Elise Ott Worthen

Age: 39

City of residence: Galveston

Current title: Vice president/marketing director

Place of business: HomeTown Bank, N.A.

Education: Texas A&M University, Bachelor of Science – Biology

Family: Husband, Charlie Worthen; daughters, Erin, 8, and Paige, 4; parents, Monica Patane Ott and Danny Ott; Susan Worthen

Professional responsibilities: I truly enjoy all aspects of my job as marketing director and board secretary at HomeTown Bank (for the past seven years) which includes:

• Planning, designing, reviewing and approving all bank advertising including but not limited to social media, the bank website and print advertising

• Coordinating and planning bank events

• Receiving, reviewing requests from community groups and sending bank contributions

• Preparing and distributing the monthly board package and meeting minutes to our board of directors; attending the monthly board meetings

• Secretary to the president, Jimmy Rasmussen

Accomplishments/honors: Independent Banker's Association of Texas: Best of Community Banking: Marketing 2017 (for HomeTown Bank's 50th anniversary celebration in June 2016); Volunteer of the Year: Yaga's Children's Fund

Community involvement: Holy Family Parish, Kindergarten Faith Formation Teacher; board, Teen Health Clinic; Financial Women in Texas; Rotary Club of Galveston; Yaga's Children's Fund, past board member (eight years); Junior League of Galveston County, past board member, sustainer

Why did you go into your particular field?

My degree from Texas A&M University is in biology and I applied to veterinary school. I realized that wasn’t where my strengths lay, and I wasn't interested in teaching or being in a lab all day, so I decided to give the marketing/public relations field a try in advertising sales. The relationships that I built with my customers was my favorite part of the job but, in the back of my mind, I had a goal of being on the “other side” and actually making the buying decisions that were best for the brand I was representing. Along the way, I’ve learned from doing part-time work with Robyn Bushong at What We Do Best LLC and Kathy Van Dewalli at The Grand 1894 Opera House. When the full-time marketing position came up at HomeTown Bank, I really had no idea how much I’d enjoy the atmosphere of a community bank. I love coming to work every single day.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A pop singer. I wrote some “songs” when I was 10-12. They are hilarious.

What was your first job?

I worked in the information booth at Moody Gardens, stationed just outside the Visitors Center at the base of the steps. Although it was hot, I had lovely scenery. I got to answer some funny questions like "Where are THE Moody Gardens?" And "What time does Galveston close?" People also tried to hand me a lot of money because they thought I was the ticket booth.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

One of my flaws is that I tend to be an “all or nothing” thinker. Often, people will show me that both things I’m considering can be easily accomplished with flexibility and my mind is frequently blown by that. So, I’d say any advice along those lines is pretty valuable to me.

What’s your favorite thing about your job?

Definitely the people. Our team is a fun group who also pulls together to offer the best service to our customers. Our president, Jimmy Rasmussen, is an absolute pleasure to work with daily. I also thoroughly enjoy each member of our Business Development Committees and it's truly a privilege to sit in the board room with our directors monthly.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started your career?

If you’re thumbing through a publication and you didn’t see your own ad, that means no one saw it. Change it as soon as possible. And less is always more. White space speaks volumes. Keep it simple. People are busy.

Who do you consider to be your greatest mentor and why?

For all things life, my mother, Monica Ott. I thank God each day for choosing her for me.

For all things marketing, I currently look to Pat Welsh. He has an excellent way of making my good ideas even better. He also has an excellent way of eloquently telling me when my ideas are not so great. I appreciate his honesty and his comments are always constructive.

For all things bank operations, I would say Jackquelynn "Lulu" Higgins. She has been with HomeTown Bank now for over 40 years and I value her opinion and knowledge. She’s my go-to at the bank.

When you’re not at work, what do you do to relax?

Charlie and I are often entertained by dancing, singing little girls in random "costumes" at our house. Showtimes vary but are frequent and quite enjoyable. When not spending time with my family, you can find me running on the seawall early in the morning with my buddy Racheal, walking the neighborhood with the family Beagle (Shelby), at the movie theater (I love movies!), enjoying cheese enchiladas at any one of our fine, local Tex-Mex establishments or planning our next Disney trip!

What is something about you that most people don’t know?

Charlie and I share a love for the Counting Crows and we’ve seen them live about seven times. (And the song that made them famous – “Mr. Jones” – is actually their worst, in my opinion.)

How do you hope to grow in your career?

I look forward to helping HomeTown Bank expand with new buildings, new branches and marketing future products, showing local people in our footprint how valuable community banks truly are, one customer at a time.

If you couldn’t do what you’re doing now, what would you be doing?

Like, a dream? ... I’d say accepting my Oscar for Best Film Score! I wish I could write music. And the combination of music in a film is pure magic! I'm in complete awe of those who can write it or those who simply have melodies "pop" into their head and they just play them! Amazing.

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