A first generation college student, Crunk came to the Haslam College of Business in the 1970s and found the experience both challenging and eye-opening.
Susan Crunk (HCB, ’80) thrives on connection. As a financial advisor, Crunk enjoys crunching numbers and evaluating investments, but interacting with clients is her favorite part of the job. “I’ve found my calling,” she says. “There’s nothing I love more than helping people meet their goals.”
A first generation college student, Crunk came to the Haslam College of Business in the 1970s. “I found the whole experience challenging and eye-opening,” she says. “I felt like I could be anything I wanted to be, and had a hard time picking a major.” Crunk graduated in 1980 with a concentration in public administration and soon became an accounting manager for a major department store in the Nashville area. When the company was sold several years later, Crunk took a position as assistant controller for Service Merchandise in Nashville.
Along the way, she developed an interest in investing. “I subscribed to Money magazine when I was 24 and knew nothing about investing,” she says. “Then I found a broker and started investing with almost no money. I loved learning about it and planning for myself.”
After 13 years in retail accounting, Crunk contemplated a career change when coworkers and friends started coming to her for investment help. “I was giving advice on the side that I probably wasn’t qualified to give,” she says. “At that point, I thought, ‘I could do this for a living.’”
Crunk went to her financial advisor and asked lots of questions about the field. Once she was certain, she interviewed with a few firms and joined what was then Prudential Securities. “It was quite a radical change because I had a very good, high paying job in retail accounting, and I started over at ground level,” she says. Twenty-six years later, she doesn’t regret making the switch. “I wanted to do something I could enjoy for the rest of my life, and I’ve found it.”
Crunk stayed with Prudential as it changed hands several times, eventually becoming part of Wells Fargo Advisors. “During that time at Wells Fargo Advisors, I joined a team of advisors who are all University of Tennessee graduates, and we’ve been together for more than 10 years,” she says. “Last year, we formed an independent practice, Williams Hunter Wealth Group aligned with Raymond James Financial Services.”
Colleague Thomas Hunter describes Crunk as detailed, transparent, and an excellent listener. “She takes responsibility for the client’s goals as if they were her own,” he says. “There’s a high level of authenticity in all her relationships, professional and personal.”
For the past six years, Crunk has served on the UT Knoxville Alumni Board of Directors and will become the board’s president this summer. “She really understands and values the importance of alumni and the role they play in the life of the university,” says Lee Patouillet, associate vice chancellor of alumni affairs. “It’s a joy to work with her.”
Crunk and her husband, Tommy, who holds degrees from the College of Arts & Sciences and the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, have included Haslam in their estate plans as part of a large gift to the university. Their gift is split between several destinations, including the Haslam College of Business. “We’ve been very fortunate in our careers and want to give back,” she says. “We both feel a responsibility to stay connected and help others.”
To make a similar gift, contact the Office of Development at 865-974-6083.
In his research, Haileab Hilafu aims to make it easier to extract actionable knowledge from large datasets