One of the mantras we have at Wauna Credit Union is in order to be the financial institution that members choose first, use the most, and grow with throughout their lives, we have to have the best people. Every quarter we recognize one employee as the Employee of the Quarter. Our honoree for the final quarter of 2017 is Kailynn Daum. We sat with Kailynn to find out more about her experiences at Wauna.
What is your title?
For the last year, I’ve served as a Training Specialist after spending most of my six years at Wauna as a Teller/Member Consultant out of the Saint Helens branch-with a brief excursion on the Operations team in Clatskanie. I get to use my experience from being on the front line to teach our internal members (employees) in a variety of areas to help them better serve our members. I love that Wauna is committed to education and opportunity, and that I get to be a big part of that.
What brought you to WCU?
I have been a member since I was 16 and always felt valued and taken care of as a member, so when I saw a position open for an on-call teller in the Saint Helens branch I decided to go for it. I had a few years of waitressing experience but knew nothing about the financial industry so I was a little nervous coming in. With the help of my team I quickly found my bearings and I am very fortunate to have had some great mentors over the last six years that have helped me get to where I am now.
What is your favorite thing about working here? Wauna is really committed to employees education and growth. The Credit Union really invests in its employees which in turn benefits our members, and I love that I get to be a part of that in the Training Department. It is so rewarding to see an employee grow in to their position, develop a career path and find their success.
What project has been your favorite? The training team is very project focused so it’s hard to pick just one. The thing I love the most about taking on big projects is the sense of comradery that comes with it. Thinking back on the times that we have spent countless hours practicing for a big presentation or working in to the night on our card conversion, those were the times that really brought us together as a team.
Have you ever done anything embarrassing at work? When I was working in Saint Helens branch one of our call center reps called needing some information, I forgot to place her on hold and instead just set the phone down. While I was getting the information for her my colleague and I were throwing down a very dramatic duet of Bohemian Rhapsody. When I returned to the phone I realized what I had done and tried to play it cool, but she had heard everything. She did complement our duet but I think it was only because she felt sorry for us.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Saint Helens and that is where my husband and I decided to stay. We love being outdoors so being within a couple hours drive of the river, ocean, and mountains (and family) is great.
It was an adventurous spirit, as her children like to recall, that inspired Erlene Darby to do many of the things she did throughout her 79 years of life. In 1970, it was that spirit that led Erlene and her kids on an impromptu, 3-month road-trip across the United States.
Erlene clearly loved traveling and experiencing life. But she was also was well-known for her sympathetic ear and kind heart, and she was always ready to support family, friends, and her credit union.
“I had thought of a number of words to describe her and came up with committed, caring, leadership, supportive. She mentored me both professionally and personally. And she did it from the heart. That meant a lot to me.” — Debi Smiley, Chief Marketing Officer at Wauna Credit Union.
Erlene Darby volunteered at Wauna Credit Union for over 30 years. She served in almost every capacity. From Board Chair to Board Treasurer, she did it all. Erlene watched the credit union grow and change — her adventurous spirit, a beacon, guided the credit union through ups and downs.
So, in recognition of this steadfast commitment to Wauna Credit Union, to her adventurous spirit, and to the inspiration and wonder she shared throughout her three decades with us, we are proud to announce the dedication of our Westport Learning Center to Erlene Darby.
“I think dedicating this building – the learning center for all of the future and current employees and volunteers that we’re going to have here at Wauna – to come through and to see her name and her image says a lot about what she stood for,” said George Dunkel, WCU’s Board Chair.
As a special way of celebrating Erlene, we hosted a small ceremony dedicating the “Erlene Darby Learning Center.” There, joined by Erlene’s family and friends, we shared laughs and tears.
While the mood was light, the memories and feelings were strong. The affair became a proud moment forever marked in time for not only Wauna Credit Union, but for Erlene’s family.
“What a wonderful honor it was to be included in the dedication ceremony,” said Erlene’s daughter, Melinda Puzey. “My family and I were both impressed and humbled by the dedication, and for Wauna’s regard and appreciation for my mother’s service and commitment. It made me very proud to be her daughter, and I know it would have meant so much to her.”
