Arizona alumnus helping families repair credit
If there’s anything the current pandemic situation has taught Americans, it is that having a strong financial picture for your family is key to survival. And as Adrianne Cooper can attest, many are not enjoying such a picture.
A 2015 MBA graduate of the Sierra Vista campus, Adrianne is owner of Cooper’s Credit Consulting International. While she’s based in her hometown of Oklahoma City, Adrianne works with clients all over the country, helping them rebuild their credit and live a more fulfilled life.
“A lot of my clients are people preparing for home ownership, opening a business or getting a job requiring top secret clearance, which requires your finances to be super clean,” says Adrianne, adding that she works with many military families she met while in the Army and working as a civilian government contractor in Arizona.
The path to CEO
Adrianne said she actually started doing credit repair while in the military, putting together programs for the soldiers under her command on getting out of debt and creating a budget. Word began spreading about her skills, and she continued the side work after transitioning to civilian life in 2005 and going to work for a contractor. While living in Sierra Vista for the next eight years, she built up contacts and shared vital information in the community. Her Wayland experience also helped.
“Wayland provided me with door openings during my MBA program where I could co-author some articles at the local newspaper with my professors and get more influence in the town,” she says. “I joined the Chamber of Commerce Board and created programs where I would go out to the high schools and middle schools and teach the kids about budgets and finance. I would also host free classes at the library for people to get free information.”
In those days, sharing her knowledge was helping her build the business. Now, she loves continuing to spread education to a younger generation so they can avoid the financial hardships their families may have endured. In March 2015, she left her regular job and began working the business full-time.
“People are surprised when I say my business has been built mostly out of word-of-mouth, but it has. We usually keep our clients for at least six months. But we have some who have been with me for three years,” Adrianne says. “I equate it to Weight Watchers or a gym membership: if you have accountability, you are more susceptible to stay with the plan. It’s a team concept and a partnership for me. That’s what sets me apart from just an app on your phone or a big company where you’re just a number.”
Crunching the numbers
The challenge in credit consulting is that each client is different. There are no cookie-cutter approaches since every individual comes in with different concerns, needs and dreams, and it takes time to sort through their issues and create a plan. But that challenge, Adrianne says, is what she enjoys, along with being able to see clients really reach their goals and avoid bankruptcy.
“When we consult with people, we take them on one-on-one and the programs are designed to fit their needs specifically,” she said. “Whether you’re a soldier or a civilian, life happens – unemployment, divorce, medical bills and things like that – and people’s credit gets slammed a bit. We show them how to clean that up so they can have a brighter future and a second chance at life.”
Providing hope is a key part of Adrianne’s success and the reason her business is so personally fulfilling. She also loves that she can incorporate spiritual principles in keeping with her faith into what she does, helping people to change how they think about money.
“At the end of the day, it’s a mind renewal. Those principles are what is helping them stay on track. You can work the steps but if your mind is not renewed, you’ll go back to the same old ways and habits,” she says.
Life in the pandemic age
Adrianne says in spite of the quarantine lockdowns and changes wrought by COVID-19 this spring and summer, families are still buying and selling homes and conducting the business of their life. But many are wondering how to stay afloat if they’ve experienced income loss. They key, Adrianne says, is to keep the lines of communication open with creditors and to be proactive.
“They are being very forgiving right now and setting up special programs for people so they don’t default on credit card bills, on student loans or on their mortgage. These plans are in place, but people have to reach out and be transparent (with creditors) and they can do this directly,” she said.
Another key aspect would be for families to revisit their current budget or perhaps create one so they have more stability and assurance during these uncertain times. Adrianne says families may have to pull back from things they normally enjoy, like a vacation or other unnecessary purchases, so they can save resources and prevent foreclosure or default on loans.
She also encourages those with student loan debt to stay on top of it by reaching out to lenders if they experience hiccups in their financial situation. New graduates need to make sure they keep their contact information current with lenders before the sixth-month grace period ends so they don’t end up in default, which can cause major damage to their credit for years.
Challenges and all, at the end of the day, Adrianne says she finds her work fulfilling as a way to repay the guidance of those who helped her in earlier years.
“I want to pay that forward and be a blessing to the community and our churches and other professionals. That’s what wakes me up every morning,” she says. “We’re helping someone create a new financial future or to have a second chance at life. That’s huge for people. If they don’t have the finances to take care of their family, it creates other big issues like depression, stress and even divorce. It plays a huge part in our everyday lives.”
