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). Those who are into astrology say that people born in June are friendly, conscientious, full of great ideas, and always trying to do their best. We’re not sure if that is supposed to hold true for the people who celebrate Anniversaries in June as well, but we think so.
Jeannie Byrum – 2 years
What is your current position? I’m an MC in the Clatskanie Branch. I grew up here, so it’s really rewarding to help my friends and neighbors, whether it’s something small like cashing a check, or something big like helping them get started buying a car, house, or starting a business.
What is something that working at WCU has taught you? WCU has taught me so much, but one of the great things is that being yourself is really important. We’re taught to have real conversations with our members, and really listen to them to make sure we are helping in every way we can. Sometimes I go to other places and it’s like a robot is helping me. By being myself, I’m not only having fun, but providing great member service.
If you could choose one new hobby what would it be? Well right now I’m planning a wedding, so maybe being a wedding planner like J. Lo! Really though, I love doing things like floating down the Deschutes, hiking and camping. I’d make a great explorer.
Hugo Potts – 1 year What is your current position? I am a Lending Support Specialist, I assist our internal members with any questions they may have about vehicle, Personal, or Lifestyle loans. I also, help our mortgage department.
What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
At Wauna we participate in a program called The Member Advantage. It’s our approach to service that ensures we are listening to our members to learn what financial products will help them realize their financial dreams. These guidelines to listening well are tactics I use not only at work, but in my personal life too.
If you could choose one new hobby what would it be? I would travel more and see the world! The first place I would visit is Japan.
Autumn Crawford – 1 year What is your current position? I am the intern for the operations team, I make sure that the mail gets done and help people in operations with whatever they need. I have been able to meet with all of the different areas(IT, accounting, HR, Lending, MC’s) in the company over the past year and I have learned so much about what each area of the bank does.
What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
This is my first job and I also did my senior project here, so what haven’t I learned. I think the biggest thing that I learned is teamwork. Everybody works together to get things done, nobody is ever too busy to answer a question you have or help someone else out.
If you could choose one new hobby what would it be? This isn’t really a “new hobby” because I took lessons as a kid but if I had the time I would love to start playing piano again. To me music is really relaxing and I feel that out of the many instruments that I used to play piano is my favorite.
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.
What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Today marks the 10-year anniversary of Wauna Credit Union’s CFO David Merrell. David is part of our leadership quintet, and is a key driver of all our success. While the work of the CFO mostly happens behind the scenes, we couldn’t do what we do without him. It’s David that really figures out how we can best manage our money and products to offer our members the absolute best solutions for their finances.
Our CEO Robert Blumberg said it best:
“David’s knowledge in economics and strategic initiatives is top-notch. He is committed to the financial well-being of Wauna Credit Union and we would not be as financially sound without him as a part of the management team.”
David grew up in a rural community (Moses Lake, WA) on 160 acres, which helps him understand our members wants and needs. While he originally started out with a huge corporation (Shell Oil) before moving on to a big bank, the idea of serving members, instead of shareholders, brought him to WCU.
There are a lot of ways to honor David, but we thought the best way was to re-post a speech he gave to our scholarship recipients last year. David has always valued education. He made sure his own children completed their studies, and always takes an interest in all of WCU’s education-focused activities.
When you look at who you are and what you do and what you’re intending to do is that you’re in position to contribute more. Not just that you hopefully make more money and do it that way, but you should be, you can be leaders. Leaders in just influencing people if that’s all it is.
We spend a lot of time trying to learn how to do well in our organization, how to create better organizations. Now you of course are geared towards that. You have a better ability to learn and you can contribute. I think that one of the best talks I’ve heard, some at the beginning of the school year addressing the student body, was will you lead. And that is so important today in society. Will you lead? Will you lead in the good? And we’re not just talking about in your environment. Will you lead in helping others to be better people and have the opportunity? And that’s one of the things that you get, a better opportunity as you go through and get better educated, a continuing education.
As we talk about ways to be better leaders now, I was listening to those talks on that as we go back and hear it again and they’re referencing books I read in high school. They had an impact. They’ve always impacted me. We’ve got engineering. We’ve got biology, science, kinesiology. Those are all good. The biggest impact in going to college is broadening of your knowledge.
-David Merrell Wauna Credit Union CFO June 14, 2017 to Wauna Credit Union scholarship recipients
Thanks for the 10 great years Mr. Merrell. Here’s to 10 more.
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 kick off the year by hearing from the employees who celebrate their anniversary in January.
Nathan Philips – 13 years
What is your current position? I started my career at Wauna Credit Union as a Member Service Representative, I now serve as the Vice President of Technology. My duties include forecasting the technology needs of the credit union, managing our Information Technology team, and formulating our Information Security strategies.