Her plaque, proudly displayed on the front of her learning center, reads:
Dedicated to the loving memory of Erlene Darby with appreciation of her dedication and passion for lifelong learning. She inspired us with 35 years of steadfast volunteer service.
Wauna Credit Union has had a lot of exciting things happen this year, our 50th year of serving members of the small towns surrounding the Columbia River. We’re continuing to grow (if you want to join us check out our careers page). Today we wrap up the year by hearing from the employees who celebrate their anniversary in December.
Amy Grubb – 5 years
What is your current position? My current position is Member Service Manager of the Scappoose branch. My main focus is making sure my branch runs smoothly and supporting and training my MC’s so that our members are receiving the best possible experience and helping them with their financial needs.
What is your favorite WCU memory? My favorite Wauna memory is when I was a teller in Scappoose and one of my favorite members told me his birthday is Christmas Eve and it wasn’t really celebrated much growing up, I went out and bought him a birthday cake. He was so surprised and now I buy him a cake every year for his birthday. We also had a couple members who were struggling around Thanksgiving one year and I was able to contact a local church and got them hooked up with a full turkey dinner. I loved seeing the look of relief and joy when they got their boxes full of dinner and all the fixings, they were so happy to be able to provide a nice dinner for their family.
What is something you like to do when you’re not at work? My husband and my son love to ride quads and go camping! I am also addicted to Fixer Upper and am going to Magnolias in Waco, TX in April 2018.
Ashley Erickson – 2 years
What is your current position? My current position is Accounting Clerk. I make sure all of our member’s daily financial transactions are posted correctly and balance, and pay all of the credit union’s bills.
What is your favorite WCU memory? My favorite WCU memory is the Clatskanie Branch’s remodel open house we had last year. It was great getting to meet our members as they had the chance to see all of our changes at the branch. You could tell everyone was excited about our growth and new work spaces.
What is something you like to do when you’re not at work? When I am not working I enjoy reading and coloring, going to the gym, wine, and playing tennis with my boyfriend.
Rachael Eaton – 1 year
What is your current position? I’m an Member Consultant at the Warrenton branch. I assist members with their transactions, answer questions and explain things in a straightforward way that’s easy to understand. I also help with loans and credit cards. It’s great to be able to help our members build their credit and meet their financial needs.
What is your favorite WCU memory? Just the fun we have. The way we celebrate holidays, member recognition, contests. This is truly a fun place to come to everyday.
What is something you like to do when you’re not at work? When I’m not at work I’m either reading my kindle, hanging out with my nieces, or spending time at home with my boyfriend.
Josh Rein – 1 year
What is your current position? I’m the Digital Marketing Specialist for Wauna. I make sure our members know about all the great promotions we have going on, and all the fun things we are doing in the community. I also break the fourth wall when I do the December Anniversary blog post.
What is your favorite WCU memory? My favorite memory was this year’s annual meeting. It marked a real kick-off of celebrating our 50th year of serving the community, and it was great to see actual members come and help set the direction of the credit union. It’s really what makes us different than a bank. I also got the opportunity to meet Erlene Darby who shaped Wauna more than any other person.
What is something you like to do when you’re not at work? I have an 8-year-old and a 4-year-old, so most of my time is spent with them and taking them to their various activities, and in general having fun being a dad.
Every quarter Wauna Credit Union celebrates one employee who exemplifies our mission to “Provide opportunities for our members to build their financial well-being,” and our vision to be “the financial institution that members choose first, use the most, and grow with throughout their lives.” For this quarter our Employee of the Quarter is Alex Peck. If you’re interested in becoming the next Employee of the Quarter check out our Careers Page.
What is your title?
I’m an MC 2. I’ve been a Member Consultant in our St. Helens branch since I started out at the credit union four years ago. It’s fun to look back, and see all that has changed over that time. One of the most rewarding things is I’m in the position to mentor the other MCs. Wauna is really great about letting us take on more responsibility, and being self-reliant.
It’s also fun to establish relationships with the members. We have our regulars, and over time you become part of each-other’s lives. You know about their families and what’s important to them.
What brought you here? I used to work at the Dockside in St. Helens. Sara, who used to be the Member Services Manager here, and now leads our training team, would come in occasionally. I must have made an impression because she encouraged me to apply.
