Tell me about yourself and your family
My name is Sherry Tetreault and I am happily married for over 34 years with two grown sons, two wonderful daughters-in-law, and three awesome grandchildren. We also have an adorable Miniature Pinscher named Pennie. My mother was originally from Tennessee, I was a military brat, and we lived in Hopkinsville, Kentucky growing up.
What part of Tennessee do you live in?
I have lived in Clarksville for over 34 years. It’s on the Kentucky-Tennessee state line, with Fort Campbell straddling both states. While being one of the fastest-growing cities in Tennessee, it still manages to retain its small-town feel.
Where do you work?
For the last 20 years, I have worked for Money Management International (MMI), formerly known as Consumer Credit Counseling Services. While we no longer have a physical location here in Clarksville, I am so thankful that my position allows me to work from home, providing a much-needed service to those who are struggling locally in the current economy.
MMI is a non-profit that empowers financial wellness. We offer many types of financial counseling and education to help individuals and families improve their financial lives. Usually, this takes the form of helping our clients create a budget, improve their credit, repay debt, or stabilize their housing situation during times of financial uncertainty.
How did you get into that line of work?
After years in financial services on the lending side, I was given the opportunity to join MMI to help educate individuals on getting out of debt and making wise financial choices. As is the case with many of our counselors, my finance background really helped navigate the transition into this work and bring a greater understanding of its impact. Many people working in financial services will recognize us by our former name, Consumer Credit Counseling Services.
How have the recent tornadoes and the coronavirus outbreak affected your job?
We are seeing individuals coming to us from all walks of life for help. Due to the increase of consumer needs, we have been busier than ever providing HUD-approved housing counseling services to economically-challenged homeowners and renters.
I am hearing from more people struggling with lost jobs, financial worries due to reduced income, and confusion as to where to turn or what to do. My first responsibility is acknowledging their concerns, letting them that we are here to help, and listening to their unique situation while working with them to get through this difficult time.
Why is it important for you to continue working right now?
I feel that our team of certified counselors is needed now more than ever, as our country travels through this unprecedented time. In addition to my clients, I have friends and family who have been directly impacted by the downturn, so I know all too well the uncertainty and financial stress that these challenges have brought about. In some ways, it feels familiar though, since I also counseled people during the Great Recession.
What are you most proud of with the work you do?
I am most proud of being able to help people when they feel they have nowhere else to turn. I have been given the tools and resources needed to show individuals their options and help them make educated decisions, so it’s very rewarding to help them find hope as we create a plan for their financial lives.
What is the hardest part of your job?
For me, the hardest part is the emotional fatigue after listening and processing the serious challenges people experience during some of the most difficult financial situations of their lives.
Do you have any advice you would give in these difficult times?
Slow down. Breathe. Reach out to accredited and objective help like MMI. Ask lots of questions to educate yourself. Listen and pray.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Spending time with my husband and family, and cherishing that time together.
What do you look forward to the most about life returning to normal?
I look forward to being able to hug people and shake their hands. I miss exchanging facial expressions, so I can’t wait to let people see my smile and to see theirs.
Who is most responsible for you being the person you are today and why?
My husband, Rick Tetreault. He’s my rock and keeps me grounded.
Who are your heroes?
My dad, Ralph Mills and my husband, Rick Tetreault. Both of these men have always stepped up to the plate, honored their word, provided for their families, shown kindness to others, and have been an example of unfailing love to others.
If you got to choose one superpower, what would it be?
I wish I had the power to take away all diseases. Perhaps without the fear of sickness and the debt it causes, we could better focus on loving each other.
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us, Sherry. We hope you have a great week and stay safe.
For helping those facing financial crises from the Middle Tennessee tornadoes, as well as the pandemic, we’re proud to award Sherry with $500 to her chosen charity, MMI’s Project Porchlight.
Learn More About Sherry’s Chosen Charity
Project Porchlight is a 501c3 post-disaster financial recovery program focused on assisting those affected by natural disasters. Using MMI’s network of trained counselors, the program provides clients with tools, education, and support to help them develop and execute a personalized financial recovery plan.