Marine Stories We consist of a diverse group of people brought together by common beliefs: Courage, Collaboration, Compassion, Commitment – and Advancing Lives. Our Marine community is rich with stories that inspire us professionally and personally.
Bill James is clearly passionate about family. He and his wife Cathy have six children, two they adopted from Russia. Bill said he is proud to help lead an organization that helps others. He explained that MCU has partnered with “Gift of Adoption” to help MCU members and employees who have run into financial hardships completing their adoption process. “Knowing we are helping others conclude adoption … it’s a beautiful thing.”
Toni Berman shared that she has been everyone’s “cheerleader” her whole life and now uses this personality trait to empathize with Marine Credit Union members as she helps them to achieve financial security. She said she gets her passion to serve others from her dad who was “the sweetest thing” and was “everybody’s friend.”
Carly Appel, Director of Branch Service Operations, said she feels “so fortunate” to be a part of MCU. “My team is so inspiring,” she shared. “It feeds my soul … how we are helping people in the community. It makes me feel good about the work that I’m doing every day.”
Coming from a background of financial instability as a child, Erin Wencl shared she is able to help Marine Credit Union members because she can see things from their perspective. “When you slow down and seek to understand, rather than being reactive, that is when you can truly help others. It’s amazing how my life experiences have led me to this experience … this job.”
Having to endure hardships as a child growing up without her biological father and having been bullied as a teen, Daena Anzalone survived by being kind and learned the value in serving others. “Kindness goes a long way,” she said. At MCU, she added, “I really like the fact that I’m able to help people.”
“One of my favorite quotes is about it not mattering where you’re at right now but what matters most is which way you are walking,” Majel Hein shared. As a financial counselor and the creator of the MCU Foundation Finding HOME program, Majel spends up to 18 months “diving in” and discovering what these families are capable of – to put them on the path to home ownership. “It’s amazing to watch,” she said.
Renee (Nay Nay) Potaracke blames her parents for her compassionate and patient soul. She loves to travel and loves helping Marine Credit Union members. Even though she admitted that working in a call center can sometimes get a little “crazy,” she is able to help MCU members by putting herself in their shoes. She asks herself, “What would I want if it was me?”
Abi Ruediger said she is “very lucky” and blessed with her family, her work family, and her job at Marine Credit Union. Having previously recovered from her own financial hardships, Abi approaches those she serves as a Consumer Loan Office with compassion and empathy, even sharing her own story to help others learn to recover.
After nearing death during her battle with breast cancer, Chris Pace said she believes God had a plan for her. As a busy and successful realtor, Chris began asking herself, “Is this the life I want?” Soon after, she was recruited for a position at MCU. As an MCU Mortgage Loan Officer, she said of the first couple she was able to help, “They took a leap of faith with MCU. It’s a special place.”
Chelsi Quinn, Senior Central Mortgage Loan Representative, said she feels good about helping people on their financial journey at Marine Credit Union. “The secret sauce,” Chelsi said, “is about human nature. People remember how you made them feel. There are consequences about how they will feel. We can call and empower them. We can let them be heard and give them hope.”
Nick Palen said there is a “homey” feel at MCU. “Community is everything,” he said of the organization. He added that being encouraged to volunteer and fundraise locally gives him the feeling that he is “personally making a difference” in his community.
Like her mother who was a nurse in her hometown of West Allis, Joanne Busack has a passion to serve and loves her work at MCU. “I truly enjoy what I do, I hope that every new and existing employee feels that compassion. It’s such an honor and blessing to love what you do.” Joann said she “thrives on solving members situations. It gives me total satisfaction helping them on a better financial path.”
Brooke Rockouski, a senior at UW-La Crosse, is serving as an intern at Marine Credit Union (MCU) for Marketing/Communications. Brooke said she has grown professionally and has felt valued at MCU. “I love it,” she said. “I love the people I interact with. I really like getting to know everyone. We do collaborate and I know I can rely on different people from different departments.”
Reggie Franklin has over 20 years of experience building relationships in sales, yet it wasn’t until coming to Marine Credit Union (MCU) 1 1/2 years ago that he felt he was a part of something bigger. He said, “A true commitment to helping the community” wasn’t something he was used to but has found at MCU. “I really like it.”
Chris Steinert has a passion for volunteering and serving the community. “I see the value of being involved in helping,” he shared. He said his previous job got in his way of helping. Working at MCU with a mission to serve the community, Chris said works for him. “I can help people while I’m working. It’s a good way to help people on the daily,” he added.
Dylan Hericks, Business Applications Administrator, said that IT can be “tough.” But he said he “loves” his job and has a great team at MCU. “Something’s going to break. You have to be flexible and prepared.” he said. “We have a good idea of the issues. It comes from experience … knowing how the technology works.”
Sonia McCabe’s caring nature, she shared, comes from her mother and step-father who worked hard and always went out of their way to help others. Sonia said she learned to go out of her way to care for her team from her leaders at MCU. Sonia has been with MCU for over 21 years. “I love my job, my team and what I do,” Sonia shared.