What is your favorite thing about working here? There’s so much to like about working at Wauna. I love helping people, and really feel like I’m making a difference. One of my favorite things is how my coworkers and members feel like family. A credit union really is different than a bank. We’re not here to get people in and out, or make as much money as we can, but instead we want to help people. Wauna Credit Union’s Vision is to be the financial institution that members choose first, use the most, and grow with throughout their lives, and I get to be a big part of that.
What project has been your favorite?
My favorite project isn’t one project, but it’s any time we all get together. Whether it’s training, or a holiday party, or something else, it’s a lot of fun to get together with my colleagues and get to know them better.
Where did you grow up/Why did you move to St. Helens?
I am from Helena, MT. I moved to Portland to finish school, and gradually worked my way north. Helena is a smaller town, and I’m a lot happier working and living in a smaller town. There’s still a lot to do, especially if you like the outdoors, and people know each other instead of being strangers.
Wauna Credit Union believes in giving back. Each year we pick a charity to focus our donations on – although we do support other charities as well throughout the year.
This year we chose to focus on Backpack Programs. Many children rely on free lunches, and don’t have access to food when not at school. These services provide easy to prepare food for school-aged children for the weekend.
$6 provides food for one child for one weekend
$24 provides food for one child for one month
$216 provides food for one child for the entire school year
In the spirit of holiday giving those who donate $5 will be entered to win their choice of either a Coca-Cola gift basket or a local Clatskanie gift basket. Both winners will be drawn on December 18th.
Those who donate $10 can instead choose to be entered to win 4 tickets to the January 7th Trail Blazers game against the San Antonio Spurs. The winner of this basket will be drawn on December 21st.
Members and non-members can contribute in person at any of the credit union’s branches in Astoria, Warrenton, Clatskanie, Vernonia, St. Helens and Scappoose, as well as the Mortgage Origination Office in Long Beach. Members can call the Wauna Credit Union Communication Center at 1-800-773-3236.
#1 Coca-Cola Basket: Valued at over $140, this basket was generously donated by Colvin’s Pub and Grill. It includes; 1- party drink tub ($40), 1 ice bucket ($30), I snack tray ($15), 1 straw holder ($10), one lunch box ($40), 1 tin bank ($10), 1 wreath.
For every $5 donated to the backpack program you will be entered to win.
#2 Portland Trail Blazers vs the San Antonio Spurs drawing: This drawing will be held on December 21st. All entries must be received by December 20th. This drawing is for 4- Portland Trail Blazers vs the San Antonio Spurs tickets. The game will be held on Sunday, January 7th at the Moda Center in Portland at 6 pm.
For every $10 you donate to the backpack program you will be entered to win.
#3 Local Clatskanie gift basket:
All items in this basket have been donated from local Clatskanie businesses. All money raised for this basket will go to the Clatskanie Back Pack program.
For every $5 donated to the backpack program you will be entered to win this AMAZING gift basket.
Thanks to our local Clatskanie businesses.
30-day membership and 1 free training session
Clatskanie Builder’s Supply
$25 Gift Card
Conestoga Pub and Grill
$25 Gift Certificate
Cora Bee Naturals
Cora Bee Products
Discounts and Deals
Labrador retriever clock ($14.50)
Coffee Mug and $5 Gift Card
$20 Gift Card
$25 Gift Card
Gun & Boot & Gear
$50 Gift Card
John’s Auto Detailing
Full Window tinting ($250 Value)
Katon Kids Custom Bird Houses and Crafts
Essential Oil Diffuser Bracelet and Necklace ($45 Value)
Wauna Credit Union is growing fast (if you want to join us check out our careers page). The main reason for that is the great service our amazing employees provide our members. Employees celebrating anniversaries this month like to get out and about, and explore their world.
Brianna Malcolm – 11 years What is your current position? I am a Communication Center Representative III in the WCU Communication Center. The Communication Center serves as a virtual branch. We answer all of the phone calls for seven branches and help our members who call with any of their financial needs. Even though we don’t see the people we help, we have our regular members who we recognize by voice. It’s great to help members from all over.
What is your favorite WCU memory? That happens every year. It’s being able to get together with everyone from all of our branches. Since we only talk to everyone on the phone I love getting together with everyone for training, Christmas parties or anything else we get together for. We are at work more than we are at home so everyone is considered our Wauna Work Family.
