February Anniversaries

Today is a day for love. Wauna Credit Union loves all of our employees and members, and today we’re showing our love to all our employees celebrating anniversaries in February.

If you want to be one of the people celebrating next year, check out our careers page.  

Waunaversary Celebrants

Paige Tischer – 7 years

What is your current position?
I am Real Estate Loan Officer based out of our Astoria branch on the coast. I have worked at the credit union for seven years on Valentine’s Day, starting as a Member Consultant. I grew up in Clatsop county, my favorite part of my job is having the opportunity to help our members build their financial well-being. I love helping our community with buying their new homes.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?

Paige with Flowers
Paige loves being a Valentine Anniversary

Working at Wauna Credit Union has taught me to come to work with passion and purpose every day. Our members can tell that we really care about them and helping them reach their financial milestones.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
I’ve been riding horses my entire life. If I could, I’d build a small barn and spend my time riding all the trails around Astoria.

Karissa Temple – 5 years

What is your current position?
I am a Lending Support Specialist. I have many hats to wear with this position and love that it’s never the same. I fund indirect loans from the dealerships, help MC’s with questions they may have, audit consumer and mortgage loans. I also get to travel around and take pictures of houses for property inspections.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
The one that stands out the most is how credit unions are different from banks. How we think about our members needs and how to help them for their future. I have found many members that I have taken under my wing and shared the knowledge that I have gained to help them obtain their financial goals.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
I would pick sky diving for my new hobby.

Kira Zavortink – 3 years

What is your current position?
My current position is Lending Support Specialist. I am tasked with underwriting consumer loans, funding indirect auto loans, auditing mortgages and consumer loans, and completing property inspections and ordering appraisals for mortgages. I am also available to answer any loan questions that Member Consultants might have. I transferred from a front line position in the Warrenton branch this last year. I do miss directly assisting members, but I get to put my skills to work helping members behind the scenes in my new position.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Probably the biggest thing that I have learned working at Wauna is what credit is and how to build it. When I started I had zero credit and zero knowledge on the importance of having a decent credit score. Because Wauna is so dedicated to helping our members with credit score enhancement I have learned so much about what makes up a credit score and how to improve it.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
If time wasn’t an issue I would most likely read or go hiking more often.

Amber Seely – 3 years

Amber’s anniversary coincided with her being awarded Employee of the Quarter. Read all about Amber here.

Katelynn Persons – 1 year

Katelynn and Hugo
Katelynn and a friendly stranger take a picture in front of a waterfall (Okay, that’s her fiance Hugo, who also works for WCU)

What is your current position?
I am the Title Clerk in our Operations department. I’m the one who makes sure the titles for all the paid off loans and mortgages are properly transferred over to our members. Those are called Perfected Titles and Reconveyances in case you were wondering. It’s fun to be the one who lets our members know that they’ve paid off their loan. I also do all claims for delinquent loans and vehicle crashes, but hopefully there aren’t too many of those.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Working for Wauna Credit Union has taught me that everyone can fit in. That you do not have to settle for being just a number, and that goes for both being a member of the credit union as well as an employee. For both, I am treated as an individual with individual needs, experiences, and talents. I have learned that it is okay to strive for more, it is okay to say I don’t know, and that everyone has purpose.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
If I could choose a new hobby, I would definitely take up event planning. I love getting to sort out the fine details, decorating, and making people smile.

Rebekah Ausmus – 1 year

What is your current position?
I’m a Loan Servicing Specialist. I wear a lot of different hats around here, but it’s all about making sure all our members loans are taken care of behind the scenes. I take care of all the Escrow accounts, making sure that the taxes and insurance are paid on time and the renewals are up to date. I also track the insurance for all the consumer loans (both vehicle and homes) and make sure they have insurance so our members are protected, I submit all title and registration documents to the State Motor Vehicle departments and try to make sure everything is in order before we send it to them. I’m also part of the Operations Team so I try to my best to help our internal and external members whenever they have questions.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
I’ve learned that working at a credit union is not all about making money. It’s about being there for our members and helping them live a financially successful life. I love when I hear from our members that they feel Wauna truly cares about their financial well-being.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
I would travel the United States, visiting every town in each state and learning something unique about each, then I would write a book about it.

Others

  • Mike McTague

Employee of the Quarter: Amber Seely

Amber and familyWe have over 100 great employees at Wauna Credit Union. Each Quarter we recognize one person who consistently goes above and beyond, and name them Employee of the Quarter. We’re kicking the year off with a bang with our Employee of the Quarter Amber Seely.

We sat down with Amber to find out more about her, and learn more about her time representing Wauna Credit Union.

