What happens if you face many challenges in your young life – including becoming a mother of two by 15? In Ada Gardner’s case, you triumph over those challenges to become a successful banker who shares her life story to give others hope.

Gardner is a Branch Manager in the Atlanta area and our Better Life Award winner for October. She’s an inspiration to her colleagues, customers and community members because of her determination to succeed, and devotion to help others find that strength in themselves.

Several times a year, Gardner serves as a keynote presenter for Woman University, a 10-week enrichment program run by Marvelous Light Empowerment, Inc. Marvelous Light is a nonprofit organization that helps women grow in self-esteem, financial management, family stability and career. Regions is donating $1,000 to Marvelous Light on Gardner’s behalf.

Gardner’s work with Marvelous Light is just one example of how she encourages others to make honest self-assessments, identify their goals, and embark on a plan to reach those goals. She has published two books, and founded the Something About Sistahs support group to provide one-on-one opportunities for struggling women to grow.