Credit Unions, Life and Everything in Between
I want to use this little corner of communication of mine as a knowledge exchange for the credit union industry, a place where I share ideas with you and you share them back. You can email me your feedback, thoughts or ideas and they might show up in a future column.
I may be the writer of this column, but consider yourself a co-producer, tasked with contributing ideas you want me to explore, and ultimately helping me create productive conversations around this dynamic industry.
Think a sophisticated blend of Maureen Dowd with a hint of Dear Abby, but specifically geared for the credit union industry. These ideas or questions can be about how to grow your marketing department, or advice on dealing with a difficult co-worker.
The possibilities are endless and I hope to explore so many of them here with you.
In the months to come I would like to discuss so many things with you including how to achieve a better work life balance, what financial technology companies are doing to improve the credit union experience, serving the underserved, healthy living and fitness, current events, regulations, updating your credit union's website and user testing (just to name a few).
Through this column, I hope you learn a few things, laugh, feel inspired and if I’m really doing my job, perhaps you’ll even shed a tear – a happy one of course!
I want this column to be a mix of commentary, but also hard news, meaning facts, statistics and interviews with experts. Because let's face it, I don't have all the answers, so I’d like to bring in people who do.
At this point, you may be wondering “Who is this girl and what the heck does she have to do with the credit union industry?”
Well, just a little bit about me: I’m a former tomboy from the coastal town of Tillamook, Oregon – land of cheese, trees and ocean breeze. By cheese, I mean the world famous Tillamook Cheese. You should try some if you haven't already.
I grew up nestled in the Tillamook Valley with the ocean to the west and the mountains to the east, a slice of natural heaven in between endless amounts of rain. I’m a recycling hippy at heart with news dork flair and a good sense of style. I like the unconventional, if you couldn't already tell from my name.
I’ve always had something to say. Always. My high school report cards are evidence of this. They were filled with a mixture of comments such as “talks excessively,” and “distracts other in class,” and “a pleasure to have in class” (thankfully, I had at least one teacher that liked me). But I’d like to think the distractions came from me having an excessive amount of things to say—all useful tidbits of highly intellectual 15-year-old fodder, I’m sure.
I was 16 years old when I took out my first auto loan for a 1988 rose-colored Toyota Camry from TLC Federal Credit in Tillamook. I thought I was riding high with my sunroof, automatic windows and air conditioning. Until, of course, the Tillamook winters hit and the sunroof leaked and flooded my car. Regardless of this small hiccup, the purchase of my first car marked the beginning of long relationship with the credit union industry.
After leaving the wonderful, yet soggy town of Tillamook, I went to the University of Oregon where I graduated with a degree in journalism. My obsession with news and current events outside my immediate boundaries led me to take my naïve, poor and hungry self to Washington, D.C., a city I had never visited, for a desk assistant position at the then-NewsHour with Jim Lehrer (now the PBS Newshour). I later became an assistant to Judy Woodruff who currently hosts the show.
I left the Newshour for a job at a production company creating interactive exhibits and films for museums such as The Holocaust Memorial Museum and The Jimmy Carter Library and Museum. After that, I continued working my way up through the media and communications industry.
And now here I am, with my own column. My high school English teachers probably can't believe it either. I still have plenty to say, but time, maturity and a journalism degree have humbled me and sprinkled me with what I’d like to believe is a little wisdom and I hope I’m able to share that with you through this column.
I initially joined CU Times as a freelance social media manager. After a brief hiatus, I came back as a reporter charged with writing the people column, Trailblazers 40 Below and Women to Watch. I’ll still continue writing the people column, but the Trailblazers 40 Below and Women to Watch have retired and will be replaced with this column. Now I’m a freelance writer and aspiring chef by night and media relations manager by day.
I look forward to receiving your comments and writing future columns. Happy New Year to you all and may you have a prosperous and productive 2017.
With that, I officially welcome you to “Unveiled, With Tahira Hayes” – a conversation about credit unions, life and everything in between.