September 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).  Employees celebrating September Anniversaries school us on what it means to serve members and practice TMA.

Sadly, instead of wishing Rich Parker a happy 10-year Waunaversary, we’re saying goodbye. Hear Richard’s retirement announcement, and his thanks to all his clients, here. 

 

Danea Passmore – 13 years
What is your current position?
My current position is Chief Operations Officer.  That means I head WCU’s IT, Operations, Strategic Implementations and Card Services teams.  Fortunately, I am blessed to have my office in Clatskanie, where I grew up and see my family often.  My main focus is to coach and develop teams that embrace the Wauna Way – Integrity Coaching, TMA, LSCI, Core Values, Mission, Vision, and people helping people.  I used to be in the Training Department, so you know that’s something I love doing. I also love to collaborate with all departments in the organization to implement products and services to exceed our members expectations. Wauna is my family.

Danea
Danea’s sunny disposition matches the weather on this day

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
I have learned a great deal at Wauna, but the most important thing I have learned is to be more financially fit.  Prior to working at Wauna, I was one of those people who sometimes experienced when bad things happen to good people.  Our daughter was pushed into a swimming pool, spiral fractured her neck, and drowned.  They were able to resuscitate her; however, my world for a over a year was revolved around hospitals, doctors, and taking care of her.  My finances were a wreck, my payments were late, and frankly, I didn’t care at the time because I knew I had to do something else.

I am blessed that Wauna hired me even though my credit was an “E”. That stands for eeeek to some; but to Wauna, I was more than a number.  Yep, went from A to “E”eeek.  I learned how to get back on track, clean up my credit, and come back to the top.  I use that each day when I talk with members or employees, and want them to know that bad things happen to good people so get the story before you judge.  Thankfully too, Wauna asks the story and takes great care of its members.  I will forever be grateful to Wauna.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
I love this question! If I could choose a brand new hobby, I would love to become a pilot and fly.  But since I should probably be more realistic, I would love to be hiking.  The outdoors is so energizing, fun, freeing, and a good brisk walk is exhilarating.  I recently watched a show where there is a large hike from the North Kaibab Trail on the North Rim to Bright Angel Trail at the South Rim.  It is a hike of over 23 miles and just sounds incredible, especially in a majestic place like the Grand Canyon. Actually, forget that. I always shoot for the stars, so pilot it is, or maybe even astronaut.

Audrey McTague – 5 years
What is your current position?
My current position is Training Specialist and I train Member Consultants in consumer loans.  I lead training classes at the Erlene Darby Learning Center in Westport, as well as go to the branches for one-on-one training.  My main goal is to make sure everyone understands our lending philosophy using LSI principles as well as training them how to process loans from start to finish.  Training has always been one of my passions.

Audrey
Audrey knows a thing or two about helping members get loans

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Wauna has taught me The Member Advantage, which emphasizes listening to people to find out what they need, or are looking to accomplish. TMA is something I can use inside and outside of work in my everyday life

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
My hobby this summer was making my own spices by dehydrating them, grinding them and bottling them up.  I did garlic and onions.  I also made tomato powder which I can make tomato paste or sauce with.  Next year, I plan on doing jalapenos, thyme, rosemary and chives.

Laura Lovegren – 3 years
What is your current position?

I am the Financial Center Manager in the Clatskanie Branch. My job is to work with our Members and my team to create relationships to grow with our members throughout their lives.

Laura
Laura loves getting out in the community

This role is new to me in the last year and I have been enjoying building our community relationships and working to educate our youth.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Working at WCU has taught me that my limits are self-created.  I have been encouraged to grow and dream during my career here. I have worked in the Branch and in the Back office operations department as well. My goal is to learn more everyday and am grateful that I have the opportunity to learn many different aspects and to work with so many driven and wonderful people. It has not only grown my career but who I am as a Human being.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
It would most likely be to  travel more. I recently traveled to Croatia, and there is much of Europe waiting for me to visit.

Hannah Coffey – 2 years
What is your current position?
I’m a Member Consultant at the Astoria Branch. Member Consultants deal with the community face-to-face, and assist them with their daily financial needs, as well as provide part-time counseling (ha-ha). Being the face of Wauna is a great opportunity to connect with members and build lasting relationships between them and Wauna.

Hannah
Hannah always travels in style and with a sidekick

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Working at Wauna has taught me a lot about patience. It’s easy to go day-to-day thinking you know how everything in the financial industry works and rush through it all, but it’s very humbling to help people who maybe aren’t so familiar with finances, as well as other things that may seem simple to us that work here such as online banking; especially since we just launched our new U-Banking platform back in May!