Adrianne’s business can be followed on Facebook, and she shares tips on her Twitter and Instagram pages as well. She can also be reached by email and by phone at (800) 686-1995 while she revamps here newly designed website.
Veteran alumnus issues WBU support/mask challenge
Alumnus Elizabeth Helm-Frazier, BSOE'99 from the San Antonio campus and Army veteran with 25 years of service, has issued a challenge to fellow alumni to participate in the Impact 2020 campaign -- and the 10 for '20 emphasis -- and to have some fun with their COVID face coverings. For more information, call Teresa at (806) 291-3600.
“Hello Pioneer Alumni,
I am a graduate of Wayland Baptist University (WBU), Class of 1999, and I am United States Army Retired. I believe if there’s a way, it’s WAYLAND!
I started at WBU in January 1994 while stationed at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, located in San Antonio. My major was business. Being in the military you move around a lot and the school you started with may or may not be at your next duty station. This was way before online college! Because I wanted to stay with Wayland, the Admissions staff worked with me and The Education Center at my different duty locations. All my books and materials were mailed to me, and I took exams at The Education Center with a test proctor.
Three assignment later, I finished my studies in May 1999. I was not able to march with my class of 1999 because I was stationed in Germany. But again, the Wayland staff made a way! My diploma, cap and gown were mailed to me. I am truly thankful to Wayland for helping me find a way to stay with the school during my Army career.
Now as an alumnus, I think it’s very important to keep a connection with the college. I visited the home campus in Plainview on Feb 20, 2020, to preview the documentary film, “The Six Triple Eight: No Mail, Low Morale,” which I helped produce, at the campus museum, The Jimmy Dean Museum. While there, I met Wayland staff, students, friends, and alumni. It was a great visit. I encourage everyone to put visiting the campus on your to-do list and make sure you visit the museum!
Here’s my two-part challenge to all VETERANS and other ALUMNI:
1) Make a donation to Wayland in the amount of the year you graduate or in increments thereof (or any other amount you choose). Since my class year is 1999, my donation could be: $1.99, $19.99, $199.90, $1,999.00. You can do a one-time donation or a monthly donation, auto-drafted from a card or checking account. The point is just to get involved and help the university reach its campaign goals to create a better Wayland for today's students.
You can mail your check in to Wayland Baptist University, 1900 W. 7th, Attn: Alumni Office, Plainview, TX 79072. Or you can give using Wayland’s online site with a credit or debit card if you want to save a stamp!
2) To make it fun, along with your donation mail or email your best COVID-19 mask photo! I hope we can get enough photos to create a Wayland Alumni COVID-19 Yearbook!
I hope you'll follow my lead and send a gift to Wayland. I'm starting the challenge with a check for $100.99 and am mailing it out on July 1. I know times are difficult due to COVID-19 and many people may not be working. But if you are able to donate now or later, it would go a long way to help OUR university thrive. Gifts to the capital projects are subject to a dollar-for-dollar match through October, so your gift can be doubled!
Elizabeth A. Helm-Frazier, Class of 1999, Wayland
Master Sergeant/E8/US Army (RET)"
Devotional: Walking in wisdom keeps chaos at bay
From March to June 2020, I was honored to teach a Bible study online since COVID-19 kept our church from meeting in person. I love Bible study, Sunday school and small groups, but my husband loved them more. He didn’t miss Sunday school from birth through high school graduation – 18 years straight. Actually, he rarely missed a Sunday studying God’s word as an adult, and he was known as Mr. Sunday School in Hobbs, NM; Levelland; Plainview; and at Pioneer Drive Baptist Church in Abilene.
My husband, Eddy Curry, died suddenly in August 2019, and five weeks later, I was diagnosed with kidney cancer. My heart’s desire since August has been to seek God’s wisdom and walk humbly with my God. Proverbs 1:5 states “let the wise listen and add to their learning and let the discerning get guidance.”
When I worry and don’t know what to do, I go to the One who created me. No matter how much we know, God knows more. He is wise and His wisdom is worthy of my trust; He has the perfect plan for my life. Long or short, rough or smooth, easy or hard, I will look for his presence as I walk forward.
