At one time Daena Anzalone was headed down a career path as a dental hygienist after having her own story with what she called an “uncomfortable and unenjoyable experience” with braces as a teenager. “I wanted to have really nice teeth,” she said. But instead, she was led down a business path, wanting to “get back to talking to people, building connections and relationships.” Being a hygienist, she added with a smile, became her “back-up plan.” With Marine Credit Union (MCU) she said she felt she could work her way up without a degree and she enjoys her work. “I really like the fact that I’m able to help people. They are applying for a loan because they need something,” she said.
Daena said that with underwriting, the numbers have to make sense, but she also knows how important it is to put together the whole story and give members a chance when no one else will. It starts with listening to their stories. “I have to put the story together and sell the loan,” she said. “If it isn’t the right time to get a loan,” she added that it’s a “not right now.”
“We have to look at each person as an individual,” she continued. “Bad things happen to good people. We have to listen and know that people can learn from their mistakes. MCU empowers us to help members make these changes in their lives.”
Where does Daena get her passion to help others? “I had a rough childhood,” she shared. “My biological parents divorced, and I watched my mom struggle financially. We leaned on the family we had. We couldn’t afford anything. We never had a nice reliable car.” Daena shared that before she was able to get braces, “I was bullied for my appearance. Kids can be so mean.”
Daena said that she took the bullying with a “grain of salt. What’s going on that they need to bully,” she would ask herself. “Maybe they need a friend. Kindness goes a long way. It’s takes a village to raise a family. All that being put together … you can give what you can give.”
Her father, Daena shared, was an alcoholic and was in and out of jail. “He used to abuse my mother.” She said it was a trying time for her and her mother. “It’s difficult to get out of those situations,” she added.
Yet … Daena shared that her mother eventually did leave and remarry. Daena said she has a “great” stepfather who helped to mold her into who she is today. “I’m very thankful,” she said.
When she was older, Daena said she realized how much her mother did to protect them and Daena has reached “closure” on her “difficult relationship” with her father. That said she is grateful for the strength her mother possessed and for her stepfather. “He treats me like a real father,” she added.
Outside of work Daena shared her love for travel, especially the time she was able to tour Europe. “It was amazing,” she said sharing memories of seeing the Mona Lisa in-person. Being a self-proclaimed “foodie,” Daena especially enjoyed experiencing the different cuisine. “I remember what it felt like and what the food tasted like,” she said with another big smile.
Daena said her boyfriend likes to travel too, and she would love to travel more in the future. “It’s important to meet other people … to see how other cultures live,” she shared.
In addition, Daena said she is very active and loves kayaking and hiking with her golden doodle. “He loves to go on hikes,” she said. “When I feel stressed or anxious, I like to get into nature. Nature has always been a big thing for me,” she added saying even when she had “bad days” as a teenager, she was able to find solace and peace in nature. “That is when I started to go,” she added. “I think everyone is at one with nature,” she shared. “We need nature and nature needs us.”