners of Sovran, C&S and Bank of America for 31 years before his job was phased out as part of a banking realignment. After working briefly at his own consulting firm, he joined Regions Bank where he led East Tennessee operations and later was responsible for small business lending for all regions. Vaughn kept his home in Chattanooga, but worked primarily in Birmingham, Alabama. He joined SunTrust, the predecessor of Truist, in 2013, in part to spend more time in Chattanooga, and served as Market President for East Tenessee and most recently as Market President for Chattanooga.
As a manager, Vaughn said he tries not to micromanage his staff and encourages individuals to be successful in the organization’s mission.
“I like to set a vision or a goal for an individual and allow them to use their creativity to achieve their goals of success,” he said. “I also enjoy being a cheerleader to support individuals and help them work alongside them when they encounter an obstacle. I hope I can use my experience to help remove the obstacle or find a way to take on that challenge. But I think being a good manager sometimes means staying away from someone and letting them do what they do best to succeed.”
Contact Dave Flessner at [email protected] or 423-757-6340.