2018 Youth Advisory Board Graduate McKinley Stovall Shares Youth Advisory Board Experience

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McKinley Stovall Shares Youth Advisory Board Experience

By McKinley Stovall

It truly feels as if only a few short months ago, I was a member of Heritage Bank & Trust’s Youth Advisory Board. It has instead, however, been a few years, and I am now entering my senior year of undergraduate at Western Kentucky University as a Dance and Communication Studies double-major.  McKinley Stovall

I participated in YAB during the 2017-2018 academic year as a senior from Culleoka Unit School. As a passionate Maury County native, I have always sought opportunities within our precious community to further immerse myself, and this was one of the first for me in a leadership role. YAB does exactly this: it provides high school seniors an incredible opportunity to maximize their leadership and interpersonal skills, while simultaneously providing them the knowledge that is crucial to every facet of life.

We are all familiar with the notion that it is important to understand the “ins and outs” of finances, from how to adequately manage your money to different tips for saving. But this is only the surface level. The specifics? Compounding interest, growing a 401k, and even bank-related careers are each in-depth, guaranteed topics of discussion. Throughout my journey thus far as a college student, these various pieces of information have proven to be invaluable to my own financial management and financial planning.

As I prepare to enter my final year of undergraduate, I recognize – and perhaps more so than ever before – the vitality of financial discipline, planning ahead, remaining thoroughly cognizant of my personal financial situation, and anticipating those certain expenses that tend to surprise you (like that tire that will blow when you’re in a hurry or that spontaneous beach trip that your roommates beg you to join). With each year that has passed, I have become increasingly aware of how I spend my money versus how I save, and I credit YAB for a significant portion of this way of thinking.

Prior to my YAB experience, I could not define a 401k, nor could I recognize the meaning of compound interest. Regarding banking, I thought that maybe at most, a handful of careers were offered. I quickly discovered that there was much to learn; my initial understanding of these areas grew exponentially with each session.

I took away many things from my experience on YAB, but perhaps the largest takeaway of all was the fun that I had and the relationships that I grew along the way. To this day, I stay in communication with Heritage Bank’s, Claire Hill, who introduced me to this same opportunity four years ago. Her guidance, eagerness, and willingness to help me even beyond my time with YAB is genuine, and I can assure any high school senior that they will receive that same connection through this opportunity.

It begins with getting educated, and it is followed by discipline. YAB will equip you with both: essential knowledge and thorough tips for disciplining yourself so that even when it is payday, you know that that is not necessarily a sign to go on a mega shopping spree.

If you are looking to gain a better understanding of your own financial life – including how to truly manage and independently take control of it – I firmly believe you should consider applying for YAB. If you – like me – genuinely love people, collaborative environments, and opportunities to work simultaneously as a leader and a team player, this opportunity is for you. And, of course, if you are seeking a fun learning experience that connects you with local professionals (hello, networking!) I strongly encourage you to apply to be a member.

I can promise you this: it will be nothing short of rewarding.

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