Tricia Chappell shared that she was born in Michigan, outside of Detroit. Her dad worked at General Motors. Her family was there until she turned five and they relocated to the State of Washington. Her dad’s new job was making plutonium. They lived in the desert. “It was beautiful,” she shared. “They made an oasis out of it.” Tricia said she felt she was “pretty privileged” growing up. “My dad was the most giving person on the face of the earth. I was always a daddy’s girl,” she added with tears in her eyes.
When Tricia turned 11, her parents divorced. Eventually, she said that they just weren’t “soul mates” and both found happiness later in life. But things changed for Tricia and her siblings. She explained that she spent summers and holidays in New York with her dad and step-mother who became one of her best friends.
During that time in her young life, though, Tricia recalled walking into her mom’s bedroom and seeing her crying over bills. “My dad paid support and that made the house payment,” she explained. “When I was 11, I remember my mom struggling with three kids. Anyone can fall on hard times,” she added.
Even her dad and step-mom, she shared, lived “hand to mouth” at times. “He had to start a new company.” At one time, Tricia said, “They lived in a seedy apartment.” Divorce, she continued, “does hard things to people.”
“At 17 years old, I thought I knew everything,” Tricia said smiling. She shared that after receiving a regent’s diploma at her high school, she was given a scholarship to a community college. She studied business management but left school when she was 19 years old to marry and move to Texas with her husband (who she later divorced).
Her career, though, took off. “My career went from optician to finance,” Tricia said and explained that she became a district, then regional manager of an optical business, which she did for several years.
Around 2000, Tricia and her current husband relocated to the Kenosha, WI area for another regional manager position for an optical business. That was over 22 years ago. “It’s been a while,” she said smiling again. Then on September 9th, 2019, she started at Marine Credit Union (MCU). “It was a great day,” she said.
“The one great thing about MCU,” Tricia continued and paused. “I’ve seen, over the years, how management styles and personalities have changed. At MCU, they genuinely care about people.”
Does what she went through as a child of divorced parents help her serving others who have also gone through challenges in their lives?
“I believe everything in life happens for a reason,” Tricia shared. “My mom and dad loved each other, but they were not soulmates. They are happier now. Everything is just a stepping-stone so that you can learn and grow. Every challenge you go through … it strengthens your character.”
At MCU, she added, “I do what I do because I want to help members. It’s great when you can help someone who has been through challenges. Helping members is number one.”
“My team …,” she continued. “They are who I work for. They are the next generation.” As a Consumer Lending Market Manager at MCU, Tricia said it is her job to help her team grow. “I love watching them blossom. I work for them. They don’t work for me.”
Tricia laughed and asked that she doesn’t come across as a “softy” in her story. She knows people need to be held accountable and yet she said people would say that she cares too. “I’m a bit of an over-achiever and I’m goal oriented but, I’m big on the buy-in on my team to be there with them.”
“It’s really fun,” she added about her leading teams and acting as a servant leader. “For one thing, MCU allowed me to send my youngest to private Christian school.” She shared that one of the classes her son James will be taking in junior high next year is “Intro to Servant Leadership.” “He’s also taking intro to engineering and intro to finance. He loves it and he learns a little faith along the way.”
“A lot of my drive comes from my father,” Tricia said tearing up again. Her dad, she shared, held numerous patents. She explained that her dad and step-mom eventually became professors at Georgia Tech. “He always cared about people,” she added.
When asked what else she had to add, Tricia said, “I came to MCU because I really believed in the mission. I want to help people and we really help people. I love leading people. It’s my passion.” She said that MCU is her retirement plan. “This is it,” she added … smiling again.