Getting to Know Amber

What is your title?
I’m a Card Service Specialist based out of Clatskanie. I work behind the scenes to help make sure our credit and debit card programs are running smoothly. I also Amber talk with members and help them when there is a dispute on a purchase. Prior to that I was a member consultant in St. Helens.

What brought you to WCU?
I was a medical assistant in Portland. When my daughter was born, I stayed home for some time, and when I was ready to come back to work I started looking for a job that was closer to home, that still gave me the chance to talk to people, and had the opportunity for growth. When a job at Wauna opened up, I jumped at it.

What is your favorite thing about working here?
There are so many things I love about working here, but my favorite thing is just getting the chance to work with people, both coworkers and members. I’m a very social person, and I love helping people. The great thing about my job is I get to help people multiple times a day.

Amber at work

What project has been your favorite?
My favorite project is one that’s going on right now. Our members really love our Visa Rewards Cards, and we’re constantly looking for ways to make them better. It’s been fun to look at all the ways we can give a little back to members just for using their cards. We have some exciting things coming up.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in St. Helens, and I think it will always be my home. I love the community and knowing that my neighbors are always looking out for me, and I’m looking out for them.

What was a time you laughed really hard at work?
I laugh all the time at work, but I’ll tell you when I don’t laugh, when you manage to find bad pictures of me and turn them into memes. (Editor’s note, that’s what Amber gets for stealing my phone at TMA training and taking selfies.)Amber-Smiling

Why do you think somebody should become a Wauna Member?
I think somebody should become a member, because all the decisions are made by local people. Our mission is to help people build their financial well-being. We do that by working with people to make a loan work, help them save a little bit more money, or making it easy to do their banking 24/7.

Have you ever done anything embarrassing at work?
I don’t get embarrassed easily. Recently, at one of our In-Service days I lead a group dancing in front of the whole credit union. Some people might be embarrassed doing that, but my passion is dancing, so I wasn’t embarrassed at all. We had secret practices, and nobody was expecting it. It was great.

January Anniversaries

January is a time for resolutions to better yourself. Wauna Credit Union got better by the hiring of all our employees celebrating anniversaries in January.

If you want to be one of the people celebrating next year, check out our careers page.  

Waunaversary Celebrants

Jen Katon – 5 years

What is your current position?
I am the Executive Assistant to the CEO. I work directly with the CEO as well the other Chiefs and the Board of Directors., and get to make a difference to local high-schoolers by chairing the Scholarship Committee. When I am not completing administrative tasks I have fun planning Wauna’s events and retreats. I have also been fortunate enough to lead our Corporate sponsored charities fundraisers for local back pack programs for the last four years. I am proud to say that we have raised $59,581 for Charity since I started here in 2014.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Before I came to work for Wauna I didn’t know the Credit Union Philosophy. I absolutely love the credit union philosophy of “people helping people” and am so honored to get to be a part of helping people in our local communities.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
I have many hobbies including, crafting, photography, crocheting, reading, sign making, scrapbooking, but I have been considering taking up hiking. Both of my kids do cross country and they make it sound so fun that I would like to do it with them. If time and money wasn’t an obstacle traveling the world would be what I would choose. I love to learn new things about other cultures and places. If I could travel to other countries and get to do charity work while I was there that would be a dream come true for me.

Dave Freeman – 1 year

What is your current position?
I’m a member of our IT team. My official title is IT Support Technician, which basically means I help our staff to provide our members with excellent personal service. That’s anything from making sure all of our financial tools are online to replacing an old computer. While members almost never see me, I’m constantly working in the back office to keep our systems online and working smoothly.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
It’s the commitment to staying true to our Core Values. Many companies will tell you about how “we’re a family” and “we strive to help the community”, but here those aren’t just empty words. That really impresses me. I grew up in the area, but was living in Nevada. I was on a steam train in the middle of the desert, and one of my friends from back home let me know the credit union was hiring, and I applied immediately, and that community involvement was a big reason why.

Dave with camera
Photography has always been one of Dave’s passions.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
I’m an enthusiastic amateur photographer and history buff, and I’d like to spend more time doing that. I love the PNW and it’s rich history and amazing scenery. I left Oregon about 15 years ago, but came back home about a year and a half ago and have come to realize exactly how much I missed this part of the country.

Jeff Kratka – 1 year

What is your current position?
I’m an IT Support Technician. I’m based out of Westport, but I go from Astoria to Vernonia to support all Wauna employees with any computer and technical aspects of their daily duties to help with making their job easier and more efficient.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Wauna has taught me how working with a family can be enjoyable again. Not just being a number but a person.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
I just took up SCUBA Diving. It’s something I have always enjoyed. I have been snorkeling many times but not SCUBA.

