At FirstBank Mortgage, we believe that our people are at the very heart of who we are as a company. Our purpose is to help others get to their better place, and you don’t have to look far to find people who are wholeheartedly living out that purpose each and every day. Ask anyone, and they will tell you it’s more than just a purpose: it’s a calling.
Our Leadership Spotlight introduces a few individuals who are an integral part of our team and share our passion of helping others.
What city do you call home? Talladega is my hometown. I currently live in Calera, Alabama.
Where did you complete your education? What is your degree? I earned an associate’s degree in Electronic Communication from Community College of the Air Force and a bachelor’s degree in Business and Marketing from Tarleton State University.
Tell us a little bit about your family. My wife, Tina, and I have two kids: Savanna is 21 and a Junior at Auburn University, majoring in Childhood Psychology, and Braxton is 18, a senior in high school, majoring in his girlfriend, his biceps and his xBox. My mom (JudyBabe) just turned 75 in January, and I’m still her favorite.
Do you have any hobbies? I really enjoy embarrassing my children at any given opportunity. Duck and quail hunting are fun. Preventing near heart attacks on my Peloton is my most recent obsession.
When and why did you begin your career in the mortgage business? I began with SouthTrust Mortgage in 2002. We had just gotten out of the Air Force – we owned a house in Savannah, Georgia, a house in Killeen, Texas, had 2 car payments and a 6 month old daughter. I was BROKE and needed a job desperately. I found and fell in love with the mortgage business instantly.
What one thing makes you the most proud to work at FirstBank Mortgage? The people and integrity of this company. This team is deeply passionate about helping others, and the leadership executes on doing the right thing the right way without hesitation.
What makes a team successful in your opinion? Clarity of vision, individual grit and loving accountability with teammates.
What motivates you? How do you motivate employees to go the extra mile? Seeing people grow, develop, win and love what they do as a career brings me joy. I think it is crucial to identify in a tangible way the purpose behind all the minutia (that we call the mortgage business). Keeping our team’s perspective in check… Looking through the credit scores, LTVs and documents of a mortgage loan and seeing the families and their future they’ve placed in our hands.
What city do you call home? Huntsville, Alabama
Where did you complete your education? What is your degree? I received a degree in Economics from Auburn University.
Tell us a little bit about your family. My husband’s name is Larry (he’s a farmer). We have four children and five grandkids.
Do you have any hobbies? Lots! I love reading, yoga and horses.
When and why did you begin your career in the mortgage business? It looked like fun! I started my career 30 years ago.
What one thing makes you the most proud to work at FirstBank Mortgage? The people! They are simply amazing.
What makes a team successful in your opinion? Willingness to adapt.
What motivates you? How do you motivate employees to go the extra mile? Serving and encouraging others to serve. It motivates me, whether at work or in my personal life.
What city do you call home? Birmingham, Alabama (Well, Bagley to be exact. It’s a small rural town 20 minutes northeast of Birmingham, but no one knows where it is, so it’s easier to say Birmingham.)
Where did you complete your education? What is your degree? Birmingham Southern and my degree is in Fashion Merchandising (that makes a lot of sense, right?). I also hold Accredited Mortgage Professional and Certified Mortgage Banker designations through the National Mortgage Bankers Association.
Tell us a little bit about your family. I’ve been married to Don Gravlee for 38 years, and we have three daughters and five grandchildren, ages 18 months to 16.
Do you have any hobbies? Shopping, singing , traveling and marking items off a bucket list.
When and why did you begin your career in the mortgage business? I started my mortgage career in 1985 as a receptionist knowing nothing about mortgage. It was not my dream to become a mortgage banker, it was all accidentally. I actually have a Fashion Merchandising degree and was on my way to working in that industry when I met my husband. Due to his profession (self-employed), he could not make geographic moves, so I decided to stay the course where I lived at the time and look for other employment. (Love over dreams and I wouldn’t change a thing!). Through an interview process, I landed a receptionist job at a mortgage company with great people who took me under their wing and mentored me.
What one thing makes you the most proud to work at FirstBank Mortgage? Teammates who take pride in what they do and how FirstBank allows associates to show that pride.
What makes a team successful in your opinion? Trust and respect
What motivates you? How do you motivate employees to go the extra mile? Personal drive to be my best, helping others be better at what they do, and supporting people in their goals and dreams or helping them realize what those goals and dreams are.
We’re always on the lookout for new team members to join the FirstBank Family. Interested in learning more? Check out our career opportunities here.