Stories from Women in Leadership: Women’s History Month 2024

Since 1987, Women’s History Month has provided an annual opportunity to celebrate the invaluable contributions of women throughout history. Each year is guided by a unique theme chosen to reflect the current social, political, and cultural landscape, while also raising awareness about ongoing issues affecting women and promoting gender equality.

The 2024 theme, "Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion," recognizes the tireless efforts of women who strive to eliminate bias and discrimination from both individual lives and institutions.

At Academy Bank, we're proud to spotlight some of our leading women who embody this theme. From retail banking centers to IT and beyond, these women lead with dedication and pride, contributing to organizational success and inspiring their teams to excel. Join us as we celebrate the stories of Tracy Sirna, Tarena Terry, Jane Strohm, Mary Westfall, Jessica Gardner, and Dana Hogan this Women’s History Month.


Tracy Sirna
Vice President, Manager Enterprise Project Management

Tracy Sirna is our VP and Manager of the Enterprise Project Management Office (EPMO) team, and she has played an integral role in our organization for nearly 2 years. In her position, she oversees business analysts and project managers to drive organizational innovation and improve client experience.

Outside of work, Tracy is a self-proclaimed technology enthusiast and finds pleasure in exploring new gadgets to enhance daily life. She also enjoys yoga, cooking, community involvement, and spending time with her family. Tracy and her husband share a passion for home renovation, describing themselves as “serial home renovators.”

For Tracy, Women's History Month is a time to celebrate the trailblazers who have broken barriers and made significant contributions across various fields. “It serves as an opportunity to amplify their voices and ensure that their stories and achievements are not forgotten,” she says. In addition, she draws personal inspiration from her 90-year-old mother, who remains active and full of energy, and her daughter, a fearless trailblazer who stands unwavering in her beliefs and aspirations.

Taking charge of her own legacy, Tracy works personally and professionally to be well-rounded. “My ‘history’ will continue to be written over my lifetime and the positive impact it will have on future lives.” In the end, she hopes her experiences illustrate a picture of resilience, growth, and self-discovery.

Tracy actively promotes equity, diversity, and inclusion in line with the 2024 WHM theme. Involved in various charitable organizations, she supports equality and safety for underrepresented communities. She also believes that fostering DEIB begins with self-reflection and challenging assumptions in order to cultivate a mindset of openness and empathy. “This includes speaking up against discrimination and actively seeking out opportunities that support and uplift individuals from diverse backgrounds.”

After March ends, Tracy would love to see the spirit of Women’s History Month remain all year long, including the shared commitment to creating a more inclusive and equitable society for all people.


Tarena Terry
Senior Vice President, Director of Treasury Management

Meet Tarena Terry, our SVP and Director of Treasury Management. In her role, she is responsible for strategic leadership, sales management, product development and implementation, and all other operational activities that support our Treasury Management and Commercial Deposit Strategy.

Tarena describes herself as a high-energy, fun, confident, yet self-aware woman. She strives to enjoy everything that she does, and therefore, she is intentional with who and what she spends her time on.

During Women’s History Month, Tarena celebrates the empowerment of women, urging them to embrace their inherent greatness. Despite being way-makers throughout history, women's contributions are often overlooked and undervalued—as if their achievements happen by magic. She emphasizes that women not only initiate change but also play vital roles in bringing those changes to fruition. This underscores why Women’s History Month is crucial for acknowledging and honoring these often-unrecognized contributions.

When reflecting on inspiring women, Tarena looks to her sister, Twila. Dedicated to the well-being of children across Indiana, Twila has devoted much of her life to community service within the state. Tarena aims to emulate Twila's patience, kindness, and grace in her daily life, finding strength and purpose in her sister’s influence.

Each day Tarena writes her own history as a first-generation college graduate, homeowner, mentor of college and adult women, and board member supporting education initiatives for children. She adds “I represent the dream of my ancestors, the legacy of my husband’s last name, and the future I am building for my children.”

Tarena passionately embodies the 2024 Women’s History Month theme of "Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion." She champions the causes of women, people of color, and the underserved, and she integrates these priorities into her professional and personal life. For Tarena, advocacy isn't an afterthought but a guiding principle; it must be at the forefront of everything we do.

