Meet Jess Hopkins.
Jess is VP Market Leader for First Merchants Bank. She has been in the financial world since 2007, having started her financial career at Grabill Bank. She proceeded to work at Wells Fargo and was there until the divestiture in 2018, at which time she joined the First Merchants’ team.
She attended IPFW and then IWU for her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting. She has since gone back for her Master’s degree in Human Resources with plans to graduate in February 2022.
Jess and her husband, Shane, have been together for seven years, having been married for two. Together, they have two children, Colton (age 6) and Cooper (age 4). Jess also has three bonus children from Shane: Regan, Amanda, and Dan. They also have three dogs: their Yorkie Ari; a Husky named Chloe; and Kane, their German Shepard. Jess and her family love to travel, swim, and be outdoors whenever possible. Some of their favorite travel spots have been the Mojave Desert in California, and Volcano National Park in Hawaii. They are looking forward to a week-long hiking trip out west in July.
YWCA Asks: What does an “empowering woman” mean to you?
Jess: An empowering woman means someone who has the drive to achieve the goals she has set for herself. It means sometimes going against the traditional opinion to ensure your voice is being heard. Having the courage to stand tall and express your beliefs.
YWCA Asks: In what ways do you feel that you empower other women?
Jess: I feel I empower other women by giving them opportunities to use their voice and be heard. I strive to be a source of encouragement when they need it, but also pushing them outside of their comfort zones to give them the development opportunities they need.
YWCA Asks: Would you please share an experience or tidbit of knowledge that would help other women? This could be a lesson learned, or motivational story, or information that you would like to share to help educate others.
Jess: I think the greatest piece of advice I can give is don’t wait for people to give you an opportunity, but rather you need to create the opportunity and own your success. No one gave it to you, it was earned.