What is something you like to do when you’re not at work? My favorite thing to do outside of work is spend time with my family. We have a four-year-old daughter who is absolutely amazing and I love watching her grow and learn! We love to go camping and spending time outdoors.
Michael Woods – 6 Years What is your current position? I am a mortgage member consultant. I usually work out of our Mortgage Origination Office in Long Beach, but I am currently filling in working with our Warrenton members.
What is your favorite WCU memory? One of my favorite memories was when I was a member of the Lending Admin team. I helped a member get a loan. I was just doing what I felt was right, but he was so appreciative, and to this day he always thanks me, and shakes my hand, no matter where we are, or who we are with. It’s actually what inspired me to join the Mortgage Team. Just to think I could impact somebody’s life so much really gives my work purpose. You’re forever linked to your members, because you helped them get their home. It’s a great feeling, and one that I get to experience over and over.
What is something you like to do when you’re not at work? When I am not at work, I like to spend time with my almost three-year-old daughter. It’s amazing to watch her grow up. I also enjoy playing cards, and watching sports. I am a die-hard New York Yankee and Dallas Cowboys fan. (Editor’s note, the views of our employees on the November Anniversary Post do not represent the views of the credit union. We cannot condone rooting for these two teams.)
Alex Peck– 4 Years What is your current position? I am an MC in the St. Helens branch. I really enjoy my job. I have grown fond of the relationships that I’ve formed with my members. It is great to see a member you’ve developed a friendship with over the years walk in the door.
What is your favorite WCU memory? I loved the opportunity to volunteer a couple of years ago for the Columbia Humane Society Denim and Diamonds fundraiser. Wauna was sponsoring the Humane Society that year. The team I was on got to stage the event in the pavilion at the Columbia County Fairgrounds.
What is something you like to do when you’re not at work? I love to travel and explore the Pacific Northwest. Whether it be a quick trip out to the coast or a road trip up to Seattle or head south to Northern California.
Mark Crandall – 2 Years What is your current position? I’m a mortgage loan specialist. My job is to assist members with all of their home mortgage needs. It can be anything to helping a member purchase their first home, borrowing equity to do home improvements or lowering their payments to improve their cash flow.
What is your favorite WCU memory? My favorite memory is helping a couple purchase their dream home on the Columbia River. They had a challenge with another lender before they came to us for help. We were able to work together and come up with a solution to get them qualified and make their dream a reality.
What is something you like to do when you’re not at work? If I am not at work, I am with my wife. We enjoy spending time with our family, horseback riding and landscaping.
Jeremy Grover – 2 Years What is your current position? I currently am a Training Specialist II at our wonderful Learning Center in Westport. I assist new hires to learn our mission and vision statements and explain how they impact everything we do. I also help current internal members learn our lending philosophies that help all to build their financial well-being. Continued training helps make our credit union the finest to not only work at, but to do business with.
What is your favorite WCU memory? My favorite memory doesn’t come from being an employee, but from being a member. I grew up in Clatskanie and my parents had been members for as long as I can remember. When I turned 18, I had big plans to purchase my dream car from my parents (1969 Dodge Charger R/T). To my surprise, I wasn’t laughed at or criticized for my non practical choice in a first car,
but shown respect and dignity and soon after I was cruising Clatskanie with the car of my dreams! That experience has stuck with me and has shown me the importance of treating people with respect and never judge a book by its cover and has lead me down a long history of lending with Wauna and encouraged me to apply so I could have that same impact on other members that may be starting out like I did so many years ago. Two Goals met, I have a great career with Wauna and I still have my dream car.
What is something you like to do when you’re not at work?
Anything that involves spending time with my family. My Dad taught me the importance of taking time to just hang out and enjoy every experience that your wife and children get to enjoy together. I have never heard anyone say “I wish I didn’t spend all that time with my family”
This Thanksgiving as we gather around a table, to join with our friends and family the holiday season really starts to kick into gear. While Wauna Credit Union is closed today so that our member-employees can spend time with their families, we also wanted to extend a thanks to our members.
