Bridget Henning grew up along with her three siblings in the tiny town of Fullerton, North Dakota, located in the south-central portion of the state. She attended most of grade school there but transferred to the town of Oakes in 5th grade after Fullerton School closed its doors. “There were only three of us in our 4th grade class – and I loved the small-town life,” she recalled.
Sadly, her mother had a lot of health issues when the children were young and passed away from cancer at age 39, when Bridget was just 16. “I was truly in awe of how strong she was through all of the years of being sick,” she shared. “She had four kids, and always made sure we were well taken care of even when she couldn’t be there.”
Her family continued to reside in Fullerton until Bridget was 17, and even though the entire town was like an extended family, they moved to Oakes during her senior year, where she graduated in 2001. With a class of 52 – “just big enough” – she was involved in many activities, including student council, National Honor Society, band, volleyball, basketball, and DECA. She and several of her best friends even made it to National DECA and traveled to Anaheim, California for the competition, one of her favorite memories from school.
After graduating from high school, she attended the University of North Dakota (Go Sioux!) in Grand Forks, graduating with a Business Management degree in 2005. After receiving her degree, she began working at a community bank, first as a part-time teller, moving on to loan processing, and eventually became a personal banker with supervisory responsibilities.
One day, she was approached by a Dakota Plains Credit Union board member who asked if she might be interested in a branch manager position for the Ellendale Branch. She turned it down at first, but when she was approached a second time, she decided to accept the offer – and says she is so happy that she did!
Even though she started with little knowledge or experience in the credit union world, she is so thankful she started her career in the industry nine years ago. She, like many, was under the mistaken notion that credit unions were restricted to certain organizations or groups. Now, she is trying to educate others about the #CUDifference!
In her role, she manages an office with five employees, and is responsible for consumer lending, residential real estate lending, opening new accounts, CDs, IRAs and is also on the Marketing Committee and assists with training when needed. “As a manager in a small organization, we are expected to wear a lot of hats,” she explained.
“I really love the People Helping People philosophy more than anything,” she continued. “We truly try to help our members to the best of our ability. It’s very rewarding helping people improve their credit scores with the advice and help I have given them over the years. I also love the fact that other credit unions do not feel like our competition. We all support each other and share resources. It really is such a wonderful community!”
Besides her work at the credit union, Bridget is involved with the greater community as well. She has assisted with the Relay for Life for Dickey County for the past 15 years, and volunteers at the Ellendale Food Pantry with her church group. She serves on the Ellendale Chamber of Commerce, the Ellendale Job Development Authority, the Dickey County Job Development Authority, and is on the board for the Benedictine Living Community, a local nursing home and assisted living facility. She is a past Lions Club member, completed the Community Leadership Program through Dale Carnegie Training, completed the popular ULend Academy with DakCU, and continually educates herself through various CUNA training.
In her personal life, Bridget and her significant other, Corey, are raising three beautiful children: Ava, a freshman; Adam, 5th grade; and AJ, 2nd grade. As the mother of three, she says she has a deeper understanding and appreciation of all that her mother went through as she battled her illness; it inspires her to stay positive and to live with grace.
The family has two dogs – a Jack Russel Terrier named Squirt, and Shadow, a Mini Blue Heeler. They love to spend time at the lake after building a home there just one year ago. In her free time, you will probably find her cooking and baking, or playing games with her family. She might have a slight advantage at some of those games however! After an accident in her late teens that broke her arm, Bridget was forced to become ambidextrous. Now, she can write and use both hands equally well!
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