Councill earns Top 40 Under 40 nod

Published 10:45 am Saturday, October 25, 2014

Meghan Councill recently was awarded a Top 40 Under 40 honor by Inside Business. -- Cain Madden | Tidewater News

Meghan Councill recently was awarded a Top 40 Under 40 honor by Inside Business. — Cain Madden | Tidewater News

One of the last questions on the application for Inside Business’s Top 40 Under 40 in Hampton Roads was, “What really gets under your skin?”

It was the hardest question for Meghan Councill, who was nominated for the award this year by the Franklin-Southampton Chamber of Commerce. And when she was able to receive the award, how she answered that question came back up.

“I don’t think negatively, so I went over this one again and again,” the 30-year-old Councill said. “I just could not answer it. Finally, I came up with a one-word answer.”

And on that night, one of the judges got up there and opened by talking about how going through the application process can be the most fun part, particularly some of the questions. The judge pointed out that one person amongst the group answered the question literally and with a sense of humor, that splinters get under her skin.

“I was like, ‘At least they are not going to call me out,’” Councill said with a laugh. “But then, when they called me up to receive my award, they said, ‘And this is the girl who put ‘Splinters.’”

Even though she was called out for her “nerdy sense of humor,” Councill said it was one of the most fun nights she’d had in a while, getting to celebrate it with her family. And that included her Chamber family.

“For the Chamber to even nominate me was awesome,” Councill said, adding that FSEDI’s Amanda Jarratt and the Village at Woods Edge’s Rhonda Stewart received it last year.

“We’ve had a good run the last two years with Amanda and Rhonda. I feel lucky to even be able to walk in their shoes.”

Councill works at Davenport & Company in downtown Franklin as a financial advisor. She’s been with the company for the past few years, after having graduated from Old Dominion University with an undergraduate degree in merchandising and graduate degrees in adult education and corporate training.

“Yeah, it doesn’t sound like it would help with what I do,” Councill said. “But in my education, I learned how to teach adults things. So, I am able to communicate well when talking to my clients, and I think that is a benefit and value to them.

“When I was in college, I wanted to do everything. But ultimately, I really just wanted to help people.”

And at Davenport, helping people invest and prepare, Councill said she is able to make a difference.

“I help people sleep better at night, as hopefully they don’t have financial concerns disturbing their beauty rest,” she said. “It is always a challenge, as it allows me to constantly learn.

“It really gives me everything I wanted, and I’m able to help people, in my own nerdy way.”

In it, she said she has found her calling, which she might have suspected from a young age.

“I’ve always been interested in the stock market,” Councill said. “When I was 5-years-old, I discovered the stock pages in The Washington Post. My father gave me a ticker for one he invested in, and I would always get the paper and give him advice.”

Councill is also heavily involved in the community. She’s the president of FUEL, the young professional’s organization, and she also serves on both the Chamber of Commerce and the United Way board.

“One of the things I love about FUEL is it lets me try new things, and I have just loved being involved in the schools, both Southampton and Franklin,” she said. “Education is a passion of mine.

“Being on the United Way board has connected me to so many amazing things in the community. There is so much going on, and I want to do it all. I just need 36 hours in the day.”

And of course, the Chamber is how it all started. She married Gillette Councill, who was a neighbor of hers in Smithfield growing up. After she finished college, they knew they wanted to come back to the Franklin-Southampton area, where his family is originally from.

“When I moved here, I didn’t know anybody,” Councill said. “So, I went to the Chamber and asked them what goes on here? Over the past 6 years, I’ve tried to get to know the community.

“Six years later, I have come to love the Franklin-Southampton community, and I don’t ever want to leave.”