What is your favorite WCU memory? My favorite memories at Wauna Credit Union include seeing members I used to help on the teller line at events, such as our Annual Meeting. I enjoy hearing about how they are doing and seeing their smiling faces like I used to.
What is something you like to do when you’re not at work? When I am not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family. My wife, son, and furbabies enjoy a nice hike in the Astoria area. I am also a member of a local bowling league in Astoria.
Serena Schlosser – 3 years
What is your current position? I was just promoted to Lending Administration Manager upstairs in the Astoria Branch. I support the Consumer and Mortgage Lending teams, making sure every i is dotted and every t is crossed so the credit union stays financially sound.
What is your favorite WCU memory? I have a lot of great memories, and some of the best ones come from when we all get together. One of my proudest moments was at the holiday party last year when the Top Underwriter and Mos
t Helpful awards. It’s always nice to be recognized for your hard work.
What is something you like to do when you’re not at work? When I am not at work I enjoy gardening, cooking, and camping with my family. I also serve on a volunteer board for the Lower Columbia Preservation Society. I dig old buildings, and really like working with people to keep them around.
Pam Weller – 13 years
What is your current position? I’m the Regional Manager for WCU. In my position I oversee the deposit and lending growth of the branches, and work closely with the Area and Member Service Managers to implement credit union strategies.
What is your favorite WCU memory? There are many great memories of my time with WCU, however I would say the best ones have come from working with the Vernonia Branch on floats and projects during Jamboree weekend. It’s a great time to have fun and be creative as we spend time with each other as well as the community.
What is something you like to do when you’re not at work? In my spare time I enjoy quilting, knitting, horseback riding and camping.
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.
A lot has happened over 50 years of Wauna Credit Union being Wauna Credit Union. We’ve seen 11 presidents; digital music; the Automated Teller Machine; the cellphone. We’ve watched the communities in and around our birthplace expand and change. We have seen members move away and come back, grow up and pass on.
To mark this milestone in our history, we’ve celebrated all year. There have been giveaways and cupcakes and cookies. But we’ve recognized that it’s not just about celebrating. One half of a century is more than long enough for us to have recognized how vital our communities really are.
What better way to recognize than to give back?
We’ve decided that a history and love of our communities coupled with our passion for helping others deserves something a bit more. For that reason, Wauna CU has created a very special campaign, which we’ve aptly named, “The Power of Giving X 50.”
This December, each and every staff member of Wauna Credit Union has been allotted $50 to give back as they see fit. At over 100 strong, we are a force – a force for good.
Perhaps you’ll find one of us buying groceries for a person at the supermarket or maybe you’ll see us donating to a local charity. But no matter where or how we give, it won’t always be about random acts of kindness. Because while we are giving back to these communities, we also belong to these communities.
One Wauna CU employee, Michael, has chosen to give to a local woman named Lanie. Lanie discovered in July that she has stage 4 bone cancer:
I choose this person as my good deed because it hit close to home. I choose this person because I am a two-time cancer survivor. My first diagnosis was the more serious of the two, but there was no guarantee that I was going to make it. This girl is facing some of the same challenges that most people will never understand. I know what it is like to have to go to chemo and radiation. Not only is it physically draining, but also mentally draining, which is an aspect people often fail to realize. Sometimes when going through difficult situations people need something to distract them, even if it is only temporary. If we can help take her mind off of this situation for even a moment, then to me it would have been well worth it.
Another, Kailynn, used her power of giving to help a family at a local grocery store:
I purchased a $50.00 Safeway gift card and was carrying it in my wallet for a few days until I got the chance to give it away. While picking up some groceries after work I saw a man and his two small children doing the same. We crossed paths a few times in the store and each time all three of them were smiling, chatting, and just seemed to be enjoying their time even though they were only at the grocery store. I approached him and let him know I work for Wauna and we would like to help him with his grocery bill. He was confused at first thinking there was a catch, but after I explained to him what we were doing and why we are giving back to the members of our community he opened up to me. He let me know that he only gets to see his children every other weekend and with the limited time he has with them he always tries to make it memorable and fun for them, on his tight budget. He was so thankful and let me know that he would be taking his little ones on a movie date with the money that he would have spent on groceries.
And of course what would giving back be if we didn’t help our furry friends. Wauna CU staff member, Amy, chose the Clastop County Animal Assistance Program:
I chose CAA because a year ago today we brought our new family member home, her name is Lucy. Lucy was a hard-luck case, we are home number 5, and when she started to act erratically and aggressive a few days after coming to live with us we were very concerned. Most shelters, would have put Lucy down, instead, the CCA paid for Lucy to spend a week with a dog trainer at Hammond Kennel who also gave us books to read on dog behavior problems and how to correct them and we came in for personal lessons. Today, Lucy is a wonderful “furson”, we are so thankful they didn’t let us give up on Lucy, and helped us help her become the wonderful girl she is today. I can honestly say, I love Lucy!
