Leslie with her Granddaughter Kassidy.
Leslie Greer Alum of the Month
Question.) Leslie, you are originally from Florida. What attracted you to Western?
Answer.) After my sophomore year of high school, I did a church mission trip where were worked on the Qualla Reservation, and we stayed in Sylva. When I got my first brochure from WCU, I saw it was close to Sylva and knew I wanted to go to college in the mountains. I never seriously considered anywhere else after I discovered WCU. After meeting Phil Cauley at a college fair, I had two other friends who applied and were accepted to Western. We all went together.
Q.) When did you graduate from WCU and in what subject area?
A.) I graduated in 1990. My major was accounting.
Q.) Leslie, what are some of your fondest memories of your days at WCU?
A.) I loved living in Scott dorm my first two years. Almost the whole floor was from Florida, so we bonded pretty quickly. We did everything together including take care of each other when chicken pox broke out on our floor. I was also a Sweetheart for the Sigma Nu fraternity. The friends I made from the 5th floor and the fraternity are still close friends today.
Q.) Who were your favorite professors or staff members at WCU and why?
A.) My mentor was Dr. John Beegle. He wasn’t my official advisor, but he provided guidance on classes and professional advice throughout my four years at WCU. He encouraged me to sit for the CPA exam my senior year, so I would have the experience. Even after I graduated, we kept in touch, and he was always willing to help anyway he could.
Phil Cauley also had a big part of my continued involvement in Western. Phil was the first person I met from Western, and our paths continued to cross. I worked in admissions for a year, and he was always willing to help including writing several recommendation letters for me. Right after I graduated, Phil accepted the Alumni Director position at Western. He invited me to a meeting with other alumni to discuss starting an alumni club in Atlanta. I accepted that invitation, and I am very proud to say I am a founding member of the first Western Club.
Q.) Leslie, you have enjoyed a successful career in the banking industry most recently with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Tell us a little about your career path since graduating Western.
A.) I have been lucky that my career path has allowed me to stay in Atlanta for 27 years. I joined the FDIC in July 1990 after graduation as an Assistant Examiner in the Division of Risk Management. I was promoted to Commissioned Examiner in 1993. I transferred to the Division of Depositor and Consumer Protection in 1994 where I performed Compliance Examinations and Community Reinvestment Act Evaluations. In September 1998, I took a position as a consultant for a private firm. I was eventually promoted to Director of Compliance where I was responsible for managing the compliance consulting staff as well as generating new business for the division. I was with the firm for 10 years, and I loved the work. But after my Mom passed away, I knew I wanted to have more time for my family, and I needed to make a change. I was fortunate that the FDIC was hiring, and I was able to be re-instated with the Corporation in my former position. Since returning, I have held the position of Supervisory Examiner and currently am a Senior Compliance Examiner. My current position includes training which has become passion of mine as my career has progressed. I also serve as an instructor for one of the Division’s compliance schools in DC.
Q.) Leslie, you have a very interesting hobby. You own a bull and travel extensively all across the country to various bull riding competitions. How did you become involved in this unique rodeo sport?
A.) The short answer is my grandfather. When I went to visit, that is what we watched together. My mother and I then decided to go to the Professional Bull Riders World Finals in Las Vegas. That is really where we got hooked. It has become a family affair. Besides my dad, I have an aunt, two uncles, a sister, and nieces that are all into bull riding. I also introduced my best friend and her daughter to the sport. We travel to New York, Nashville, and Las Vegas every year plus other events that may be in our area. Several years ago, we got to know Jeff Robinson who was the reigning stock contactor of the year for the PBR. My sister, my best friend and I decided to partner with Jeff on a bull. His name was Cool Hand Luke, and we had a great time with it. He is retired now, but for a while, we could say we were PBR stock contractors.
Q.) You have another hobby—riding your Harley Davidson motorcycle---but unfortunately you experienced a very bad accident almost a year ago. How did your Catamount family help you through this difficult time?
A.) It is hard describe the support I got from my Catamount family. I got cards, flowers, gifts, and messages of encouragement from friends at the University, the Alumni Board, and the Western Club of Georgia. Members of the Western Club of Georgia came to visit me both at the hospital and after I got home. I required 24 hour support when I came home from the hospital, and two friends who I met my freshman year at Western flew in and stayed with me. Karen and Bill Clark came down from Cullowhee and brought gifts from both the Alumni Office and the Catamount Club. The encouragement and support definitely kept me motivated to meet my goals which included getting to Cullowhee to support the football team and making it to Vegas for the PBR Finals. The support helped me meet both of those goals.
Q.) You are a member of WCU’s Alumni Board and you are also President of the Western Club of Georgia alumni club. Why do you feel it is important for alumni to stay connected with their university?
A.) For me, it is important to give back. As you can see from above, my time at Western blessed me with life-long friends and the tools I needed for a successful career. I want to continue those relationships, but even more important, I want others to have those opportunities. My favorite event for the Western Club of Georgia is the Bon Voyage Party. It is chance for incoming freshmen from Georgia to interact together, as well as with Admissions personnel, and alumni. I love seeing how excited these students are to start their WCU journey.
Q.) Now tell us something unique and interesting about yourself that few people may know.
A.) Twenty years ago, I began sponsoring a young Navajo girl through a program at a boarding school on the Navajo reservation. At the time, Angie was four. I would send birthday and Christmas presents, as well as school supplies. A few years later, I also started sponsoring Angie’s sister, Frieda. I have watched these young women grow up and got to attend both of their high school graduations. Now they are 24 and 25, and I am thrilled that they have wanted to stay in my life. Last year, Angie became a mother to a beautiful little girl, and she asked if her daughter could call me Grandma. The best part is Kassidy and I share a birthday which we just celebrated together this month.