After Women’s History Month concludes, Tarena leaves us with a valuable reminder: “When sharing success stories, please highlight the whole team. No one can be successful without the help of someone else.” This mindset underscores the importance of recognizing and honoring the collective efforts of women in our communities.


Jane Strohm
Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources

Jane Strohm is the SVP, Director of Human Resources and leads her department to provide support for associates, managers, and the organization. Her team mitigates risk for the company by ensuring compliance with all laws and regulations relating to people. Ultimately, their efforts are instrumental in driving company culture and creating a sense of belonging for all associates.

Jane’s personal mantra, “Work Hard, Be Kind & Have Fun,” reflects her approach to both work and life. In her spare time, she enjoys spending quality time with her family and friends, as well as traveling with her husband and daughter. Jane is also a dedicated runner, having completed multiple marathons, along with 20 half marathons and countless 10Ks and 5Ks.

For Jane, Women’s History Month is more than a celebration; it's an opportunity to shine a light on remarkable women, particularly those who often go unnoticed. “It’s acknowledgment of those who have come before me, empowerment, and a chance to drive the collective voice of women everywhere.”

Reflecting on the women who inspire her, Jane turns to the strong women in her family: her paternal grandmother, her mother, and her daughter. Beyond her family circle, she admires trailblazing figures such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Laura Bush, Michelle Obama, Rosa Parks, and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Jane’s own Women’s History Month story is a testament to being a mother, wife, friend, ally supporter of women, and an executive—a true modern “boss lady.” In doing so, she sets a powerful example for her teenage daughter, showcasing that women can thrive in diverse roles and actively contribute to all aspects of life.

Aligned with the 2024 theme, Jane passionately believes in advocacy through continuous learning, sharing knowledge, and actively supporting women. To her, knowledge is power, and when shared, it multiplies. This extends beyond gender to embrace all facets of what makes each woman who she is. Jane urges us to “ask questions, learn about someone and their life, and then actively support one another.”

As Women’s History Month draws to a close, Jane hopes our community continues celebrating and embracing the remarkable women who are doing great things. She advocates for women to lead, be in the spotlight, and drive positive changes in our communities and workplaces.


Mary Westfall
Vice President, Retail Instore Executive

Mary Westfall is a dedicated VP, Retail Instore Executive with over 23 years of experience at Academy Bank.

Overseeing 9 branches, she inspires her teams to achieve their goals while fostering a culture of pride within the organization. Mary's ability to connect with others and nurture growth among team members makes her an invaluable asset. In her role, she also fosters partnerships with community organizations to provide essential banking services to those in need. Mary is committed to personalized service and has a genuine passion for assisting others.

Outside work, Mary finds fulfillment in lending a helping hand, whether it's volunteering at homeless shelters or supporting organizations dedicated to helping individuals regain stability in their lives. Family holds a special place in her heart, and she cherishes moments spent outdoors with loved ones. Mary is also actively involved in her church community, finding purpose in her faith and contributing to its growth and outreach efforts.

For Mary, Women’s History Month is a time to recognize the invaluable contributions of women to the success of our country. “We are women helping women and making sacrifices for what we believe in,” she adds, emphasizing the importance of unity and empowerment among women.

She greatly admires her 83-year-old mother for her selflessness and dedication to helping others in need. Mary credits her mother’s example for instilling strength and faithfulness in both herself and her three sisters.

Aligned with the 2024 Women’s History Month theme of "Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion," Mary advocates for these values through her actions, treating everyone with equality and respect. She believes in learning from others and values diverse perspectives, embodying the principle of treating others as she wishes to be treated.

As Women’s History Month concludes, Mary hopes that the community will remember and honor the sacrifices of strong women from the past while acknowledging the ongoing contributions of women in our society.


Jessica Gardner
Chief Marketing Officer

Meet Jessica Gardner, the dynamic Chief Marketing Officer at Academy Bank. In her role, she leads her team with a clear mission: to ensure the Marketing Department plays a pivotal role in helping our organization achieve its goals. Through collaboration with other business units, Jessica and her team provide invaluable support, accept feedback, and offer input to collectively drive success across the board.

Driven by a love for challenges and a keen sense of enjoyment in her work, Jessica approaches her goals with determination and a touch of fun. As she puts it, "What's the point of achieving your goals if you're miserable?"

