WCS graduate Ellie Estes is making a name for herself in the world of finance. The former Centennial High student is a wealth adviser for the Southwestern Investment Group in Nashville.

What led you to pursue a career as a wealth adviser?

After graduating from Centennial High School, I moved to Malawi and took a gap year. Although we were there to work on Western/Tribal relationships and getting a school accredited, we ended up starting a cottage industry. This was the first time I was faced with true survival-ship mentality and the effects of business in a community progression. I decided to go into business and personal finance at that point.

What are your primary job responsibilities?

I run the generosity division for our financial planning practice. I use the skills of personal and family finance with my certified financial planner and our family book of business along with my experience and network growing up in Franklin to connect and serve the for-profit, non-profit, governmental and family units in the greater Nashville area. We do consulting, full-service financial planning, educational seminars and training sessions, and connect passion areas with skill sets and needs in the area.

What do you enjoy the most about your job?

My job is to learn people’s story, help them navigate finding true passion and quality of life, and serve the community – what is not to love!

Where did you attend college and what did you study?

I have a degree in Finance and a degree in Accounting from the University of Kentucky. I was a part of the Gatton School of Business’ Honor’s College, Global Scholars, where I received my International Business Minor in Spain and took specified classes in global awareness and servant leadership.

What did you enjoy most about your high school experience?

I truly loved to learn. Centennial gave me the opportunity to excel in the classroom, having almost a year of college before entering the University of Kentucky, but also learning life. Centennial was diverse in economic, culture, passion and perspective. I loved how much I learned from being friends with each and every friend group in our school. I was your typical school-spirited student: Ms. CHS, mascot, flag-runner, Senior Class President, AP student, etc. The most memorable thing for me, though, was tutoring freshmen in the Freshman Academy.

What WCS teacher made a difference in your life and how?

Heather Hayes is one of the five most influential people in my life. I had her freshman year for English and was her student aid all four years. When Freshman Academy started, I began to tutor each day with her. I had some very difficult things come up in my life during my junior year, and I could always talk with her and come in her room to take a moment’s break. I have cried in her room, laughed in her room, graded papers, tutored, made posters, and been mentored by one of the most incredible, genuine, up front teachers on this planet. I always loved school, but when my world came crashing down, she was my safe haven.

Do you have any advice for current WCS students?

Don’t look to fit in – ever. Everyone around you is trying to be like you and everyone else. Stand out. Make mistakes. Think of others more than yourself. Aim high – the fear of failure is such a small cost compared to the fear of knowing you never tried.

Know a Williamson County Schools graduate who has moved on to great things? Send us an email and nominate an Alumni Achiever. Simply tell us the person’s name, what they’re doing now, and an email address or phone number so that we may contact them.