Member Spotlights

Ellen Palmer
Pinnacle Financial Advisors

Current job:  Commercial Lender at Pinnacle Financial Advisors

Summary of your role in the company: I work with companies to help them with their loan and deposit needs.  I work with operating companies with their loan and deposit needs and handle loans for investment and owner occupied real estate. 

How I chose my occupation: When I graduated from college with a degree in finance I knew I wanted to be a commercial lender as I was interested in businesses and how they operated.  As a lender, I get to see lots of businesses and learn how they function, grow, and decide what products or services to deliver to their customers, all of which is fascinating to me.   I love to hear the stories of the various businesses and they got where they are. 

Years in the business: 32 years

My specialization is:  I am more of a generalist as I lend for various business needs including Investment and owner occupied real estate, operating lines of credit, equipment financing, any lending needs a business may have.  

A good lead for me is:  Loan requests from $500,000 to $15,000,000 and companies that may not be happy with their current bank.  I also look for companies that may not have a loan need but have strong deposit balances and want a banker that is hands on and readily available to them.

The most satisfying part of my job is: Taking care of my customers and delivering good customer service. 

Best leadership advice I have been given:  Listen more, talk less and be an example to others. 

Number of years with CREW: 6

Most significant CREW connection: Too many to list as I have made a lot of friendships and great business connections.

Place of birth/hometown: Elizabeth City, NC

Number of years in Charlotte: 30 years

Family: I have two boys ages 23 and 26 and a wonderful daughter-in-law

My ideal vacation spot: Beach

Hobbies/Interests: I like to exercise and stay active and want to do more traveling.  I also enjoy reading and working in my house and yard. 

Other professional organizations I belong to: The House of Mercy, Commercial Finance Association.

I wish I could: Sing (which will never happen), take more time to learn new things, and see more of the world.

Kristen Pleasants
Basis Point Advisors

Current job:  Principal of Basis Point Advisors

Summary of your role in the company: I am Principal and Owner of Basis Point Advisors, a commercial real estate financial advisory firm providing commercial real estate consulting solutions and due diligence services to financial institutions, asset management firms, institutional investors, private owners, and developers.

How I chose my occupation: Like many of us in the commercial real estate industry, I got into the business more by circumstance than intent. I began my career in banking, through a corporate associate training program. I quickly discovered that my interests were more with commercial real estate, than in the general finance field. So, I asked my employer to create a position for me in their commercial real estate lending department. And, to my surprise, they did!

Years in the business: 22 years

My specialization is:   Commercial Real Estate Finance

A good lead for me is:  A financial institution, asset management firm, or commercial real estate investor, developer, or owner that needs consulting or due diligence services, specifically related to commercial real estate finance.

The most satisfying part of my job is: Making connections! I love using my network to help others.

Best leadership advice I have been given:  Build your own personal board of directors, and use it!

Greatest professional achievement:  I would say that it is a tie. I was honored to receive Charlotte Business Journal’s 40 under 40 award in 2007; but I have been fortunate enough to serve in some awesome leadership positions, including serving as CREW Charlotte’s President in 2007 and on the CREW Network (National) Board of Directors in 2008 and 2009.

Number of years with CREW: 20

Most significant CREW connection: I actually found a position within my own company at a CREW Charlotte meeting. Despite the fact that I had been with Wachovia for 8 years, I made a new connection with a fellow Wachovian at a CREW Charlotte lunch. That individual encouraged me to pursue an opportunity within Wachovia that I would have never known about otherwise.

Place of birth/hometown: Durham, North Carolina

Number of years in Charlotte: Eight, if you count my first stint (2002-2009). I returned to Charlotte in 2018 and have been back in the Queen City for nine months.

Family: “Team Pleasants” – Includes: Husband (Will); Daughter (Laney, 7); and Son (Alex, 3)

My ideal vacation spot: Any destination that includes sand and water. There is something about a beach that calms the spirit and invigorates the soul. It is one of the few places where I can go for self-reflection and refocus. 

Hobbies/Interests: Am I allowed to say wine? All kidding aside, between owning my own business and managing a household with two very active kids, I don’t have a lot of time of hobbies/interests. But, I do love wine! 😊

Other professional organizations I belong to: None. I am a CREW junkie! 

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