For Jessica, Women's History Month holds a special significance—a time to celebrate the resilience, achievements, and contributions of women throughout history. As a working mom, she values the recognition of the diverse roles women play, and she sees it as a reminder of the ongoing journey towards gender equality. Finally, Jessica underscores how this month-long celebration empowers future generations of women to pursue their dreams and aspirations without limits.

Highlighting the significance of women who uplift others, Jessica believes in pursuing goals with integrity, authenticity, and kindness. While she humbly refrains from claiming to write women's history, she hopes her legacy will be felt through mentorship and radical candor, creating an environment where individuals can thrive and grow.

Aligned with the 2024 Women’s History Month theme, "Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion," Jessica champions inclusive policies at work and in her community. She recognizes the intersection of gender inequality and other forms of oppression (including race, class, sexuality, and ability), and she advocates for the rights of all individuals, regardless of their background or circumstances. As poet Audre Lorde once said, "There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives." This quote resonates with Jessica’s understanding of the interconnectedness of various social issues and how they shape the experiences and opportunities within our larger society.


Dana Hogan
Senior Vice President, Manager of IT Service Support

Dana serves as the SVP and Manager of IT Service Support, overseeing several departments within IT, including the Service Desk, Access Management, Endpoint Admins, and Asset Management.

Having worked with our organization for 26 years, she plays a crucial role in organizational success by innovating and implementing the IT Service Management system. Here, she streamlines assistance for company associates and establishes measurable processes for back-office departments. She manages IT functions like Change Management, Asset Management, Access Management, and Purchasing. Plus, she mentors team members and improves department-wide processes.

Beyond her professional endeavors, Dana is characterized by her fun-loving, loyal, and family-centric nature. She enjoys activities including pickleball, volleyball, and working with her family’s real estate investment team.

For Dana, Women’s History Month serves as a powerful reminder of the resiliency, courage, and impact of women across generations. “It encourages us to continue advocating for equality and amplifying women’s voices in all aspects of life,” she emphasizes. Building on this sentiment, Dana remains steadfast in her commitment to fostering a more equitable and inclusive society, both within our organization and beyond. This echoes her dedication to shaping her personal legacy with values of generosity, compassion, and inclusiveness.

When reflecting on iconic female figures, Dana finds inspiration in the bravery of Rosa Parks, the bold independence and empathy of Princess Diana, and the humanitarian achievements of Mother Teresa.

Dana is committed to honoring the preferences and identities of all people, which fosters an environment where everyone feels valued and heard. This inclusive outlook enriches interpersonal interactions and promotes collaboration by embracing diverse perspectives. “Commitment to these principles plays a vital role in building a more equitable and inclusive society,” Dana emphasizes. Her mindset naturally aligns with the 2024 Women's History Month theme "Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion," underscoring her dedication to promoting acceptance and collaboration.

As Women’s History Month concludes, Dana hopes to see continued support for women-owned small businesses within the community.

Continuing the Legacy: Reflections on Women's History Month

As Women's History Month draws to a close, we extend our gratitude to the remarkable women who have allowed us to share their inspiring stories. These women exemplify the significance of Women’s History Month in acknowledging and celebrating the resilient trailblazers who have sparked change and made significant contributions, even when their efforts go unnoticed.

Across these stories, common threads emerge, highlighting the empowering nature of Women’s History Month. It serves as a reminder that women of all generations can embrace their inherent greatness and pursue their dreams without limits. These females demonstrate the diverse roles that women play and continue to achieve success in various fields.

As we reflect on their journeys, it becomes evident that these extraordinary women aspire to leave a legacy of positive impact, embodying values of self-improvement and kindness. They aim to set an example for their children and peers, fostering an environment where growth is encouraged.

Championing the 2024 Women’s History Month theme, these women underscore the importance of honoring individual preferences and uplifting people from diverse backgrounds. They each strive to create an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued, heard, and accepted—a space for collaboration and continuous learning. Recognizing that advocacy is essential for driving meaningful change, they also emphasize that the journey towards equality encompasses all individuals, not just women.

As Women's History Month concludes, our dedication to honoring women's contributions and advancing gender equality remains steadfast. Let's continue to uplift, empower, and advocate for women in all aspects of life. Thank you for joining us in celebrating their remarkable achievements!