In Proverbs, Solomon explains that the person who trusts in God will find rest from fear. Solomon tells his son to not lose sight of wisdom. Be diligent. Use discretion. Wisdom through your words and actions should be evident in your life. Constantly be alert to the need for wisdom in every life situation.
”Then you will go safely on your way; your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid (3:23-24). Carefully consider the path for your feet, and all your ways will be established. (4:26)”
In these verses, we see phrases: go safely and you won’t stumble or you won’t be afraid. If you knew there was a “pill” that would provide a wholesome life, the absence of anxiety, the sense of safety, and the removal of fear, and had no harmful side effects, would you take it? Well, Solomon has the “wise key” to success for us. Keep your feet on the straight path, the wise and safe path.
How many of you walk and count your daily steps? Do you spend more time counting than reflecting on how meaningful the footsteps are? I was no match when counting total steps for the day compared to my husband, but I can tell you the intent of our steps matched perfectly. No matter where we went, we desired to keep our feet on the straight path as Solomon wisely advised. We just knew to follow: “trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey.”
One of the wisest choices I have had on this new journey with cancer and loss was my decision the last day of 2019 to choose my word and scripture verse for the year. I did not want to spend my days worrying about the future or the unknown trials that might come my way. My word for the year is FEARLESS and my scripture is Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight.”
What do these two verses mean to you? For me, it is God’s will for my life.
- Seek him with all my heart.
- Love him with all my heart.
- Serve him with all my heart.
- Trust with all my heart.
Lord, in this world may you grant us a glimpse of your wisdom and give us courage to act on what we discover. God, use our ransomed lives in any way you choose as we walk with you today.
Dee Ann Curry is a 1975 graduate of Wayland in Plainview. She taught 30 years in public schools and 12 on full-time faculty at McMurry University in Abilene, retiring as instructor emeritus. She and late husband Eddy, also a 1975 WBU graduate, were married 46 years at his death. They have two grown children and six grandchildren.
From the History Files
This month's look back at history includes a glimpse at former president Dr. Bill Marshall, who served Wayland from 1947-53. Marshall was responsible for many changes, including an emphasis on recruiting international students for a diverse student body and leading the college to four-year status and to voluntarily integrate in 1951. He was a pilot as well and helped transport the Flying Queens to games across the country.
The following text was printed in the 1950 edition of The Traveler yearbook.
Pioneer style, he was born in a covered wagon at Ada, Okla., February 18, 1908, while the ranch house nearby was being finished.
Dr. Marshall was schooled in several institutions in Texas and Kansas as well as in the school of experience. He attended the University of Kansas and Baylor University at Waco. He graduated from Texas Christian University with a Bachelor of Arts degree and attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. In 1943, he was honored by Hardin-Simmons University with a Doctor of Divinity degree.
"Brother Bill" served as director of religious education at Baptist churches in Wichita Falls and Corsicana. After being ordained, he accepted the pastorate at Handley and later at University Baptist Church in Fort Worth.
For five years he held with great success the leadership of student work for the Texas Baptist General Convention. On July 1, 1943, he assumed his duties as the first secretary of the Missionary Personnel Department of the Baptist Foreign Mission Board.
Texas still had a strong pull on him, and in 1947 he accepted the presidency of Wayland College. As a world traveler, "Brother Bill" has seen Baptist mission work in China, Hawaii, Europe and Old Mexico as well as across our own nation.
Because of his high ideals and winning Christian personality he has become a great man in the eyes of all who know him. The 1950 issue of the Wayland Traveler is dedicated to our friend and president, Dr. J.W. "Bill" Marshall.
Navy veteran, alum reflects on blessings of education
James K. Atkinson was one of the first students to attend Wayland’s campus in Hawaii after its opening in 1979. He graduated with his BSOE in 1980 while serving in the US Navy, and he is proud of his educational experience and the faith aspect of the university. He is retired in North Carolina. The following is his testimony:
“I was born in 1954 to a family of 12 children. We never expected to attend college and couldn’t have afforded to. I found a way; God graced me through Wayland. I taught eight hours each day in a Navy school and went to night school from 5-10 or 11 p.m. every night I could. Wayland GRACED me.
“I was a 1st class petty officer (E6), and I started teaching every morning of the week on Ford Island after 7:30 a.m. morning muster. This meant being up and on base to catch the 6:30 ferry ride to the island. It took commitment to do the work.
