As the Marine Credit Union Foundation Coordinator, Kyli Hames said she wears “many hats.” From working with sponsors, events, employee engagement and fundraising … it’s all in a day’s work for Kyli. “I’m somebody who has to be constantly learning,” she said and finds the variety of her position to be a good fit for her.
Banking, she said, has been her path for six years but most recently, about one and a half years ago, Kyli found her path move to MCU in their Contact Center prior to accepting her current role as Foundation Coordinator. “I was looking for something part time,” she said, as it made more sense for her and her family after the birth of her son Asher. “It was a new position,” she shared. “After I talked to the director, I knew this was the job for me for the rest of my life.” For her, she said that the position combined variety with aspects of banking, community outreaching and her passion for volunteering.
Kyli works remotely from her childhood family home in Haugen, WI, which she and her husband Brock purchased from Kyli’s parents. She explained that she was in “bible college” in Tulsa, Oklahoma (where she met her husband) and felt it was time to return home.
“I am a Christian,” Kyli shared. “I love Jesus. Jesus loves all people.” And then Kyli asked how much of her story should she share…
“I graduated from high school early,” she explained. At 17 years of age, Kyli found herself in Florida in rehab from drug addiction. “I lived for a few years in Milwaukee. It was a party city. I got really heavy into drugs, again.”
“I became a Christian,” But, she said, “You don’t need to clean up your behavior to be beautiful to God.”
“I tried to quit so many times,” she shared. “Life is crazy for everybody. I felt so helpless. I hated my lifestyle.” Yet she said that it was God that helped her remove the things she didn’t want in her life anymore.
Kyli was an atheist a lot of her life and considered herself to be more “spiritual” until she first learned of a “higher power” in rehab. “I felt powerless in myself,” she explained. She said that when we know God as love, “that is when we can surrender.”
“A big part of what the Foundation does,” Kyli explained, “is finding members homes. It is a housing opportunity for those who aren’t otherwise able.”
When asked if she appreciates her job so that she can serve the Lord helping those who are often underserved, Kyli said, “He washes our feet. Every person has such a good heart,” she continued. “Let Jesus serve you. The other service (serving others) comes later.”
Yet … a big part of Kyli’s job at MCU is serving others. “Finding Home” Kyli explained, “comes into play when people get turned away from other mortgage lenders. It’s a 12-to-18-month program with one-on-one consulting and financial training. It really is a transformative experience. It’s great waking up knowing you are a part of that.”
Where does Kyli get her beautiful heart from? “My parents are awesome,” she explained. She said both her parents were “abused, neglected, and grew up in poverty. It amazes me how much love my parents gave me because they weren’t given it.”
“We were the three musketeers,” she continued. “I was always hanging out with them.”
She said it means so much now that they are all back together living in her hometown and her parents nearby living by the lake, especially now with their grandbaby Asher. “I hated small town life,” Kyli said but found that after being in the big city for a while she realized, “maybe it’s not so bad. I need to have my parents for my kids.”
“My dad, a 5’5” roofer (“We are small people,” she commented with a laugh.) is very stout, tough as nails … with the softest heart. I get all my sensitivity from my dad. My mom was a private investigator, a jailor and then was a clerk of courts. I get my strength from her.” Kyli said it’s important to her for her parents to be able to spend time now with her son.
Asher is 15 months old now. “He’s hell on wheels,” Kyli said laughing again. I love kids.” Kyli said their parenting style is let them figure it out and to “run defense” when needed.
MCU, Kyli said, is different from the other financial institutions she worked for in the past. “I didn’t like the cut and dry rules,” she said of her other experiences. “I knew when I moved back to Wisconsin that I wanted to be more member focused.” MCU, Kyli added has similar values to her own. “I really connected with MCU.”
Kyli said she especially appreciates the paid time off that MCU gives to employees to encourage them to volunteer in their communities. “They will pay me to volunteer,” she said. “That’s crazy! It shows how much they care for the community.”
Outside of work and caring for her family, Kyli shared she loves to cook, plays bass in a band, and is “obsessed with yoga.”
Although Kyli said she misses some of the social interaction working remotely, she wouldn’t even have her job if it weren’t for COVID. “I’m a realist,” she said, “but I find light in dark situations.” Even with her addiction and overcoming it, she explained, “I felt I was in quicksand, but I knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel. It seemed hopeless but I was still hopeful. We were all created to experience love with the creator.”