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Proud of Earlene Smitherman
Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The following article appeared recently in the Beachwood Patch.  See below to read an excerpt of the article. The full article can be found on the following link.

http://beachwood.patch.com/announcements/beachwood-employee-earns-degree-and-new-opportunities

 

 

Beachwood Employee Earns Degree and New Opportunities

From receptionist to assistant vice president, Earlene Smitherman rises through the ranks of the banking industry

 

Earlene Smitherman began her career in banking as a temporary receptionist who had always believed she wasn't college material. Today, she is an Assistant Vice President and Cash Management Specialist at Liberty Bank in Beachwood.

 

On Sunday, she received her bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix, which has a campus in Beachwood.

Smitherman, who lives in Richmond Heights with her husband and two children, started as a temporary receptionist, but she quickly moved up to Customer Service Representative.

 

"Liberty Bank has a management training program," Smitherman said. "I saw kids coming out of college and quickly advancing. Watching them move up made me contemplate college."

 

Smitherman took action after seeing an online ad for University of Phoenix. "With working full-time and running kids to dance and choir rehearsals, I didn't know how I was ever going to make time for going to a classroom."

 

Encouraged by family and co-workers, Smitherman began her studies in April 2008; in June 2008 she was promoted to Customer Service Manager, followed by a move to Assistant Bank Manager in 2010.  

 

"Along the way, my co-workers were incredibly supportive. Even the CEO would ask, 'How's school going?' They saw something in me that made me want to push myself even more," recalled Smitherman.

 

"Phenomenal" is what Smitherman calls her learning experience at University of Phoenix. "Often, the things I learned about in classes were things I was dealing with at work, so I could immediately apply what I was learning."

 

She appreciated the benefits of interacting with classmates both online as well as during team assignments. "It really was like sitting in a classroom; there was great interaction," said Smitherman. "And when it came to team assignments, you got used to working with people from different backgrounds with different personalities and experiences - just like in the workplace. It was the best opportunity for me to grow and learn and become a better employee."

 

Going back to school was a family affair at the Smitherman household. "My husband and kids stepped up to help with the cooking, cleaning and laundry and even offered their opinions on my papers," said Smitherman. "It felt like we were all in school." She always made a point to put her grades on the refrigerator where the whole family could see them. "My kids would say, 'Look, Mom got an A.' That's such a good feeling."  

 

Recently Smitherman was inducted into the academic honor society Delta Mu Delta and has been asked to join the International Business Honor Society.