“Upon leaving the Navy in April 1981, I was hired to work at the Hanford facility in Washington state. My hiring was very specifically noted by management at the DOE facility because I had taken the time while on active duty to get my college education. I worked at Hanford for eight years in several supervisory positions.
“Later, my background and education lead me to consulting positions in oil, gas, chemical, paper and wood product industries, primarily as a senior adviser on regulatory compliance requirements and operational excellence. My Navy education and Wayland Baptist University laid the foundation for my success. It also solidified my faith in God our Father, His Son our Savior, and the never-ending gift of the Holy Spirit. All our students should know that I (and all humans) fail all the time, but the foundation and guidance, the belief in me by the Wayland University staff during my time in school drove me and they kept me focused and on track. They made me believe that I could and would succeed.
“Based upon my education provided by Wayland and my previous Navy experience, I and my family won. It is not a lottery; it is work. I was able to focus on my experience with operating and maintenance training, implementation and training, maintenance procedures, quality performance training and implementation, quality assurance compliance, safety procedures and implementation of OSHA, ANSI, NRC requirements and best practices. I started my own consulting company and ran it for four and a half years. Those years were very rewarding and successful. I became a safety manager and then ultimately a safety director during my continuing 14 years of employment for four different large and medium industrial manufacturing facilities.
“I retired in 2014 at age 60 after a stroke. I worked for eight months after two months of rehab but I realized it was too dangerous for me to mentor others and push my expectations when I couldn’t perform to my physical and mental best. I didn’t want to put others in danger even though I loved my work.
“These days, we make soap for family and friends and donate some to a migrant church as we can. I’m also a watercolor artist and have started painting again after moving. I try to support my kids and grandkids the best I can, and my wife and I made a tree house in our yard over a ten-month period. I also enjoy reading lots of science research reports and articles on everything from geology, space, weather and biophysics to oceanography and medicine. I have been married for 39 years to my amazing wife and have four children and nine grandchildren.
“If this sounds like the ‘incredible life’ don't be fooled. We are no spring chickens. We have challenges with kids, grandkids, relatives, finances, health, sleep and home repairs, car maintenance, unexpected bills, etc. These things are all temporary and they are uncomfortable things we just get to deal with, just like you.
“But we have learned this: Don't fret; tomorrow comes and goes. Life is tough but enjoyable with the right approach and attitude. A solid faith in God must be the foundation. I am not the best at anything and I am somewhat infamous for telling my bride, ‘don't worry, we’ll work it out.’ Life is temporary; make the most of it the best you can. Love others to love yourself. Pray often, for others first and then your own challenges.
“A few last notes for students: Set a target. Stay the course. Finish the work. You must do the work with your Wayland administrators. They want you to succeed. I truly believe that the support I received from Wayland administrators, professors and just the opportunity itself during my time in school changed my entire life. I have had the great reward and joy in the accomplishments of all my children, my associates, employees and folks that gave me help. Just do the work; it's worth it. There is nothing truly worthwhile that is easy, including faith, family and work. Enjoy your lives; they are really shorter than you realize.
“There were some days I hitch-hiked to class with my baby boy in a backpack, diaper bag and books in hand as I didn't have access to my car. I was blessed by one professor who saw me, picked us up and took us to class. We put the baby on a blanket pallet in the back of the room with a bottle, and classmates helped me with him. Then the professor took us home. This really happened only four or five times during my 22 months at Wayland Hawaii. I knew I had been graced by this professor with her love and commitment, and other professors with their patience and consideration. I was in class 4-5 nights each week the entire time I spent with Wayland. The college celebrated my graduation at a Baptist church in Aiea not two miles from my house and we had a graduation lunch at a hotel downtown. I encouraged others to attend because the folks at Wayland were amazing.
“I am so very proud of Wayland’s growth and commitment to the military and local community in Hawaii. I was blessed, and I take pride in being the first graduate. That gift from WBU afforded me an incredible future and wonderful overall life in general. I just want to thank the university for its outreach efforts to the military. You change lives. Congrats on your expansion and continued growth.
“God knows I will always pray for this university to grow. The success is not just mine; it is the leadership that was founded in Texas. I hope someday to be able to visit. I really would like tell the students how lucky they are to have attended and be graduating from this amazing institution.”