Job title: Chief financial officer with the Bowling Green Independent School District.

Hometown: I was born and raised in Simpson County. I am completely blessed in that both my entire family and my husband’s entire family all live in Franklin. The older I get the more I come to appreciate the gift of family and what those relationships mean to who I am and who I am continually becoming.

Family: My husband, Michael Cornwell, and I have been married for 20 years. Michael has been with the Bowling Green Fire Department for 10 years and currently serves as a senior fire investigator. His partner, Millie, is Bowling Green’s accelerant detection canine, a beautiful, hardworking black lab and my biggest pal! We have two wonderful children. My son, Dylan, is 10 and my daughter, Harper, is 8. Dylan represents all things boy and loves life with an innocence that I envy while my daughter represents all things girl and dances, flips and tumbles her way through each blessed day.

The one thing no one knows about me is: It’s really no secret that I LOVE to travel. Not really to exotic places – I just love taking off on mini adventures at any given opportunity. I love to fill up memory buckets – that’s what I cherish the most. My favorite thing to do on these mini adventures is to find the teeniest little memento to represent the memories we made. So if someone walks into my office – they’ll see an odd collection of teeny, tiny things. What they don’t know is that each tiny trinket represents a bucket of memories that I hope to cherish for years upon years.

My first job was: The first job I ever had was when I was 15. I was a pharmacy technician for a local pharmacy in Franklin. It was a wonderful experience and a great environment to begin learning what work ethic is all about. I found that work ethic was very important each day as I meticulously counted hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of tablets.

My dream job is: I suppose I could say that I’m pretty lucky from the perspective that I’ve always really known what I wanted to do. I was the teenager who sat at home working made up algebraic equations rather than running around doing normal teenage things. And, yes, I do realize that makes me a bit of a nerd! I knew early on in my career that I wanted to run a small finance department in an environment that supports the work/life balance that I value. So – I’d say I’ve been gifted that dream.

The best advice I ever got was: In Matthew chapter 22 the disciples asked Jesus what is the greatest commandment. Jesus replied, in verses 37-39, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ This is a scripture that I try to use as a fundamental guidepost to my daily living. Love God first, love my neighbor second. Jesus is pretty good at the advice giving business. So I try to apply whatever He teaches.

My hero and why is: You know – I’ve never really given much thought to heroes/mentors. I’ve always just tried to focus on traveling through life, one step at a time. If I think about it, however, I’ll have to say that my greatest mentor is very original, yet very fundamental. My mother has been a pillar of strength for me and she’s always been someone I’ve been proud to take after. I often say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree when it comes to my mother. And I couldn’t be more proud than to have learned life from this woman. She protected me when I needed protecting, pushed me when I needed to be pushed, allowed me to fly when I needed to fly, and stood resilient in her most difficult of days. She just quietly knew how to be a mother first, friend second. My mother has been a woman of quiet strength, virtue and integrity all the days of my life. I’m blessed to have her as my first-ever mentor – and to continue to be able to learn from her to this day.

If I could do it over again: I think I’d live the same life I’m living. But with more wisdom. I always say that hindsight isn’t fair because you are looking through a new lens. But it would be nice to be able to take the hard lessons learned and apply them the first time.

The part of my job I could do without is: I get terribly nervous when I have to give a presentation in front of people. The anxiety is awful, I get tongue tied, and I feel like I ramble … which starts the anxious cycle all over again! Sharing financial information in a clear and relatable way is very important – so this is a vital part of my job and I don’t try to shy away from it. But I sure could live without ever speaking in front of a crowd ever again!

The one thing I always carry with me is: I can give no honest answer here. My mother always told me that I’d lose my head if it wasn’t attached. And, of course, she’s right. So I never have it together enough to always carry something with me! I suppose I could claim my phone – I seem to always make it home with that. At work – it’s my lifeline. At my previous job my friends and colleagues always made a joke of HOW MANY TIMES they had to deliver my phone to me when it was found ringing … in the refrigerator! I’m exaggerating… but only a little bit!

The best meal I’ve heard had was: Our family recently lost my stepfather. It’s so hard to say goodbye to our loved ones, but their memories always bring much joy, so this is a fun memory. When he first got sick he and I had a conversation about how we were going to go out for a family dinner of crab legs (our favorite!) once he got out of the hospital. Three weeks later, we made it to that dinner. And our entire family was there. We lost him five weeks later, but I will forever be grateful for that meal.

At the top of my bucket list is: This one is easy!! I have only one item on my bucket list, and have had for several years now. And that is to hold each of my grandchildren in my arms, with my husband by my side, oohing and awwing right along with me. Can you imagine the journey we will have traveled to get that bucket list item checked off?

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