Not the Chief of Kisses and Hugs: CXO, John Moore celebrates 5 years at Wauna Credit Union

Some leaders just have it…

…that spark you can’t help but feel drawn to…their charisma, challenging nature, or their ease in guiding the ship. This Wauna Credit Union leader comes from what us Credit Union-ers call the “Dark Side”, having spent the bulk of his early career in big banks. But it’s hard to shun such a past when with it comes a myriad of great ideas, experiences, and what-not-to-dos that have not only embraced our Wauna culture, but have inspired many to be greater.

And so today we celebrate our CXO, John Moore, because today marks fives years he has spent with us here at Wauna Credit Union. And to give you a better idea of who the man is behind the title, we posed a few queries to Mr. Moore to learn just a little bit more about who he is and what makes him tick.

What is your current position?

John hoisting up a Branch Achievement Eagle Trophy

CXO, which stands for “Chief Experience Officer” and not the Chief of Kisses and Hugs — although I do value all of our members and want them all to know how we are appreciative and honored to be entrusted as their consultants. More specifically, I Provide help and support to training, lending, and all WCU branches. This ensures our focus is on creating life experiences for our members with every interaction we have.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?

Coming from a 20+ year career in banking, I thought that credit unions did the little loans and small savings accounts. Also, I had no idea that WCU is a full-service financial provider. I am glad I didn’t know what I didn’t know prior to coming here or I would have felt intimidated competing against WCU. This credit union has the best Residential, Commercial, and Consumer loan products on the market. A bank cannot come close to delivering a service promise like we do. We tailor our lending and deposit products to meet what our membership asks for. Also, we survey our membership and always put their needs first…that is why we are here. I now truly understand what being “member-owned” means.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?  

I would love to write a book. Something in the horror genre, but nothing involving clowns as I don’t want to be afraid of my own work.

John and his daughter, Emma, giving the “Wauna Strong” post in front of his new rig

We hear you’re quite a fan of Star Wars. See if you can answer some trivia: In real life, this material made up of made of nitrobenzene, saltpeter, sulfur, and diatomaceous earth would have caused Bespin to explode. What do you call this substance?

Actually, it’s part of my New Employee Orientation presentation. I tell new employees that I will never leave or retire from WCU but will actually be encased in a block of Carbonite.  Oh, and Han not only shot first, but was the only one to fire his weapon.

Is it better to be extraordinary and always late, or just OK and always on time? 

Well, as the CXO, I would like to say be on time and be extraordinary. But if these are my choices then definitely get more beauty rest to be that much more extraordinary.

There you have it.

He loves Star Wars, is a member-oriented leader, and cares about his staff and the credit union movement. Thank you for a “Waunderful” 5 years, John! We are glad you came over to Wauna Credit Union from the Dark Side! We also look forward to freezing you in Carbonite and placing you in our headquarters’ lobby.

Three Decades of Awesome – Chief Marketing Officer, Debi Smiley

In 1988, Microsoft released Windows 2.1. George HW Bush beat out Michael Dukakis for the presidency. 1988 was the year of RainmanComing to AmericaDie HardBeetlejuice, and A Fish Called Wanda. The Redskins won Super Bowl XXII and Bobby McFerrin told us, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” This was a special year for many reasons, but more-so to us because it’s also when Debi Smiley came to work for Wauna Credit Union in Clatskanie, OR.

“Clatskanie” comes from the Native American word, Tlatskani, which was given to a point in the Nehalem River, reached via the Columbia by way of the Clatskanie River…or so the story goes.

Many of Clatskanie’s 1,800 residents are of Nordic heritage, which includes Debi’s family, who immigrated to Clatskanie from Finland. Debi is a 4th generation Quincy-area resident (just outside of Clatskanie).

And today we celebrate 30 years with Debi in our ranks. She’s done it all, from teller to chief. So, with a few questions, let’s take a deeper into who Debi is, who her heroes are, and how we can grow to be as successful as she.

First, the pedigree information that makes you YOU:

  • Husband, Greg (together 20 years, married 18 years this July)
  • Daughter, Liz (Elizabeth, but goes by ‘Liz’)
  • Son-in-law, Chris Cowen, Oregon State Police Officer
  • Grandson – Brayden, 14 and step-granddaughter, Alexa who is 11
  • 1 cat, PV (piss & vinegar) – and we recently were adopted by another cat – ‘Kitty Girl’ is what I have been calling her
  • Oldest of 4 – two sisters and one brother)

There is no question you have learned many lessons, had thousands of great ideas, and made countless friends in your time here with Wauna Credit Union. Through everything you have experienced, what is one thing you have come to truly love about the Credit Union?

