(Yep, there are lots of them right now!!)
Jennifer K. Cruseturner currently serves as a Chapter 13 Standing Trustee in the Western District of Tennessee, Western Division. After an extended retirement process for George Stevenson (he never could do anything in ‘normal’ fashion!), Jennifer was appointed as Stevenson’s successor on May 1, 2023.
Jennifer graduated from Newcomb College of Tulane University in 2004 and earned her JD from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law in 2009.
She started her legal career in south Louisiana as an Assistant Indigent Defender in the 22nd Judicial District working with juveniles. This position involved a significant amount of time in a courtroom. In 2012, she and her husband of, now,14 years decided to move to Colorado. In a turn of events she couldn’t have foreseen,once in Colorado she couldn’t find a position with a public defender’s office. This is where bankruptcy entered her life. She went to work at a law firm that handled, among other things, bankruptcy work for creditors.
“Bankruptcy found me, as I never thought I’d end up in this field, although I’m very happy I landed here. Because of my experience in a courtroom, the firm handed me the bankruptcy case load. I realized how interesting the work was and decided to stick with it,” stated Jennifer when asked about how she got into bankruptcy work.
Immediately prior to her appointment as Trustee, Jennifer worked for five years as Staff Attorney for Adam M. Goodman, Chapter 13 Standing Trustee for the Districts of Colorado and Wyoming.
When asked about hobbies, Jennifer had this to say: “Having spent the last 11 years in Colorado, I love to hike in the summer and ski in the winter and I practice yoga all year long. I love cooking, wine, modern art and travel. I’m looking forward to exploring the wilds of Tennessee…and also looking forward to sampling as much Memphis BBQ as possible!”
Speaking of wine, Jennifer has a Level I (read: VERY basic/junior) sommelier certificate and hopes to advance those studies in the next few years. Among her other interests, her favorite genre of books and movies is Dystopian fiction with Margaret Atwood (A Handmaid’s Tale) being one of her favorite writers. Her favorite book is The Year of the Flood in the Maddaddam trilogy – check it out.
Jennifer and her husband Grant are ‘dog’ people although they do not currently have a fur baby (having lost their precious lab Tahoe prior to their big move to Tennessee). Now that they are settled in Memphis, they look forward to adopting a dog . . . or two.
The NACTT connected Jennifer with Beverly Burden, Chapter 13 Trustee in the Eastern District of Kentucky as her mentor. Jennifer stated: “She has been an excellent resource and has been so patient in answering all my questions on everything from payroll to budgeting to claim objections and beyond. I am also extremely fortunate to count Adam Goodman as a friend and mentor. Throughout my years working for him, he was very generous with his time and knowledge. During the application process for the trusteeship and through my appointment, he was supportive and encouraging. He has taught me more about bankruptcy than any other individual and still continues to support me in my current role. I hope one day I’ll be able to give back to other trustees a fraction of the help I’ve received from Adam and Beverly!”
Using lessons learned by being an employee, Jennifer feels the best way to set each of her staff members up for success is to make sure they know they are appreciated and that their work is important. “I want people to understand the ‘why’ behind the task they are assigned and to know how their efforts fit in with the efforts of those around them. I don’t want people to be afraid to speak up or to ask for help,” remarked Jennifer regarding her management style.
When asked what her philosophy is regarding her role as a Chapter 13 Trustee, Jennifer thoughtfully stated: “Chapter 13 provides a very specific kind of relief and I always like to say it is not the solution to every problem. It will not solve the problems of constantly and thoughtlessly living beyond one’s means, and it will not create extra cash out of thin air. However, it will provide breathing room to achieve and maintain a comfortable standard of living for those that take the time to understand the process and adjust their behavior when needed.
“I’m not afraid to be the voice of reason, the pragmatic one, I don’t mind being the one who says the thing you don’t want to hear. But I also will fight fiercely for those who are postured for success to give them every possible opportunity to make their case work. “I am honored to serve as a trustee for individuals experiencing financial distress and I want to see those that I serve succeed in navigating the Chapter 13 system.”