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Faces of Nelnet: Raina Chezem, Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions (IN, IL, MN, OH)

November 30, 2011

Raina Chezem, Midwest Regional Director (IL, IN, MN, OH)

Dawn Knight:  What is your main focus right now?  I know you’re on some projects for Nelnet; can you give me some insight on those?

Raina Chezem: My main focus is to reach out to school customers to find out how Nelnet can be a great partner for them. 

I am working on some internal training projects for our team:  borrower communication, PTD, and customer service.  I have been working with the financial literacy committee and collateral (PDF) committee.  I also help present Money Monday webinars.

Dawn: What is your favorite work-related iPad app that you can’t live without?

Raina: I just started using the iPad, so I have not gotten to the point of obsessing over a specific work-related app. 

Dawn: What do you see as the biggest challenge schools are facing right now?

Raina: There are so many challenges schools face…trying to keep school affordable, meeting student financial needs to attend, and keeping up with new regulations and policies.

Dawn: What is your best recent read or CD you’ve purchased?

Raina: With three young kids, I don’t get a change to leisurely read for myself.  I find myself collecting magazines for the next business trip, so I can read them on a plane and in my hotel room….in peace. 

Dawn: Who has been your Work / Life mentor throughout the years and why?

Raina: My parents…my dad grew up in a small town on a farm.  He was in 4-H growing up and showed livestock at the fairs.  He would auction the livestock and that is how he raised money to go to college.  He’s always worked hard and has always had a great work ethic in the way he works in  business and with people.   My mom is an amazing woman.  She grew up not having much…in fact, one Christmas she wanted a camera.  Instead of a camera, she got a flash cube…I guess it was one step closer to the camera she wanted.  Her family did end up buying a camera as a family gift.  Today she is very active…spending time with her friends and volunteering at various places to help others.  I can usually find her making things to donate to various charities.  She always thinks about others before herself. 

Dawn: What was the most recent meal you cooked that turned out awful?

Raina: Not sure what this says about me, but I don’t usually cook in my family.  My husband does the majority, if not all, of the cooking.  If it’s worth anything, I love cooking shows and cookbooks.  Usually when I try a new recipe, I tend to add more than I’m supposed to of one or two ingredients.  It’s usually an ingredient like garlic, onions, pepper…I love those things, and I think it can’t be wrong to add more of what you like…right?

Dawn Knight, Western Regional Director: AZ, WA, OR, ID, NV, CA, WY and ND

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