This season isn’t just about the food at the table, or the football on TV. It’s a time to reflect on our lives and what we are truly thankful for. This is just as important for a business as it is for individuals, so we wanted to take some time to write down what it is that we are all thankful for here at WCU.
First and foremost, thanks to our members. Without our members, we would not exist. We thank each and every one of you, from those who have been a member for all 50 years, to those who just joined yesterday.
Thanks to the communities we serve. One of the things that makes us special is we live within our communities. We get to see the daily impact the credit union has, but we also get to know our members and future members as friends.
Thanks to the future. You may have heard we announced we’re opening up a branch in Forest Grove, but we also see tons of future in our current communities as well. We know the only way the credit union will grow is by continuing to provide the best products and services.
We hope your holiday is filled with laughter and love this year! We welcome you to come visit us tomorrow as you get ready for your holiday shopping, and remember Triple Rewards Points start today through the 27th.
We’re also celebrating Shop Local with Columbia County Keep It Local, so come on by and support local businesses.
The National Retail Association reports that 164 million Americans will go shopping this Thanksgiving week, including on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and on Small Business Saturday and Sunday. All in all, the average consumer is expected to spend $967 this year.
So, whether you brave the mall, keep it local, or get caught up in the online shopping frenzy this holiday season, it’s important that you keep yourself safe from the bad guys out there.
Here are a few tips and tricks to help!
How much are you shelling out to spread that holiday cheer? Wauna Credit Union wants you to find that perfect gift, without spending yourself silly. Here are some simple guidelines:
Make a list of people you want to buy gifts for and stick to it.
Set a budget limit. As they say, “It’s the thought that counts.”
Use the best credit card. As a not-for-profit cooperative, we can offer lower interest rates on credit cards than many profit-driven financial services providers.
Protect your credit cards
As a smart consumer, you can shop with confidence this holiday season. But be weary of fraudsters and scams that are all too prevalent.
Keep a list of all your account numbers in a safe place, just in case you need to report it if one is lost or stolen.
At the cash register, protect your PIN by blocking the keypad from view of others. We suggest resting your fingers on other keys as you enter your PIN.
Do not use public wireless networks for online purchases.
Use our online account monitoring service and immediately report any suspicious activity to us.
Shop on sites with https:// in the URL, and be sure that an icon with a lock appears to the left. The “s” stands for “secure” and indicates communication with that site is encrypted.
Type the merchant’s address directly into your browser; avoid links.
Use complicated passwords with at least eight characters. Include numbers, special characters, and upper and lower-case numbers.
In addition, keep the antivirus and security software updated on your computers and mobile devices.
We also recommend that you don’t store your payment information on shopping sites or shopping apps.
Finally, take a look at our guide concerning the Equifax breach as well. You can view it here.
Don’t let the Grinch steal the whole season either. When you go shopping, park in well-lit areas. Walk to and from the stores with your head up and be watchful. Thugs look for people who are not paying attention. Keep your keys in your hand so you can hit the panic alarm if you need to. Unfortunately, ‘tis the season for pickpockets, too. Probably a good idea to keep wallets in zipped purses and front pockets.
Compare Online Deals
What a wonderful time-saver online shopping is! We know a lot of sites will claim to have great deals, particularly on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but they may not have the lowest price. If you find something you like, do a little comparison shopping by using sites such as Google Shopping or Pricewatch.com.
Give Yourself a Gift
Invest in “you” this holiday season because hey, you deserve it. Open a new savings account, take financial education classes, or look for low interest loans to help you achieve your financial dreams this coming year. Come see us or visit us online for all of those dreamy possibilities.
I know it’s a bit early to start thinking about decking the halls, and planning holiday dinners, but as the calendar turns to November, well at least as the date on your smartphone says November, and the weather begins to cool, it’s time to admit that the holiday season is upon us. At Wauna Credit Union, we want to be the first to give you a gift. That’s why in November and December, all purchases on your Wauna Credit Union Visa Reward Credit Card will earn Double Rewards Points. In fact to make it even sweeter, when you make purchases November 23-27 and on December 24 will earn Triple Rewards Points!*
The Not For Us There’s an almost unlimited amount of items available. Please get whatever you want. We however will probably not get the cordless ear vacuum.
