by Shawn Marie Brummer, Communications Specialist
Lexie Kroeger grew up in Minot, North Dakota, where she attended Minot Catholic Schools from kindergarten through high school. She enjoyed the smaller class sizes, and says it was conducive to being very involved in school activities. She participated in sports, including basketball and track and field, as well as many other extracurricular activities. She was active in the local youth group, the Souris Valley United Way Youth Board, Key Club, Honor Society, Student Council, and was a member of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD).
During these years, Lexie also worked at their family-owned tire shop from the age of 12 on, performing a variety of tasks from shredding old documents, sweeping and mopping, being a courtesy driver, and even changing semi tires! “I believe this job shaped me into the hard worker I am today,” she shared.
In addition to the tire shop, at age 17 she got a second job at Tutti Frutti, a local frozen yogurt shop. Before long, she was offered an assistant manager position, which proved to be a valuable learning opportunity. After graduating from high school, she moved to Arizona to attend Grand Canyon University. However, she soon discovered she missed her family, and returned home to attend Minot State University.
According to Lexie, credit unions have been in her blood forever. Her grandmother had served on the board of directors at a local credit union, which led to Lexie’s first savings account. She remembers as a child, visiting the credit union and getting treats from Pee Wee Penguin while attending special events. When she first left for college, she discussed opening an account at a “big bank,” thinking it would give her easier access to her money, but luckily, her mother talked her out of it – something for which she says hindsight has made her very grateful!
She first became a credit union employee in 2017 when she was hired at Town & Country Credit Union as a Member Service Representative (MSR). However, less than two years later, she was offered a position to work for a stockbroker. In short time, she says she knew it was a terrible mistake and she wanted to return to the credit union industry.
When a position opened for an MSR at GEM Federal Credit Union, she applied, was passed over, but shortly thereafter was offered the position in 2019. “I knew this was a moment that I was waiting for,” she stated. Since working at GEM, she has received her Credit Union Development Education (CUDE) designation through the National Credit Union Foundation, which she calls a life-changing experience.
“It really helped me define why I am part of the credit union movement,” she explained. “Financial stability is attainable by anyone, but it’s our job to work through the barriers that are making it difficult for people to achieve.”
She continues, “Although my title is MSR, my main concern is making sure our members financial needs are met. I especially enjoy working at a small credit union because you get to do a little of everything! My day can range from processing accounts payable, to assisting members in a fraud situation, processing ACH, opening a new account, designing a newsletter, brainstorming a new loan promotion, as well as pulling weeds and watering the flowers in the front garden. But what I enjoy most about the credit union industry is the empowerment and difference we can make in someone’s life. Everything we do is always focused on the common good of our people – I couldn’t imagine working anywhere else.”
Part of the reason Lexie enjoys her job so much is because of her co-workers. Kim Colbenson, Gem’s President/CEO, has been a valuable mentor. “From the moment I started at GEM, Kim has pushed me to succeed in my career,” Lexie shared. “She saw my potential and has not limited me to just my MSR title; she has allowed for me to express my hopes and dreams, provided resources that I could learn from, and has given me freedom and guidance to push myself in ways I would have never imagined. I am thankful that she has believed in me.”
Lexie also credits another key individual in her success, Susan Bergman, GEM’s Membership Development Officer. “Sue keeps me grounded and provides guidance and assistance to allow for my dreams to take off. She holds me accountable and keeps me focused on the end goal.”
Besides working full-time at the credit union, Lexie is a member of the Minot Area Chamber- EDC Ambassadors Committee. She also serves as treasurer of the Minot Young Professionals group, and most recently founded the CU Emerging Leaders group at the Credit Unions United Chapter. This allows young professionals an opportunity to find their “why” and understand their purpose in the credit union industry. She has previously served as chair on the Credit Unions United Chapter Board, and currently helps teach financial literacy through Junior Achievement at local schools, all while continuing to pursue her bachelor’s degree in finance.
In her personal life, Lexie is mom to a two-year-old son named Jax. When she is not working, Lexie and Jax can usually be found at her parents’ farm, enjoying time with their large extended family. They also enjoy long road trips, and most recently traveled all the way to the West Coast! Even though winter is her least favorite season, North Dakota is home to her, and she can’t imagine living anywhere else. (Well, maybe when the air hurts her face, and the temperature drops far below freezing.) Still, there’s always three other seasons to look forward to!
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