 

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
If I had to choose a new hobby, I would choose something musical. I played piano when I was little, but it never really stuck. It’s something that I would enjoy picking back up.

Michael Murdoch – 1 year
What is your current position?
I’m the Communications Specialist. My office is in Clatskanie, but my job is to go all over our footprint to talk to members and our staff. I spend most of my time communicating to Wauna staff how-to communicate while communicating communications to members and our communities. It’s a communications thing.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Wauna Credit Union has taught me to take greater ownership with my mistakes, but more importantly, with my accomplishments. As a communications person, I’m often more comfortable in the background, but rewarding good work is a big part of the culture here.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
I’ve always wanted to take up sailing. But, I’d need a sail and a boat. And common sense.

Michael Murdoch
Michael hangs out with colleagues, and a duck that supports CUs

Others

  • Ian Wiggins
  • Brittany Warren
  • Lidia Sanchez
  • Ericka Barnett

 

 

July 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).  Employees celebrating July Anniversaries are all firecrackers who exploded onto the scene at WCU.

We also have one more special anniversary in July. CXO John Moore is celebrating 5 years at the credit union. Read all about him, and how Xs and Os don’t just mean kisses and hugs here.

Richard Bighill – 22 years
What is your current position?
RichardMy current position is Lending Support Clerk. My job is to help support the Lending Support Specialists, Lending Support Manager, and VP of Consumer Loans. My duties ensure that the others do not have to complete them while underwriting, processing, and funding loans.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Something that working at WCU for 22 years has taught me is that it is very important to be part of the WCU family, and help support others.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
I’m a huge Seahawks fan, so any new hobby would have to involve them. Maybe I’d become a sports photographer.

Sue Whitton – 11 years
What is your current position?
I am the Member Service Manager for the Vernonia Branch. In my position I oversee the front line operations. I believe the MC position is the most important contact for our membership. We start the relationship and help grow the membership through developing trust.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?Sue and her family
Wauna has taught me how important it is to support the community. Wauna has a strong commitment to the community, and I am proud of being able to support Vernonia.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
My hobbies currently are adjusting to empty nesting and It is going very well. Thank you!

Heidi White – 6 years
What is your current position?
I’m a Member Consultant. in the Clatskanie Branch. I assist our members with their every-day banking needs, as well as help them prepare for the future, whether that’s figure out the best way to save for a life milestone, or get a loan to buy a new car.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Growing up in Clatskanie I felt like I knew everybody in the community, but working here has taught me how to figure out a way to build rapport with anybody. No matter if they’re from out of town, just out of school, or getting ready for retirement, people want to know that the person helping them is looking out for their best interest.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
Can I pick two hobbies? I want to travel all over the world and do fun crafty things. Maybe my new hobby would be to have an international craft store.

Kristen DeForrest – 2 years
What is your current position?
I currently work as the Member Service Manager at the Astoria Branch. Previously I managed the branch inside the Astoria Safeway. I am passionate about building dynamic team of member consultants who are passionate about Wauna Credit Union’s mission and vision. It is important to me that we help members at every stage of financial success, but I especially enjoy helping youth with our jump start program.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Working here has taught me that no matter how much you prepare you still need to be ready for things to change. That is something I am constantly helping our members with. We are here to help people deal with all of life’s milestones, whether they are planned or not.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
I just started a new hobby! I have recently committed to supporting the Mariners Baseball. I’ve watched almost all the games this season, and hope to attend one this year with my family, including my daughter Claire, who is 6-months old-and much more than a hobby.

Lisa Clark – 1 year
What is your current position?
I’m the St. Helens/Scappoose Area Manager. My job is to supervise the deposit and lending operations for those assigned branches. I’m to coach and lead the Member Service Managers in those branches and to ensure that my branches are providing the highest quality member service. I also get to do business development, commercial lending and some public relations in Columbia County. All in all, I’m to ensure that my assigned branches are reaching their goals and are profitable.

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?
One new hobby would be to learn to play a music instrument. My whole family is musical and I’m the only one who can’t play an instrument. My kids say that the only thing I can play is the radio!