*VISA Rewards Credit Cardholders will earn Double Rewards Points for purchases during Nov. & Dec. 2017. They earn Triple Rewards Points for purchases conducted Nov. 23-27 & Dec. 24, 2017. Rewards Points are not transferable. Membership with Wauna Credit Union is required. This special offer ends Dec. 31, 2017.
10 Years, 10 Questions with Wauna Credit Union CEO and President, Robert Blumberg…
We are all about taking care of our members and improving their financial well-being. – Robert Blumberg
Hailing from South Africa, he has lived and worked in California, but calls Oregon home. He’s a family man. He’s a numbers man. He loves traveling, being outdoors, good food, and the Credit Union spirit. His financial background boasts top-roles with Southern Pacific Bank, First Bank of Beverly Hills, and as a matter of fact, Maps Credit Union here in Oregon.
But 2007 was the year when Mr. Robert Blumberg joined the Wauna Credit Union team, taking the helm as our President and CEO. And while it’s true that many “waun-derful” things are occurring under Robert’s guidance, here are just a few noteworthy examples from the past ten years:
Two branches were opened in 2010. The first, being an in-store branch at the Astoria Safeway in July, and the second, a new Scappoose Branch in November.
Recognizing construction in accordance with energy-efficient building materials & practices, the Scappoose Branch was awarded LEED Certification at the Silver level in August of 2011.
Our beautiful, new Warrenton Branch (near Costco) was opened during mid-Spring of 2013.
The opening of a new Branch along Hwy 30 took place in St Helens in 2014.
In November of 2016, a Mortgage Origination Office was opened in Long Beach, WA.
Wauna Credit Union was granted a charter expansion to include Washington County in June of 2016.
Also, our first Interactive Teller Machine was implemented in Long Beach, WA in November of 2016.
And how could we forget the numbers? Let’s take a look at a then and now:
In 2007 our membership was at 14,083. In contrast, we are now at 24,728 — a 75.58% growth!
When Robert started, our assets were at $104.6 million. Today, we are at $234.6 million — a 124.28% growth!
Ten years ago we had 5 financial centers and 58 employees at Wauna Credit Union. Today, we have 8 financial centers and employ 105!
Of course, these lists barely scratch the surface; however, they are valid indicators of the innovation and growth that Robert has brought to Wauna Credit Union. And while we are certainly looking forward to another awesome ten years, let’s pause for a minute, and take a closer look at Robert’s life:
1. Growing up, who was the most influential person in your life? My father.
2. Speaking of influence, how about musically? What was your favorite album as a teenager? Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon.
3. We all start somewhere. What was your very first job? RM Pharmaceuticals – They made Vicks and Oil of Olay products.
4. And what year did you first enter the financial industry? I got my start in 1982.
5. 1982 is a world away from where you are today. Where exactly did you get your start? I started working for a company called Century Thrift and Loan. When I started working there in the accounting department I did not even have a title.
6. Speaking of history, if you could meet anyone particularly, who would it be? The person I would love to meet is Alan Greenspan.
7. All things considered, what would you like to talk about? Having a conversation as to what he thinks went wrong during the last great recession in 2009. He believes in the free market and the free market will be self-policing.
8. What is your greatest hope for the Credit Union industry, presently? Continuing to grow in market share. We are all about taking care of our members and improving their financial well-being. It is important that the insurance agency remains independent from the banks. It would be a big mistake to merge the NCUA and FDIC.
9. indeed. We talk a lot about “People Helping People” in Credit Union philosophy, but we certainly also aim to please. Altogether, what would you say is your definition of “happiness”? You should ideally be taking an action every day to bring you one step closer to achieving of your goals. Of course, meeting my personal and professional goals gives me deep satisfaction.
10. Many awesome things have taken place under your leadership, but what accomplishment at Wauna Credit Union are you most proud of? Building an amazing team that has taken Wauna to new heights. In fact, emphasizing each team member’s contribution and demonstrating how all of their jobs operate together to move the entire team closer to its goal are very important to me.
Without a doubt, Robert believes in our members. He believes in our staff. He believes in the movement.
To sum up, reaching future goals is an exciting prospect. We thank you, Robert, for bringing us this far! From all of us at Wauna Credit Union, it’s an honor and specifically a privilege to have such a waun-derful CEO.