Giving back generates purpose, and meaning, and positive reinforcement. Our communities have given us so much over the years, and we make a living off of what we get. But as Winston Churchill said, “We make a life by what we give.”
This month, keep an eye out for The Power of Giving, as Wauna CU’s force of do-gooders covers our communities, making people’s days brighter, and returning some of the love that all of you have brought to us.
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 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”
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. Our October anniversary celebrants are always hard at work to provide the best possible member service.
One employee not highlighted below is our CEO Robert Blumberg who celebrated 10 years of leading the charge for WCU on October 1st. Look for a blog from Robert later in the month looking back at the last 10 years, and forward towards the next 10.
Sharon Borgardt – 23 Years What is your current position? As the Chief Human Resources Officer I supervise the HR Department; serve on our executive team; oversee hiring, employee benefits, payroll and legal compliance regarding employment; and assist all employees to ensure their needs are heard and addressed. Our employees are what sets Wauna apart. Making sure we hire the right people to serve our members—and making sure those employees have what they need to succeed—is a responsibility I don’t take lightly. I especially appreciate Wauna’s dedication to providing growth opportunities for our employees.
What is your favorite WCU memory? I have it every day. The most gratifying part of my job is helping our employees. This includes ensuring that our employees have great benefits. One benefit that means a lot to our employees is our Sick Leave Donation program that allows employees to donate Sick Time to an employee in need, who has exhausted their Sick Time due to a serious medical condition. I love being able to inform an employee in need that their generous and caring co-workers donated enough Sick Time to cover their absence.
What is something you like to do when you’re not at work? I enjoy spending time and traveling with family and friends. Between us, my husband Ron and I we have great 5 kids and 4 wonderful granddaughters. We rescue Great Pyrenees dogs; our current fur babies are Bob and Mica, and they are very special to us, too. I have lived in Astoria for 23 years and it’s been amazing to experience the growth of the area. We love all the arts and really delicious food options in the area, while still being so close to nature!
Sara Kulp – 6 Years What is your current position? I’m currently the training manager, my position is to train our new internal members and provide ongoing training for the credit union. WCU really believes in giving all team members the foundation to build their career, which makes this an incredibly rewarding position. I also support oncoming projects and help implement the training process. Previously I was the branch manager for our St. Helens branch. It was tough to give up the face-to-face interactions with our members, but great to know I’m helping teach people how to give the same friendly service I would.
What is your favorite WCU memory? This past year I had the opportunity to put together and host our in-service day. It’s a day where all if the employees get together and kick off the year, talk about successes and what will be happening in the next year. We all had a blast and I will never forget the energy and excitement that we had that day.
What is something you like to do when you’re not at work? I love to travel, read and spend time with family. I have three sons. One graduated and is now proudly serving our country in the Air Force, the other two are still at home and keep us so busy with all their activities.
Kailynn Daum – 6 Years What is your current position? I am a Training Specialist. 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 is your favorite WCU memory? My favorite memory with the credit union is becoming certified and facilitating our most recent TMA seminar for 28 of our newest employees. The Member Advantage is the service philosophy that we have adopted here at Wauna, and just one of the ways that the Credit Union invests in our employees success. I love being a part of our employees growth and development and it was so rewarding to see the Training Team’s hard work pay off.
What is something you like to do when you’re not at work? When I am not at work I love to travel and experience the world with my husband, Alex. When we’re not out exploring, I enjoy practicing yoga, kayaking, spending time with friends and family, and being a dog mom to my three pups.
Samantha Wiser – 5 years What is your current position? I’m an MC III in the St. Helens branch. I am proud that I get to assist the members in my community with their financial goals. It is very rewarding for me to see our members achieve their dreams!
What is your favorite WCU memory? I like to have fun while helping our members and teammates. My fun memories are all about laughing and making coming into the credit union a good time, instead of a chore.
What is something you like to do when you’re not at work? If I’m not at work I’m outside playing. Whether it’s hiking, camping, or rafting I like being active. My favorite thing to do is Kayak the sloughs on the Columbia and explore Sand Island. I’ve been going there since I was a kid!
Marti Gwin – 1 Year What is your current position? I’m the internal auditor at Wauna. My job is to look at processes within the credit union to evaluate if we are effectively managing risk. My goal is to provide feedback that gives insight to managers about their areas of operation in a way that enhances and adds value to what they do. I like to say I’m an extra pair of eyes to help us be the best we can be and do the best that we can do for our members. Prior to being an employee, I was a member of Wauna’s Board of Directors. The Board works with our CEO Robert and the rest of the Leadership Team to set the roadmap for the credit union. It really is a rewarding experience.