I still truly love that we continue to be people helping people. After 30 years, that mission remains the same, solid force that it was when the credit union started.  This is why I have continued to work hard to do what ‘I’ can to serve the members of the credit union and community in as many capacities as doable.

As Chief Marketing Officer, you are constantly coming up with  new and creative ways to showcase Wauna Credit Union. What is one piece of marketing advice you would give to new businesses that are just getting started in the area?

Join the Chamber, Kiwanais, Turning Point, Keep it Local, etc.  You learn a lot about the community you are serving. This allows you to market your business as well as evolve it to meeting the needs of the residents you serve.

A lot of people look up to you here at Wauna. But is there someone you look up to? Do you have a role model and if so who is it and why?

I have had a number of role models throughout my years. They have come in the form of sports coaches, teachers, supervisors, etc.  Each of them taught me life lessons, provided growth, and guided me to a better me. It is difficult to choose only one. Though the one I served under the longest was retired CEO Eileen Cheuvront. Under her leadership, I learned to “stay focused, work hard, and have fun”. That was her motto and she shared it often. Eileen led by example. She was a compassionate leader that believed in the credit union, what we stood for and the high quality of service we were to render. She was a caring and supportive leader and I feel privileged to have worked under her leadership and guidance.

  1. You are already pretty super, but if you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

I would like to have Super Speed to get things done quicker so I can have more family time and healing Power to help those who desperately need it.

There you have it.

Wauna Credit Union has waxed and waned in many different directions since its charter way back in 1967. But while our look and our products and services may change, our values and beliefs will not. Because it is an undying commitment to our members that sets us apart from other financial institutions. This is the eternal flame that keeps us bright. And it is employees like Debi Smiley that keep that fire burning.

Thank you for 30 years, Debi and we look forward to many more to come!

April Anniversaries

Wauna Credit Union has been serving members of the towns and cities surrounding the Columbia River for 51 years. We’re continuing to grow (if you want to join us check out our careers page). No foolin, today we highlight employees who celebrated anniversaries in April.

Heather Dixson – 5 years
What is your current position?
I just started as a Real Estate Loan Processor. I work with our RELOs (Real Estate Loan Officers) to gather all the information we need to get our members their mortgages, and get the loans Good to Go! – assist the Real Estate Loan Officers with processing mortgage loans.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Working here taught me to under promise and over deliver. Not only is this something I do during the day at the credit union, but something I’ve implemented into my daily life.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be? 
Heather as Darth Vadar
Heather always brings fun to work

I’d love to start making stained glass. I like creating things, I think it would be cool to have the resources to add a unique characteristic to a home or building.

What brought you to WCU?
I was new to the area from Alaska, and was looking for an experience that would help me build a career. I found Wauna Credit Union, and I couldn’t be more happy.

What is your favorite thing about working here?
My favorite thing about the credit union is my Wauna family! I’ve met so many amazing people in my five years here, and I know I’m going to meet so many more over the next 5 years.

Christmas Card
Heather has made life-long friends at WCU

Have you ever done anything embarrassing at work?
When saying goodbye to a member I told him that I loved him. Since then, every time he comes into the branch he greets me with “hi honey!”

Ashleigh Sibley – 2 years
What is your current position?
My current title is Communication Center Member Consultant II. My role has changed recently as I have jumped into the world of loans. If a member calls, chats, or emails in about anything I will be one of the lucky ones to assist them.

Ashleigh and her family
Family Comes First for Ashleigh

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Wauna has taught me to venture out of my comfort zone. I have learned to dig deeper and uncover needs that may not have been vocalized. Wauna has allowed me to embrace the true meaning of people helping people and offer intuitive service to our fabulous members.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
I could choose a new hobby it would definitely be travel. I moved from the East Coast to the West Coast but there is still so much I have yet to see!

 

Others

  • Jeff Parker – 12 Years
  • Marci Szlavich – 2 Years
  • Charles Dennis – 1 Year

March Anniversaries

Wauna Credit Union is kicking off our 51st year of serving members of the towns and cities surrounding the Columbia River. We’re continuing to grow (if you want to join us check out our careers page). Today we highlight the March anniversary employees, who always put a spring in our step.

If you missed it, earlier this month we celebrated the 10-year anniversary of our CFO David Merrell. Read more about David here.

Norm Dufton – 8 years
What is your current position?
My position is VP of Consumer Lending. I supervise the administration of car loans, credit cards, lines of credit, underwriting, and all administrative tasks. I work with dealers, underwriters, and the Leadership Team to get our direction and make it happen! One of the great things about Wauna Credit Union is we look for ways to make loans happen, instead of trying to find reasons to not fund people. Most recently I have been working with a lot of our front line staff to help them learn about lending and sales. Really many of the things I am teaching are for personal as well as professional development.