Others

  • Pam Weller
  • Randy Buholts
  • Serena Schlosser
  • Trevor Shelby
  • Amanda Heikkila

 

October Anniversaries

While many people think of October as a scary month, we at Wauna couldn’t believe more differently. Why’s that you ask? It’s because of all the amazing people celebrating anniversaries this month. You might say it’s scary how good they all are. 

If you want to be one of the people celebrating next year, check out our careers page.  

Waunaversary Celebrants

Sharon Borgardt – 24 years
What is your current position?
I’m the Chief Human Resources Officer at the credit union. I oversee the HR Dept and all functions relating to hiring, employee promotions, benefits administration, employment law compliance and HR strategies to help us attract and retain outstanding employees. Also, I’m a member of the Executive Team, and work to carry out our credit union strategies. Our employees are very valuable assets here at Wauna. I am honored to have a role in ensuring that Wauna is an incredible place to work. I feel it is important to provide career opportunities and to celebrate our employees’ successes.

Sharon and her dog Mica
Those who know Sharon know that she has a soft spot for dogs and cats. Here she is with Great Pyrnees rescue Mica.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
I cannot say that this was something I learned only at Wauna, but it is something I practice with passion. When faced with difficult interactions with others, it is imperative to have a high level of empathy, understanding and kindness toward everyone involved. I strive to practice this at work and in my personal life. And I am proud to say that I see this in the way our employees treat our members, too.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
Is becoming a world traveler a hobby? It sure would be exciting, especially if I had my own private jet! But on a more realistic note, one day when I have more free time I will take up painting again (if I am not too busy traveling!).

Kailynn Fischer – 6 years
What is your current position?

I am a training specialist II, my job is to help employees reach their career goals by training them in everything from delivering top-notch member service to opening accounts, lending and everything in between.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Working at Wauna has taught me the importance setting goals. I keep my immediate goals, and even my five and ten year goals written down and review them on a regular basis with my supervisor. Having them written down at my desk keeps them fresh in my mind and sharing them with someone helps to keep me accountable. It is something that is really encouraged here at Wauna and something that has been instrumental in my success.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
A hobby I would love to have is diving! I went scuba diving for the first time earlier this year on a trip to Thailand and now I’m hooked. I’ve always loved being in the water but being able to explore it from that depth is a totally different and surreal experience. I would love to explore so many of the breathtaking dive sites all over the world!

Kailynn scuba
Kailynn’s lifetime love of water recently brought her below the surface

Marti Gwin – 2 years
What is your current position?
I’m the Compliance Manager. I have a great team that consists of our Compliance Specialist and two team members in the Cash Intensive Business Department which services our cannabis business members. My job is to ensure that we stay compliant with regulations and laws governing the services we offer. The primary way we do this is through our policies and procedures and through training. The Compliance Department works closely with all other departments in the credit union to keep them informed of compliance requirements and to help answer compliance questions.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Working at Wauna has taught me about how great the credit union movement is. People that work for credit unions love to give back to the communities they are in and genuinely love their members.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
Well I actually just started taking guitar lessons one evening a week after work. My fingers are still very sore! Another thing I’ve been thinking about is horseback riding lessons. I used to do take riding lessons for years but it has been over 25 years since my last riding lesson.

Marti and team
Marti and members of the team recently wore plaid to support the backpack program

Sarah Jones – 1 year
What is your current position?
I’m a Compliance Specialist. I get to serve our internal members and the credit union by providing guidance and making sure we are compliant with current rules and regulations. Our members trust the credit union to keep their money safe and secure, and compliance is an important part of that.

Sarah at the beach
Sarah and her husband Jason enjoy Maui

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
It’s all about teamwork! The Compliance Department is involved is all areas of the credit union, so we have to have good communication among all of the departments, including our own. We have an amazing team of employees who work great together!

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
If I lived on a warm, tropical island I would like to try surfing. But since I live here in the PNW, I would take up kayaking and paddle boarding.

Riley Woodall – 1 year
What is your current position?
I am a Member Consultant in the Vernonia branch! I am here to make sure our members are taken care of to the fullest of my abilities. I have never imagined myself pursuing a career like this but here I am and I am loving every second of it. I so look forward to furthering my career with Wauna!

Riley Beach
Riley just recently discovered her love of travel

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Since working at Wauna I have learned SO much! One of the big things is to believe in yourself, and have the confidence to step out of your comfort zone. I recently did that and traveled to Hawaii. I have never been a big traveler unless we could go by car, so needless to say it was out of my comfort zone! Before I started here I never would have believed I could do something like this , but now that I have, I will continue pushing myself to do and try more!

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
I’d like to pick up a rec sport! I loved sports in high school but stopped after graduation. I’m also interested in trying my hand at pottery or sculpting.

Others

  • Robert Blumberg
  • Sara Kulp
  • Samantha Wiser
  • Diana Phipps

 

 

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.