Every workplace has employees, but at ACU the people truly form a tight-knit community who get to know each other, their families, friends and the members that make up the credit union.
In the spirit of this community, the ACU Employee Spotlight series will feature some of the people that have worked at the credit union. Some for many years, others for just a short time. Some will have financial jobs and others might be designers. Some always dreamed of working for ACU, and others never knew these types of roles existed before they applied. It’s the diversity of our employees, members and community at large that makes us happy to be part of something great than the individual parts.
Let’s shine the spotlight on Heather Sadowy, Cash Management Specialist at ACU, and get to know her role, how she got started in 2004, how others could follow in her footsteps, and maybe a few extra tidbits we never expected!
Getting to know Heather:
Question (Q): How long have you worked at ACU?
It will be 15 years in September!
Q. Describe a “day in the life” of your role.
Every day is different…which is what I like about it. My day consists of helping existing and potential business members with their day-to-day banking needs. So I could be meeting with someone in person to go over a new service they are thinking of implementing or giving them a walkthrough over the phone on how to complete certain tasks.
I might be completing business Visa applications, or troubleshooting online banking issues. I could be reviewing a members’ account activity to make sure they are in right account and giving recommendations on products that will make their banking more efficient.
I work independently but also as part of a small team in our Business Financial Centre, and I often work in partnership with our branch staff to provide our business and non-profit members with the best possible service.
Q. What is your favourite part of working at ACU?
I like working for an organization that does good things, and working with people who truly believe in the work ACU is doing for our community.
Q. What’s a fun fact about yourself that most people wouldn’t know?
I can play the tuba! (Actually, it’s been a while, but I am sure it’s like riding a bike).
Helping others kickstart their careers:
Q. How did you get started in the financial industry?
I never set out to work in the financial industry. I came from a customer service background, having been working in retail and restaurants. ACU was where I had my first and only bank account.
I was in the branch one day depositing my paycheque and it just occurred to me that this was customer service, too. So I figured I would apply and give it a shot!
Q. How has your role evolved since you started?
The first three years I was working in our downtown branches as a Member Service Representative (MSR) and then a Senior Member Service Representative (SMSR). I was really interested in the work being done in our Community Financial Centre, so when an opening for an Administrator role came up in that department, I applied.
After a couple of years in that role, I moved into a Community Account Officer role, providing more in-depth support to our account managers and members in the Small Business, Non-Profit and Co-op sectors. In 2016, the Cash Management Specialist role was created and the experience I had gained with our business banking products over the years helped me to be the successful candidate in implementing a new role at ACU.
Q. What advice would you give to someone interested in a job like yours?
Don’t be afraid to try it! You don’t have to start off as an expert. As long as you have a customer service mindset and genuine desire to help members make their experience as easy and as painless as possible, you will learn all the products in no time.
Q. Why would you encourage people to work at ACU in particular?
ACU is so much more than a financial institution. Not only are there plenty of opportunities to develop your professional skills, but there are also so many other opportunities and things you will be exposed to in your role.
In my time at ACU, I have been on the employee-led Community Grants Committee and Emerging Leaders Committee, delivered United Way fundraising campaigns, written articles for our Asterisk newsletter, volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and the CCEDNET Gathering, participated in a Kairos blanket exercise and Mikinak-Keya Spirit Tour with our Indigenous Leadership Circle, attended a National Credit Union conference, participated in project teams to roll out new initiatives in the company — and the list goes on and on.
Q. What brings you the most joy from being part of ACU?
I love working with a group of people that are all focused on and dedicated to the same goal.
The future of our community
Q. Why would you encourage people to become an ACU member?
There is no shortage of places to bank, and you can have good (or bad) experiences anywhere. What I would urge people to think about is that when you bank with a credit union, the profits are being reinvested into the community, not into the pockets of a few shareholders like they are with a bank.
ACU is a local, member-owned co-operative — and as a member, you have a say in how your credit union is run and who is elected to represent you on the Board of Directors.
If you’re someone that thinks about supporting local business, caring for the environment, or bettering your communities, there’s no question that ACU is where you should be banking.