Meisha Boettcher – 1 year
What is your current position?
Member Consultant II. Which means I act as a teller doing transactions sometimes; I act as a loan officer other times. I can be a therapist or an auditor depending on the day. Every day has a new challenge and a new lesson. I really enjoy that aspect of my work.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Meisha FishingThat everyone has a story and each one is important. Whether it’s a loan or a simple transaction, our interaction with that member is part of their day and part of their life. I’ve found it to be very enjoyable to be involved with people like that and get to know them over time.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
I’ve always been in awe of aerial silks, I attempted a little in high school but I never went anywhere with it, I wish I would have. If I had the time and setup to do that, you bet I’d be in amazing shape and I’d be having a good time doing it.

 

Others

  • Carli Lyon
  • Jan Durie
  • Amber Alexander
  • McKenzie Lewis
  • John Kurns

A Career for Life

Wauna Credit Union’s Vision Statement is to be the financial institution that members choose first, use the most, and grow with throughout their lives. That’s an extremely important part of who we are, and how we make decisions. Everything we do is with a long-term outlook, even if it means giving a short-term loan to prevent long-term financial troubles.

There’s another philosophy that goes hand-in-hand with that, we also want to be an employer that people can grow with throughout their lives. Not only does it mean we can continue to serve our members by keeping our great employees, but we also provide opportunities for professional and career growth for those employees. Visiting the WCU Career page at waunafcu.org/about/careers will give you an idea of the type of jobs we have to offer.

Lidia Sanchez exemplifies the rewards of this philosophy. Lidia was a part-time Member Service Representative at the Safeway branch, and rejoined the credit union in 2016 as a Member Consultant in the Warrenton Branch after taking some time off when her son Asher was born. She quickly became part of the WCU community.  When a position opened up in the Astoria Communication Center, Lidia took the leap and applied.

Lidia at desk
Helping our members always puts a smile on Lidia’s face

“It was hard to leave Warrenton,” said Lidia. “My coworkers and our regulars had become like family to me, but the position at the Communication Center was a great opportunity.”

“Lidia was always quick with a smile, and worked hard to deliver the service that our members expect at Wauna,” said her manager at Warrenton Loren, who herself has recently took on new responsibilities at the credit union.  “We miss her, but we’re so glad to see her learn new skills and help even more of our members.”

Lidia quickly jumped in with both feet, learning the ropes and establishing herself as key member of the Communications Center team that helps members from all over the footprint.  “In many ways working at the Communications Center is the same as working in a branch,” said Lidia. “We still have our regulars, but instead of seeing them face-to-face I get to talk to them on the phone.  It’s fun to hear about the things that are going on in Clatskanie, St. Helens, Scappoose and Vernonia, in addition to the events going on out my front door in Astoria, Warrenton, and Long Beach.”

Lidia isn’t done moving up at the CU. We’re proud to announce that she is joining the Mortgage Team as a Real Estate Loan Processor, where she’ll assist members get a Strong Mortgage with WCU to buy their first home, build their dream home, or even help solidify their retirement by buying an investment property.

Asher getting a new account
Setting a good example for her son Asher helps Lidia stay focused.

Professional development isn’t important for Lidia just because of the increased job responsibilities, but the example it sets for Asher. “I want to show him what his mom can achieve by working hard,” said Lidia. “I look at the opportunities I can provide, and the example I can set for him, by showing him what he can achieve.  Wauna has given me so many opportunities, and I look around and see so many more. I plan to be here a long time, and am so thankful I chose to apply two years ago.

If you’re interested in starting a career at Wauna there are many great openings right now.

June 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). 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. Jeannie being fancy and her fiance

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.

Others

  • Monica Lauber – 14 Years
  • Jacob Humphries – 4 Years
  • kerbie Belknap – 2 Years
  • Caleb Yankus– 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

Celebrating a Decade of Excellence – CFO David Merrell Anniversary

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.

 

 

January 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 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 teamNathan, 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

Serena
Serena poses with the award she won last year

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.

Pam and team at the Vernonia Jamboree
Pam and team at the Vernonia Jamboree

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.

Others

  • Jenifer Katon – 4 Years
  • Randy Buholts – 8 Years
  • Zara Ahlers – 4 Years

Employee of the Quarter – Kailynn Daum

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.

Kailynn and her husband at the beach
Kailynn and her husband at the beach

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.

Kailynn and her manager Sarah on Halloween
Party on Sara. Party on Kailynn

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.

The Power of Giving

The Power of GivingA 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.

Employee of the Quarter Fall 2017

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

Alex at Seahawks game
Alex takes in a Seahawks Game

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.

Alex in a cable car
Alex loves to travel all over the west coast

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.