It’s been 13 years since I declined my “dream job” offer in global supply management strategy for a company in Chicago to move to my husband’s home state of Alabama. Originally from Brazil, I’ve lived in Philadelphia for business school, and in London, working for a consulting firm. I figured I’d move to Birmingham, accept a job opportunity at Regions, and eventually get back to a bigger city.

But then, I fell in love with it here.

Homes are amazing. Traffic is less of a fight. The people are welcoming.

And there’s no better place for families. We’ve had two daughters here and I can’t imagine raising them anywhere else. They love their schools, friends, neighbors, camps, Red Mountain Theatre, McWane Science Center, and the many opportunities to grow, learn and have fun.

When I travel, people often ask how I deal with the perceived “provincialism” in Alabama. Like anywhere, Alabama has its challenges, but even more assets and opportunities. Embracing those assets and putting the opportunities to good use help us tackle those challenges. At Regions, we’re trying to do that by increasing the effectiveness of our community investments and philanthropy.

As executive director of the Regions Foundation, I’m able to apply my background in strategy and finance to investing in the place I’m proud to call home.

We’re doing more to create inclusive growth by focusing on economic and community development, financial wellness, and education and workforce readiness.

As our communities succeed, Regions wants to be a partner in that success.

When I visit outside of Alabama, I’m honored to share the good I witness firsthand and help paint a clearer picture of our great state.

Marta Self is the head of corporate philanthropy and executive director of the Regions Foundation, which engages in community grantmaking focused on priorities including economic & community development; education & workforce readiness; and financial wellness initiatives across the communities it serves.

 

This article was originally published in This is Alabama.