Norm chess. Not a link
Norm playing chess in Times Square against a hustler. He won.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?

Norm with Bigfoot not a link
Norm sizing up the competition

Prior to moving to the coast to work, I lived in urban areas all of my life. Living and playing in a rural area has taught me a lot about diversity. When I work with people that own farms, or earn extra money by fishing or are married to a logger I get a better feel for how many people live. My mind expands.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be? 

I would like to fish in Alaska. I have learned since I moved here how untouched many of the areas are in relation to where we live today.

Amanda Wehrley-Hazen – 1 year

What is your current position?
I started out as an Ops Support Clerk and transferred to EFT Clerk when the position became available. As the EFT Clerk, I process all of our ACH (Automatic Clearing House) files, Share Draft Files, Mobile Deposits, Returned Check Processing, Domestic Wire Set Up and International Wire review and approval, as well as ACH Form set up. I am also one of the responders to the Ops Support hotline.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Being a member of the Wauna team has taught me a truer meaning of teamwork. As a natural Supporter personality type I really enjoy being involved in a working team atmosphere. I feel like I have learned so much about myself over the last year in regards to our TMA training and communicating and responding to not only internal and external members, but to my daughter and son. (I even recognize that my dogs have different personality types and try to communicate with them accordingly).

Street scene, not a link
Amanda loves to spend time behind the camera

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be? 
I don’t think I would choose a new hobby. Instead, I would focus on photography. I used to take pictures daily in my other work, but I have never had the spare time to actually study photography and take the time to learn all about every aspect of what, for instance, all the settings on a camera can do for the artistic presence of a portrait. So I would take a class, actually read my instruction book for my camera, and spend my weekends travelling to take nature photos.

Nichole Klopp – 1 year

What is your current position?
I am a Communication Center Member Consultant in the WCU Virtual Branch in Astoria. My primary role is to assist members over the phone and create ‘WOW’ moments. Daily I use Wauna’s core values along with TMA, a program we all use to make sure we are always assisting our members.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Working at Wauna Credit Union, I have been given access to this amazing program called TMA (The Member Advantage). TMA has helped me develop not only at Wauna or my second job at the theatre (free movies are an amazing bonus), but also with my personal life. We all have different ways we like to communicate, and TMA teaches you how to identify and effectively communicate with different behavior styles.

Nichole taking a selfie. Not a link
Nichole never forgets to take the time to enjoy our region

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
A hobby I will hopefully take on will be to rebuild a gas motor. I would love to finally get my 98 Civic running again.

Nik Nurkowski – 1 year

What is your current position?
I’m a Virtual Teller operating our Interactive Teller Machines (ITM). The ITMs are a pioneering technological venue for Wauna. I offer the same services as a teller, although we call them Member Consultants, but through a video screen at a drive-up or kiosk machine that looks identical to an ATM. In fact, they work as ATMs as well. It’s quite a delight and very exciting to be operating on the cutting edge of our modernization as a credit union, and it’s truly wondrous to see young and not-as-young experience the future.

Picture of Nik. Not a link.
Nik partaking in an adventure on the beach

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Working here I’ve learned a tremendous amount about credit and financial systems as a whole. Which has been quite a boon to me as I was always raised with a fear of credit cards and debt. At WCU, I’ve learned that too much debt is certainly important to avoid; but building ones credit worthiness through sound financial practices isn’t as daunting. This understanding is now providing me the blueprint to better my family’s financial security and achieve goals we previously thought unattainable.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be? 
Would that I had no other responsibilities, I’d launch myself into a trade very near and dear to my heart; I’d build a smithy. I’ve loved blacksmithing and metalworking all my life, and was allowed to practice the craft through some of my high school years. I’d delight in being able to pick up the hammer once more and forge steel in earnest.

Sarah Bilyeu – 1 year

What is your current position?
I work at the Communications Center as a virtual teller on our new Interactive Teller Machine s (ITMs). I do transactions for our lovely members when they drive up in Clatskanie and Long Beach, and soon other branches as well. Now that people are getting used to us it is a delight to have the opportunity to build rapport and see their happy faces daily. I am also trained to be in our call center and assist members over the phones as well.

Sarah and her kids not a link
Sarah loves spending time with her family

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
I’ve learned a lot so far here at WFCU but something that I’m very happy to have learned so much about is loans, how credit works, and how all of that plays a part in building a person’s thriving financial well-being. Its helped me become a lot less fearful of my own personal credit choices and opportunities and also gave me confidence in helping members out with their best options here.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be? 
If I could choose any hobby at all with money not being a factor I would love to just travel all over the world and discover beautiful places with my family and learn all about different cultures.

