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Business Leaders Jacky Akbari, Charles Sueing and Julie Lilliston Join Board of Directors

NASHVILLE, Tenn., – January 24, 2022 – The nation’s oldest continuously operating African American owned and operated bank, Citizens Savings Bank and Trust Company, announces it has appointed three Nashville business and community leaders to its board of directors: Jacky Akbari, Founder and Managing Principal, Worthington Advisory; Charles Sueing, President, Sueing Insurance Agency, Inc.; and Julie Lilliston, Founder and President, Julie Lilliston Communications. The bank recently celebrated 118 years in business on January 16th.

“We’re delighted to welcome three influential Nashville business leaders to our board of directors,” says Sergio Ora, CEO, Citizens Savings Bank and Trust Company. “They bring diverse talents and leadership experience serving the community. We look forward to collaborating on a new strategic direction for the bank to reach our goals.”

Akbari is a global workforce engagement strategist with more than 20 years of experience in economic development. Her strategic consultation resulted in successful relocation projects with dozens of major employers in Middle Tennessee. She has received many honors including Nashville Business Journal’s Power 100 (three years in a row) and Woman of Influence, YWCA Academy of Women of Achievement, TSU Women of Legend and Merit and Nashville Post’s Most Powerful Women. Akbari is a graduate of The Ohio State University and UCLA Business Certification in Workforce Diversity. She has served on community boards including YMCA of Middle Tennessee,, Downtown Nashville Rotary Board and Maddox Charitable Foundation. She is an active member of Leadership Nashville Alumni Association and Leadership Tennessee.

Sueing has nearly 30 years of experience in the insurance and financial services industry as a full services independent agency. He is active in business and community organizations and has served on numerous boards including Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee, Teach for America, Center for Nonprofit Management and Middle Tennessee Council of Boy Scouts. He received the Spirit of the Chamber Award from the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce for leading Small Business Initiatives. His firm was recognized as a Top 300 Small Business of the South and he was named 100 Leading African-Americans by Sueing is a member of the Downtown Rotary Club of Nashville and Leadership Nashville Alumni Association. He earned his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga.

Lilliston has 25 years of experience in public relations helping businesses and nonprofits enhance their reputation, build their brand and grow market share. Her firm ranks as a Top 15 Public Relations Agencies in Nashville by UpCity. She is a member of the PRSA’s Counselors Academy and served on community boards including the National Association of Women Business Owners, Nashville Chapter; Dismas House; and the GrowingTogether Women’s Committee of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. She is a recipient of the Nashville Business Journal’s Women of Influence award and an ATHENA Award nominee. She serves on the Women’s Enterprise Forum with WBENC and is an alumni of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from The College of Wooster in Ohio.

Richard Manson, Chairman of the Board, Citizens Savings Bank and Trust Company adds, “These new board members represent the bank’s intention to broaden our community involvement and bring in expertise that will allow us to respond to the needs of the entire Nashville community.”

As a purpose driven bank based in North Nashville with a presence in Memphis, Citizens Bank finished 2021 with $134 million in total assets and $118 million in total deposits. The bank generated $45 million in new loan production—a new annual record for the bank. The bank financed $15 million in development projects in the heart of its home market, the 37208 zip code area in North Nashville, paving the way for additional community investment in the future.

About Citizens Savings Bank and Trust Company
Founded in 1904, Citizens Savings Bank and Trust Company is the first Minority Depository Institution (MDI) established in Tennessee and the oldest continuously operating African American owned bank in the United States. It is a privately-owned company with approximately $135 million in assets. The bank is a Certified Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and is dedicated to expanding economic opportunity to underserved communities by providing access to financial products and services to individuals and businesses. Learn more at

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