With National Linemen’s Day just behind us, we’re honored to share a guest post from Self-Help Marketing and Communications Manager Glynis Fekete. Glynis relates her experiences growing up with Jacksonville Utilities Credit Union, one of several credit unions that have become part of the Self-Help family over the years.
A young Glynis at one of Jax Metro's annual meetings
While many kids have fond memories of playgrounds and parties, my childhood memories are a bit different. I spent hours on 27th Street in Jacksonville, Florida playing in the lobby and behind the teller line of a credit union. Each year I eagerly looked forward to a big “party” that was actually an annual meeting.
You see, my mother became the CEO of Jacksonville Utilities Credit Union in 1995, when I was five years old. When she was there, I was often there, too – after school, on school holidays, at evening events and even on weekends when my mother needed to work.
The annual meetings were among my favorite times at the credit union. I enjoyed being a part of the credit union family and going early to help set up (though I was probably just underfoot for the first year or two). Each year we would give each member who attended a $10 bill, and we would also distribute prizes through a raffle. I was allowed to pick the winning numbers, and then I would deliver the prize to the winner. As I did this year after year, many members watched me grow up, and there was a genuine family feeling among us.
My mother’s approach to the credit union was a big part of the family feeling, too. I got to see how she—Sheree Eddie—loved the job and cared about the members. She knew most everyone by name, and she was passionate about giving members fair and affordable financial services and making them feel like part of the credit union family, too. This was always true, even as Jacksonville Utilities grew and became Jax Metro Credit Union.
As just one example, I remember we had an older member who had dementia. Frequently the member would make deposits then forget that she had made them. She would become certain that the money had been stolen from her. Time and again I saw my mother sit down with her and patiently show her proof that the member had withdrawn the funds herself. My mother took time to calm the member and reassure her without shaming her in any way. Memories like that stick with you.
The members were very good to us, too. Another memory I treasure is the care we received from a member, Arthur, who also served on the staff as a custodian. Arthur was very supportive of my mother, and when it was necessary for my mother to work late, he wouldn’t leave the premises until she was safely in her car. Whenever I think of the immense loyalty of Jax Metro members, I think of him.
Glynis serving Jax Metro members as a teller and later marketing manager
When I became a young adult, my mother gave me my first real job as a teller. It was not a job I was passionate about, but it was great experience. At this time, I was also pursuing a college degree in Marketing and Communications. It was my good fortune when a marketing position came open in the credit union. My mother allowed me to take on the job temporarily, just until we found someone else to fill the role. I absolutely loved the job and, needless to say, I filled that role permanently.
Having these jobs in the credit union gave me a strong sense of purpose, and also helped me understand in a new way my mother’s passion for this work. Her leadership gave me a lot to live up to. Through her, I learned the value of hard work and the importance of pursuing a career that serves others. Even now, as a mother myself, I can’t imagine doing any other kind of work. I am passionate and love being in the nonprofit world, and even though I’m often at my desk or in meetings, my favorite part of the job is visiting branches, seeing members and giving branch staff the support they need to serve our members well.
As my mother often would say, “Without our members, we are without a mission” Thank you to our members for your continued support and for being part of our credit union family.
Jax Metro staff
You can learn more about Jax Metro’s history and role in the Jacksonville community by watching our latest Legacy video. In it, you’ll hear Jax Metro founders recount their experiences bringing Jacksonville utility workers and community members together to build a safe and affordable place to save money and get loans.