I am only 1 year away from my 40th anniversary in the credit union movement and so that puts me only a couple of years from a milestone birthday. Recently I was asked to speak at the 10th anniversary of a branding project I did with Rogue Credit Union and shared the stage with a dear friend, now retired, Charlie Baggett. As Charlie and I said goodbye he said “This may be the last time I ever see you.” I don’t like to think like that and reminded him that the LAST time we saw each other he said that. But the reality of it hit me, I may not get the chance to tell all my “work family” how much they mean to me cuz I don’t spend Thanksgiving Day with them.
So here goes, the five reasons that I give thanks:
Reason #1: The beginning of my core values.
Thank you Mr. Beazely for hiring a 15 year old girl as a serving wench in a fish-n-chips restaurant where I spent my entire high school years working so I could help pay for my private school after my dad lost his job. You told me we were put on this earth to serve others and when we serve others we do work that matters. I knew then that I always wanted to do work that matters.
Reason #2: People helping people – now I get it.
Thank you Tom Sargent, when you first became a credit union CEO for plucking me off of teller row and away from “Mean Jean” and giving me a desk, my first business card and a purpose. I wanted to do work that mattered and by giving me the opportunity to be the FIRST Member Service Rep at our small credit union I set out to demonstrate that I had more to offer than just my “cash handling” skills. I love helping people and it would later explain why I am doing the things I’m doing today.
Reason #3: Dressing for Success
Thank you to Sarah Canepa Bang for also recognizing that this crazy young woman that took lots of, shall we say “fashion chances” really wanted to be in management and should be in management. I’ll never forget the day you pulled me aside in the mail room at the Oregon Credit Union League and told me that I could definitely “pull off” the bright lime green flowered pants I was wearing that day (you could see them from space), but I should dress for where I want to “be” not where I am. That was the day I went to Casual Corner and put my first suit on layaway.
Reason #4: Cooperation among Cooperatives – now I really get it!
Thank you to Jack Antonini and Shawna Luna for being my current work family and where I hope to finish my credit union career. When I discovered the trade association for CUSOs little did I know that I would find my bumble bees (reference No Rain video by Blind Melon – Google it). CUSO people have the cooperative heart combined with a shrewd mind for business and there is no better combination in my opinion.
Reason #5: The Final Chapter – bringing it all together.
Thank you to Chief John Gurule for never making me feel like an old woman and for having faith that I could become not just an Emergency Medical Technician with virtually NO medical background, but you pushed me to become an Advanced EMT. I’ll never forget when I first met you at the Fire Station Open House, recruiting for volunteers. You told me “Our only job is to help people get through their WORST day with dignity and compassion.” I hope I’ve been doing that my entire career, but now it’s in my community and I consider your time and your faith in me to be a precious gift that I intend to give back well into my retirement years.
Now somebody pass me the gravy!
Happy Thanksgiving y’all.