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McElwee Jumps Into Memphis Community

The following is a feature in the Memphis Crossroads Magazine. Click here to view the issue in its entirety.

Young professionals who are active in Memphis receive plenty of benefits, particularly when they move here bringing energy and insight. 
That’s how it is with Heather McElwee, a trust officer and assistant vice president for private wealth management at Regions Financial Corp. Born in Georgia, she graduated from Auburn University and the University of Mississippi School of Law. She started at Regions last year, but she’s been building connections in the Mid-South before that, as a law clerk for Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division, an associate at Morgan & Morgan, P.A. and as a judicial extern for West Tennessee Chief Bankruptcy Judge David S. Kennedy.
When she graduated from Ole Miss Law School in May of 2015, she knew she wanted to get into business law. “I interviewed for a trust office in Jackson, Miss., but they told me I should go to Memphis, which would be a great fit. It was exactly what I wanted to do even if I didn’t know it at the time. Regions has the perfect amount of banking and law, and I love the people I work with.”
As much as she loves her work (regulatory compliance, wills, trusts and estate taxes), McElwee also delights in the down time activities in Memphis. 
“I’ll go anywhere after work and hang out with people in any capacity,” she said. That might be going to Loflin Yard, biking the Greenline, going to Orangetheory Fitness or running with Breakaway Running’s Salty Dog runners. “I also like that we’re close to the water,” she said. “I grew up in Columbus, Georgia, which is landlocked, but here there’s access to water and a lot of nature in the city.”
It didn’t take long for McElwee to get involved with the Greater Memphis Chamber’s SoundCheck, the council for young professionals. 
“I wanted to meet people similar to my position,” she said, “and I was looking for more ways to get involved.”
SoundCheck works closely with initiatives developed by the Chamber’s Chairman’s Circle that has identified ways to bring about positive changes in the city.  One of the Circle’s Moon Missions is “Memphis Clean by 2019,” an initiative to reduce blight and trash by the city’s bicentennial while getting the community involved. As a SoundCheck member, McElwee has enthusiastically joined this effort that is focusing on the 38126 area downtown and the Orange Mound neighborhood. 
“The goal is to clean up underserved areas,” she said. “We take opportunities to be involved with schools and neighborhoods, whether in tutoring or cleaning up.”
“Memphis Clean by 2019” coordinates with the nonprofit Clean Memphis to make the most of their efforts in making a difference. Executive Director Janet Boscarino said that Clean Memphis has created 28 zones in the city, each with teams addressing various needs. Companies or organizations such as SoundCheck are connected with stakeholders in their zones to deal with blight, clean up trash and team up with schools to teach about the environment, do tutoring or take on special projects. 
“I would like to help put on financial literacy classes for high schools there,” McElwee said. “It’s a difference that Regions could make, teaching budgeting for loans and how to make that happen. Education is the difference maker and the great equalizer — it all starts with that, getting the younger generation in school and staying in school and making college possible.”
She is also active in community work through the bank’s outreach. “Through Regions, I volunteer with the United Way and serve dinner to families at the St. Jude House,” she said. The company's volunteer program is called What A Difference A Day Makes and associates get a day off with pay each year to work with nonprofits. McElwee also is a provisional member of the Junior League: “All the girls I know are in Junior League, so I figured I should do that.”
McElwee is the kind of self-aware young professional that Memphis wants to keep. “When it comes to revitalization, you have to get a good, young population,” she said. “That’s what I’m passionate about.”
Story by: Jon W. Sparks
Photo by: Troy Glasgow


Posted: 11/1/2016 3:26:40 PM | with 0 comments
Filed under: Bank, Council, Crossroads, Heather, McElwee, Memphis, Professionals, Regions, SoundCheck, Young

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The latest news from the Greater Memphis Chamber. For more information, contact Director of Communications Christina Meek at (901) 543-3504 ( or Communications Specialist Jenny C. Fish at (901) 543-3558 (