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From Humble Intern to Distinguished VP

Lesley Vaughan, Vice President of Reporting and Analytics for Coastal, has by all accounts built for herself a distinguished career. But the beginning of her career was decidedly more humble, starting as a high school intern at Coastal nearly 30 years ago.

Lesley got her start at Coastal from a local work co-op program as a high school senior in Wake County. But the funny part is, she’s not even sure how she ended up there. “I didn’t even sign up for the class. My counselor just put me in it,” she says with a laugh. “I guess I stumbled into a lifelong career.”

Through the co-op program, local high school seniors had the opportunity to complete an internship while learning basic job skills and responsibilities. “I learned to work with different personalities and styles,” she says. “I carry those lessons I learned back then with me today.”

Through the internship, Lesley learned skills, gained confidence, and made a new family. That last part proved especially vital when her parents decided to move back to Kentucky after her senior year.

“I had started to build my outside family, a Coastal family,” she says. “So I decided to stay and work my way up.”

After the internship, she began working in the accounting department. Then Lesley found she had a strong interest in IT, so she focused on that side of the business.

After 15 years  working hard in IT, a job in the Reporting and Analytics department opened up. “It was a perfect bridge to use my accounting background as well my love for IT,” she notes. “I love being able to leverage technology to make it cheaper, faster, and more efficient.”

Nearly 30 years after that first internship, and having worked all over the company, Lesley is still as passionate as ever about working for a credit union. She beams when she talks about her purpose, “We have a responsibility to our members’ finances, but it is more  than that. We are integral to the community.”

And now Lesley has the chance to give back to the community that has given her so much. She is about to begin volunteering to serve as a Credit Union Development Educator. She’s not sure of the specifics of her program, but knows she wants to mirror the lessons she learned as an intern.

“For me, this is a way to foster the ideals of giving back. Strengthening and building our community. This is my calling to get back into the school system and carry these lessons forward.”

Where will that take her? Only time  will tell.