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Mariah's Journey at NWCU

“My trajectory so far has been a combination of my ambition and the credit union providing opportunity.”

Mariah is a Senior Financial Analyst here at Northwest Community Credit Union. She’s been with the credit union for 11 years and has an amazing journey.

Joining NWCU

Mariah joined the credit union as a teller in our West 11th branch in Eugene, two weeks after she graduated from high school. She was quickly promoted to vault teller: “I like to position myself as a pillar in my communities and be supportive and help how I can,” she says.

While working at the West 11th branch in Eugene, she learned about the Tuition Assistance program. “I heard about tuition assistance because one of my colleague tellers was using it while going to college. So I started taking online and night courses at Lane Community College to get my Associate’s degree. Because I was taking night/online classes, I was able to still work full time and get the maximum benefit of tuition assistance.”

From the Eugene branch, Mariah applied for a teller position at the Gateway branch in Springfield, which was then also the location of NWCU’s headquarters. While working as a teller at Gateway, a position opened up in the call center.

She was close to finishing up her associate’s degree and knew she wanted to go on to get her bachelor’s at the University of Oregon. “I had been working at the credit union for a while and knew that our call center was a special call center—there’s a lot of personality to it. And I knew the schedule would be more flexible since there are longer hours,” said Mariah. So her next move was to the phone branch, now called Member Connect.

Focusing on the Future

When she enrolled at the University of Oregon, Mariah dropped to working part-time in the phone branch for a few years so she could focus on getting her degree. Within a month of getting her degree in Business, she applied for an assistant position in the Business Services department and became a Business Coordinator soon after that. From there, she moved into the Finance department: “In a matter of two years, I’ve gone from Data Analyst to Card Portfolio Analyst to Senior Financial Analyst and I have someone directly reporting to me!”

Mariah says, “I feel like my journey through the credit union has been a lot of blazing my own path. A lot of the positions I’ve had didn’t exist before I held them—there was no one doing the things I was doing before I was in Business or Finance. My trajectory so far has been a combination of my ambition and the credit union providing opportunity.”

A Whole Self at Work

Mariah has made good use of the benefits that NWCU provides employees, from using Tuition Assistance to earn her bachelor’s degree to taking advantage of the health benefits the credit union provides.

“I get a massage every month, that’s self-care. But I wouldn’t do that every month if I didn’t have that benefit,” Mariah shares. “That’s been a huge improvement to my life. The credit union encourages that—every boss I’ve worked for here encourages work-life balance.”

mariah yoga.jpg Yoga is a huge part of Mariah’s life. In addition to working full-time at NWCU, she teaches several different types of yoga at a few studios in Eugene. She also brings her yoga practice and expertise to fellow NWCU employees by leading a yoga class during Development Days, NWCU’s internal training days.

“I’m allowed to bring my spiritual, yoga self within the walls of this office and it’s accepted. Working at the credit union has enabled me to be a better yoga teacher because of the fact that it provides such stability in my life, financial and otherwise. I am supported by my community here at the credit union and that allows me to operate and share my yoga practice from a solid foundation,” says Mariah.

Fulfilling a purpose also makes Mariah’s work very meaningful to her. “The biggest way that the credit union brings value to my life is in the way that I am challenged in a really productive and fulfilling way. The work that I do requires that I learn new things all the time and the results of the work that I do helps our leaders improve the health of our credit union. It’s so fulfilling and brings me so much joy!” Mariah chirps. “The people that I work with are all super inspired and passionate, they care about our members and making things better for them. It’s really inspiring to work with a group of engaged and passionate people.”

A New Adventure

Mariah has always loved being active: she does daily yoga, snowboards, and hikes! But soon, she’ll be embarking on a totally outdoor adventure, hiking the Pacific Crest Trail!

The Pacific Crest Trail is a continuous 2,660 miles of trail that goes from the border of Mexico to the border of Canada. Mariah estimates that it will probably take her 5 ½ months to hike the full distance.

With such an intense time commitment, you’d think that this has been on Mariah’s lifelong bucket list. In fact, it wasn’t on her radar until last year. A fellow snowboarder planted the idea in her head because he was preparing to take the same hike. “When he talked about it, I saw this spark in his eyes, it was so inspiring,” she says. “He mentioned that he thought I would be a great thru-hiker. From that conversation we had, it really planted a seed.” (A thru-hiker is someone who does a continuous hike from point to point.)

Mariah leaves to start the Pacific Crest Trail later this month. Follow her progress on our Instagram account (she’ll be sending visual postcards along her trip to @northwest_community) or follow along using her Instagram (@mariah.jacques) and hashtag: #mariahsPCTadventure. You can also learn how she budgeted for this trip!