Initiator of the Heart of MCU project, Caitlin Wilson learned to create connection through storytelling at a young age. “In the world, we rush past people. Loneliness has become an epidemic. That gift that you can give another person … to hear them and tell their story and preserve it and push it out into the world. What an honor.”
Marie MacGlashin said it was important to her to work for an organization that aligns with her personal values and encourages her to serve the underserved in her community. “We only have one shot at this,” Marie shared. “You want to know you are making a difference … leaving a legacy.”
After a few career moves, Joshua Russell said of Marine Credit Union, “The buck stops here. God orders our steps and everything we do. MCU aligns with how I like to help people – empower people. It’s not just about closing the deal,” he added. “We help people take control of their finances.”
Kris Culligan said she has made a life-commitment to help people, help her team and her community. After sharing her personal story of overcoming difficulties and trauma as a child, Kris shared that she gets her strength through her “strong relationship with God. My heart is to help people,” she said. “I have a strong faith. I want to help them find that within themselves.”
Sabina Guyer said she learned that it is important to have compassion after growing up in a broken home and having spent time in foster care. She now spends time learning about those she serves and listening to their stories. “It’s not about the sales numbers,” she said. “It’s about knowing that I am helping people in my community.”
Using a difficult past to become “the person others need,” Valerie Williams now serves her community and MCU members with compassion and empathy. She “steps up” at work and in her personal life and says she aligns personally with the MCU core values of compassion, collaboration, commitment, and courage. “MCU,” Valerie said, “aligns with who I am as a person.”
George French III
George French III shared that he got his passion to serve the community growing up with a midwestern farm family mentality. It was all about helping your neighbors. “People helping people is a smart business model,” he said, and he gets to do so every day as a mortgage lender at MCU. “My job is great,” he shared. “I get to help people for a living.”
Molly Slater’s positive attitude and team spirit helped her raise her son as a single-mom and helps her create a caring environment for her community and for MCU members. She is always going out of her way to go above and beyond the normal responsibilities of her job. “You just have to be a good person,” she said. “Do the right thing. You have to go to bed with yourself every night.”
Evan Schwanke’s goal is to lead with compassion and empathy and help people who are his friends and neighbors. “Treat others the way you want to be treated,” Evan said. And at MCU, he added, “We mean it here.”
Inspired by the resiliency of her mother, Kaitlyn Rowe said she is passionate about living out the core values of MCU. She explained how her collections department uses education, compassion, and empathy to help their members and others in the community reach financial success.
“I truly love MCU for the opportunities they have provided and the motivation to be a better person and for the money they give us to help the community,” Malissa shared. “MCU is a company that truly cares.”
Ed recalled a memory when he was only five years old seeing his father break down and cry when he closed on their family home. Ed uses his experiences growing up in a family who immigrated to the U.S. to now help individuals with what he called “challenging credit” and “unique lending needs”.
After having experienced financial hardships as a young mom, Kirstin Kisgen now works as a CUNA certified financial counselor to help educate Marine Credit Union members. “It takes compassion,” she said. “Sometimes there are tough conversations. But we are in it together.”
Growing up in an extreme traditional culture, Maira Sarfraz shares her story of overcoming an abusive arranged marriage so she can help others. “I know my voice can help to inspire others,” Maira said, “even if I can only help one other person. The company I work for encourages that.”
Mellony Thesing clearly has a passion for serving animals she helps to rescue as well as members she serves at Marine Credit Union (MCU). Being able to volunteer on company time to help her community and help rescue animals is one reason why Mellony said she is grateful to work at MCU.
Inspired by a “challenging” previous boss and a sister who lost her life in 2018 to Leukemia, Brenda Stone said, “My day is successful when I can help someone or help them feel better.” Brenda strives to do so every single day … personally and professionally.
“Collections isn’t always an easy job,” Dean Chady shared during his interview. Yet Dean said his team at MCU has responded by being compassionate and that MCU has embraced that attitude. “It’s not good for the world,” he said, “when we lose sight of the human aspect.”
Following in her own mother’s example, Amy Ortega shared that she loves to help people. “I tend to want to be giving,” Amy shared. “I was shocked to work for a place who loved me for that.”
Zach Hancock is the Senior Consumer Loan Officer at Marine Credit Union (MCU). He explained that he works with loans and finds ways to help members save money. But that is not all of what Zach does. After serving an MCU member who...
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tim Rauschl returned to the corporate Marine Credit Union office for the first time in over a year and a half for a meeting and his Heart of MCU interview. He said it was a temporary visit, though,...
Linda Gurath started her career in finances while she was still in high school. She explained that her mother worked as a manager for a financial company during that time. “She had to get permission from her district manager in order for me...
Robert shared he came across a classified ad that “spoke” to him. “We offer talented and motivated people the opportunity to do the best work of their lives.” The position was the Director of First Impressions – La Crosse at Marine Credit Union. “I’m in the middle of my 12th year at MCU and love it,” Robert said with a dashing smile.