PROFILE Anna (Tilley) Love: Success Against All Odds

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Below is a Blount County Horizon Magazine profile on Vanquish Worldwide’s Chief Financial Officer Anna (Tilley) Love and her success against all odds.)

By Sherri Gardner Howell

Look at the facts of Anna (Tilley) Love’s life, and you think you see a tale of two Annas. The first Anna grew up an Air Force kid who lived 20 places in as many years; went to four high schools before she dropped out at age 16 because she was pregnant; two children before she turned 18, with her oldest being a special needs child confined to a wheel chair; married, working but living on the poverty line; divorced when children were in elementary school; single mom for five-plus years, then married again; two more children.

Photo Courtesy Tom Sherlin/The Daily Times

Photo Courtesy Tom Sherlin/The Daily Times

The second Anna passed the test to get her GED without taking any classes to prepare and actually had to wait to get her diploma because her high school class had not yet graduated. She got a Pell grant and went to college, gratefully accepting her in-laws help with the children so she could work and go to class. She loved history, but majored in accounting because “that’s where the good jobs were.” She convinced her husband to move from New Mexico to Tennessee for the job op­portunities she was hearing about from her parents, who had relocated to Knoxville. The job opportunities were good, but this second Anna thought she needed more, so, while she worked, she got her MBA from the University of Tennessee at Martin. Soon her jobs were moving from accountant all the way to CFO.

Merge the two Annas, and you have one dynamic Anna Love, age 39, loving mom to four children, driven businesswoman with 15 years’ experience, CFO of a world­
wide company and an emerging community volunteer. Anna recently divorced, so she is now officially Anna Love, going back to her maiden name.

Surprisingly, the name isn’t the only thing that is still familiar between the now 39-year-old Anna Love and the 16-year-old girl. “I came from a great family with good values,” says Anna. “I grew up hearing about the importance of college, of doing the right thing and making good deci­sions. Even when I was 16, pregnant and then the mother of a special needs child with another child on the way, I still knew I wanted to succeed, that I wanted a career.”

Her drive and determination have always been part of her. “You have to do what is needed for your family, and, sometimes, what is needed is for you to not let anything stop you.

“I have never been afraid,” says Anna. “I have always known I wanted a lot out of this world and was willing to work to get it. Even today, as happy as I am, I look at what I still need, at my goals for the next 10 years.”

Today Anna is CFO of Vanquish Worldwide and its family of companies. She says she is a good fit with owner Eric Barton and his team because she made a decision years ago to concentrate on work for government contractors, including her previous position as CFO for MillenniTEK, a nuclear manufacturing company.

Her position with Vanquish and the company’s community involvement gives her the opportunity to give back to a system that helped her when she needed it most, says Anna.

“I am getting more involved in the community, which not only fills a need I have to give back, but gives me an opportunity to use my creative side. That will make me a better person and a stronger CFO.”

Life isn’t easy, says Anna. “You have to take all that life presents to you, and you choose your attitude. Victim or survivor? Bridge builder or stuck in the mud? I choose every single day to have a positive attitude and to work to build up the people around me.”

Photo Courtesy Tom Sherlin/The Daily Times

Photo Courtesy Tom Sherlin/The Daily Times