What is your favorite WCU memory? I recently had the opportunity to help at the Wauna booth during one of the 13 Nights on the River concerts in St. Helens. It was fun hanging out with Josh and Stephanie from the Marketing Team while listening to great music and greeting people as they wandered by the booth. The Wauna kazoos where a big hit with everyone and we even gave a few kazoo lessons!
What is something you like to do when you’re not at work? I love to spend time with other people. Hanging out with my husband of 31 years is a favorite past time, I also teach a weekly women’s Bible study at my house, regularly visit a few older friends who can’t get out any more, and I try to make arrangements to meet a friend for coffee or a meal every week. People energize me!
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. We consider Wauna Credit Union a family, and caught up with a few family members having their anniversary this month.
Gina Dines – 10 Years
What is your current position? I am the Financial Center Manager for the Clatskanie Branch. I make sure that everything is running smoothly, so we can provide our members with the care they have come to expect from WCU. Whether that’s helping a member with a financial issue, coaching the great group of Member Consultants become leaders, or simply listening to members tell me stories about what is important to them. This is our oldest branch, and I’m honored to have an important role in something that is a big part of our community.
What is your favorite WCU memory? There are so many great memories over the years. We have such a fun environment at the Clatskanie Financial Center, so many of my memories involve helping members while still having a good time. One of the more recent memories is being part of the leadership team as we remodeled and redesigned the Clatskanie Financial Center. The grand re-opening was amazing. We put in so many hours to make sure our members had a branch they could be proud of, and one that represents modern financial management, while at the same time staying true to our roots as a local institution.
What is something you like to do when you’re not at work? I have three daughters, who I love and adore and am very proud of. I have two granddaughters who light up my life. I also recently got engaged, and am looking forward to adding even more to my family. I love being a grandma! I’m also very active in the Clatskanie Community. I am President of the Clatskanie Chamber, and am on the Heritage Days Board, and help plan and run the events that highlight what makes this such a great place to live.
Megan Gillespie – 10 Years What is your current position? I am the Operations Lending Specialist and part of our Operations Department. I handle the behind-the-scenes details of loans such as title work, maintenance. I get to work with the rest of our stellar Operations and Lending teams, make sure the loans our members get work correctly and go as smoothly as possible. We want our members to be able to kick back, relax, and enjoy their loan experience in total confidence that Wauna Credit Union is there for them 110%.
What is your favorite WCU memory? Every time we are able to solve an issue that makes a member’s life easier becomes my favorite Wauna memory. One that stands out is a member who works abroad and was in Australia at the time of our EMV card conversion to, which made all of our debit and credit cards more secure. The member was getting ready to leave Australia and head to Europe but the old cards they had were no longer going to be valid. To complicate matters the card from their other financial institution was not working either. Together with the rest of the amazing Operations Department, we got a debit card and a credit card rushed to the member in Australia just days before they left for their next location. We also got the member a limit increase to help make up for the non-working card from their other institution. It was a lot of moving parts and took a lot of teamwork but ultimately we managed to pull it off so the member had no interruption in service and ended up being able to continue travelling for work with no stress (at least regarding their cards).
What is something you like to do when you’re not at work? I enjoy spending time with family. Reading, travel, cooking, and photography are also activities I enjoy when I’m not with my Wauna family.
Mike Chapman – 7 Years What is your current position? I’m the Predictive Data Analyst. It’s a new role we created to analyze, interpret, and provide reports & recommendations in order to help keep Wauna CU strategically positioned on the leading edge of the future needs of our current and potential membership. Especially as we grow it’s important for us to make sure we are offering people the best products to help them realize their financial (and personal) goals.
What is your favorite WCU memory? I have fond memories of being part of the teams associated with building and opening our new facilities, which all provide greater convenience, security, and pride for the membership. These facilities include the new branches in Scappoose, St Helens, Astoria Safeway, Warrenton, Clatskanie, and the Mortgage Origination Office in Long Beach.
What is something you like to do when you’re not at work? I am an avid grandparent to a young granddaughter and grandson, and I enjoy shopping with my wife for bargain antiques and collectibles.
Jennifer Kenney– 5 Years What is your current position? I’m the Operations Support Manager. I supervise our back office staff. Our department handles the mail, funds transfers like wires and direct deposits, title items like DMV docs and paid off loans, IRAs, Escrow accounts and many other processes that help the front line employees help our members.
What is your favorite WCU memory? I have many memories about helping our members overcome difficult financial situations in ways that would help make a tough situation better. I have had so many fun times with my co-workers, celebrating birthdays and anniversaries as well as various accomplishments by my teammates.
What is something you like to do when you’re not at work? I like to spend time with friends and family. I love to travel and spend time outdoors. My daughter is an athlete, so I enjoy watching her play sports. Basketball is her favorite right now.