Others

  • Janice Hanes – 13 Years

2016 Anniversaries

There are a lot of great things about Wauna Credit Union’s employees. One of them is that they are all members too. Another, is that they like working here so much they stay a long time. We caught up with some of the people who had anniversaries in 2016 to find out who they are, and what they like to do.

10 Years

Brianna Malcom

What is your position at WCU? I am a communications center representative III. We answer phones, give balances, help with online banking, take loan applications, take payments, do transfers, help you find the closest shared branching to members, process the returned mail, process verifications for businesses regarding our members accounts, and much more. I started out as a teller, then went to vault teller, then head teller, then new account specialist, then I moved in to the communication center which by far has been my favorite position of all since we do a little bit of everything so every day is different and you never know what to expect.

What do you like most about your job at WCU? How Wauna credit union employees are like family. We are a close knit group of individuals who all love our job. I also love being able to help our community with their personal/business financial institution needs.

What is your favorite memory or testimonial of providing great service to a member? We have a few regular members that call in at least once a day if not more. I have a few instances that I love… I don’t really have one that just stands out to me. We help them with Transfers, getting their balances, inquiries regarding transactions on the account, and some of them just like to chat with us. See how everything is going, how our day is, how the weather is, what plans we have this weekend. I have one specific member who loves to talk to me and she will call in and ask to only speak with me.

5 Years

Kailynn Fischer

What is your current position? I am the Operation Specialist for the Credit Union. As the Operation Specialist, I offer support to all of our front line staff when they have questions or need help. I manage our escrow accounts, audit new accounts, process garnishments, subpoenas and levies and assist with projects such as conversions and rolling out new products and services. I also give second approval for the EFT Clerk and back up Card Services.

What do you like most about your job? The thing I enjoy most about my job at Wauna CU is the sense of accomplishment I feel when I go home at the end of the day. I enjoy taking the lead on projects and seeing them through to completion. And I love being able to help our front line staff offer exceptional member service.

What is your favorite memory of working at WCU? One of my favorite memories from the past five years is helping an elderly gentleman who was a long-time member get a loan for a new battery for his scooter. He was unable to get around without the use of a scooter and had become house bound, and being on a fixed income he was unable to pay cash for a new one. The member’s ratios did not fit our lending guidelines, but after hearing our member’s story Norm, our VP of Consumer Lending, made the exception to approve the loan without hesitation. I drove to the member’s apartment to have him sign the paperwork and after getting the loan disbursed I went and picked up the battery and delivered it to his home to be installed. He was back on the road and was so appreciative of what Wauna had done for him.

Michael Woods

What is your current position? My current position is Lending Support Specialist I (LSSI). Some of my primary duties are underwriting loans, working and maintaining relationships with the dealerships,  assisting the mortgage department, funding loan packets, assisting the branches with their loans and occasionally assisting collections.

What do you like most about your job? I most like the learning that I have experience.  I have learned so much and I believe it has developed me into being a more complete employee. The position I am in has a lot of variety and each situation is unique so it keeps things very interesting.

What is your favorite memory of working at WCU? I enjoy helping any member, anytime, anyplace, but I do have a favorite. There was a member who was having a rough time. He was expecting his seventh child and he had just purchased a van from California. The seller misled him about licensing and title work and he needed to get the issue resolved quickly. I was currently working on an Auto Answers deal and was going to be visiting the that day. I called my contact at the DMV and explained the situation and she told me everything I needed to do to help the member. After getting the necessary documents prepared I called the member and told him to meet me at DMV. After a long wait at the DMV he got everything he needed and left. He then called the communication center and asked to speak with the manager. He explained everything I did and asked that the message be passed on to my supervisor. I still see him around town and he always thanks me and shakes my hand.

Sara Kulp

What is your current position? My current position here at Wauna is the training Manager. I just recently made the switch over from the MSM position. I’m looking forward to my new adventures after spending some time in the branches.

What do you like most about your job? For the MSM I loved the fact that each day was different and crazy busy. I loved the challenges of the day, helping the members grow and work alongside an amazing team.

What is your favorite memory of working at WCU? My favorite memory of great service happened to be with a long member. He came in and was inquiring about some charges on his account. The charges were from Paypal and he wasn’t familiar with them. I pulled him aside and helped him call Paypal. At the time he was in his late 80’s and hard of hearing so he was very appreciative that I was willing to call for him. I was able to get a representative on the phone for him and it seemed that someone had been using his accounts for some time to pull a check out of his Paypal account, which was coming from his checking account. We were able to dispute the charges and receive most of his funds back. He was so appreciative and such a kind and wonderful gentlemen. He passed away this last February and it completely broke my heart. I was glad to have the opportunity to get know him and give him the trust and respect that he deserved.

Others

  • Jeff Parker – 10 Years
  • Teresa Wemmer – 10 Years
  • Mark Silva – 5 years