Coffee with Corey: Happiness is Home

By Corey Poole

BOM Senior Vice President and Marketing Director Carrie Beth Hough

Originally from Haughton, Hough came to Natchitoches to attend Northwestern State university in 2002. Her entire family graduated from NSU, so Hough jokes that she didn’t really have a choice in the matter. Her father Henry Burns sits on the Alumni Foundation Board and was named Mr. NSU in 1969.

“NSU was an easy choice for me,” said Hough. “It was only an hour away from my family in Haughton, but Natchitoches quickly became my home.”

She met her husband Cody at NSU. He was a Kappa Sig and she was a Tri Sig and they met at a “Seesaw-A-Thon” Fundraiser. Both newly single, they were introduced and paired up to ride the seesaw. The rest, as we like to say, is history.

“Everything in my life is tied back to NSU,” said Hough, who added that BOM is even the official bank of NSU. “It’s my passion and I’m always happy to help the university. The love I’ve had for the university ties in together with BOM.

Staff from BOM teach financial literacy classes at NSU and at schools throughout the parish. The bank is also a sponsor of NSU athletics, which includes giveaways at games for students and assisting with freshmen connection events. This is near and dear to Hough as she served as a freshmen connector for three years. She’s also gotten to watch two of her nephews serve as connectors.

Hough is a member of the Demons Unlimited Foundation and her son Carter serves as a ball boy for the NSU basketball team. The family attends a wide variety of sporting events at the college and Carter attends summer camps.

“The public can’t have these kinds of close personal relationships with the coaches, players, faculty and staff at larger universities,” said Hough. “It’s a treat to see that NSU truly cares about the community and the kids.”

Originally wanting to be a wedding planner, Hough majored in hospitality and tourism management with a minor in marketing, and food and nutrition, with the goal to become a wedding planner, but life had different plans. When it came time to get a job, she knew she wanted to work at NSU. On an interview at BOM there was something about the bank that felt like she was coming home when she took a position as President/CEO Ken Hale’s personal assistant.

“I could see myself at the bank,” Hough explained. “The possibilities.”

Eight years later and Hough and BOM have undergone a lot of growth. Hough has moved up from a personal assistant to senior vice president while retaining the title of marketing director. She now has a dream team for marketing in Micah Murchison and Blaise LaCour. The bank itself has grown from three locations to 18.

When she first started working at BOM, the bank has no set plan for community involvement. It was Hough’s goal to get seven employees to attend local events to start. It’s important to the bank’s culture to get the staff to buy into what it means to give back, and not monetarily.

“We want to create an environment where people do things for the right reasons and really, truly want to make a difference,” said Hough. “There’s a million banks around, but no better place for me to do what I’m doing than at BOM.

Outside of the bank, Hough is a Service League sustainer, a member of NYP and one of the inaugural “4 Under 40” Awards, a member of the St. Mary’s Catholic School’s Foundation Board, a Chapter Advisor for Tri Sigma, a past Kiwanis President, Secretary for the Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission (NHDDC) and a past member of the board for the Boys and Girls Club.

In her spare time she focuses on her family, her friends, and of course her son Carter…who wants to play every sport known to man. He plays on teams through the City of Natchitoches Recreation and Sports Department, on travel baseball leagues, and on the Red River Football Team.

The Hough family love traveling to the beach and DISNEY for their annual vacation. To unwind, Hough recommends relaxing mornings with a cup of coffee, a two-mile walk, Netflix & Chill with Gray’s Anatomy or any of the Harry Potter movies, and lastly a fire in the fireplace and a glass of red wine.

So what’s the key to it all? Hough said she tries to look at the positive in everything. She tries to be goofy and high spirited to bring everyone up. It’s about balancing the playfulness and fun with a hardcore work ethic.

“It’s important to be the joy and the light in peoples’ lives because you never know what they’re going through,” she explained. 

Hough knows this all too personally. Six years ago, for one year straight, she suffered from bouts of vertigo, followed by migraines. On a Monday, her doctor noticed that her hearing was off. By Wednesday they discovered a marge mass on the front temporal lobe that was pushing on her brain. She was checked into a hospital the very next day. By Saturday, it was time for the surgery to remove it. She remembers being wheeled into a bright white surgery room and a sense of calm enveloping her because she knew God had her and she was going to be okay.

Within a week Hough was out of the hospital.

“This was a very scary time,” she added. “The scariest part was thinking that I’d never see my son again. We have a special bond and he’s my best friend.”

From the minute she received the call about the mass on her brain, Hough’s family and friends rallied around her, cooking and cleaning and taking care of Carter.

At BOM for 15 years now, Hough is looking forward to watching the bank thrive and grow and be the best.

“Natchitoches is my home and I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else,” she said in conclusion.