by Shawn Marie Brummer, Communications Specialist
Tamra Kriedeman grew up in the small town of Carrington, North Dakota, located about 40 miles northwest of the city of Jamestown. She says both of her parents had an amazing work ethic and were strong influences on her early development. “My mother taught me the most important thing in life is to be kind, and my dad, aside from passing down the ‘creative gene,’ taught me to never give up, and never take no for an answer,” she shared.
With her parents’ support, she was eager to graduate early from high school, and completed her education through the alternative Woodrow Wilson Community High School in Fargo. Since then, she has pursued many different forms and sources of education, ranging from baking technology to website development and design, to grant writing and economic development, to credit analysis, real estate finance, and management skills. Each certificate and diploma prepared her for the next step in her ever-advancing career.
In 1993, Tamra and her husband, Rex, moved to Enderlin where she worked at a little shop called Dakota Delights, a unique small business that sold new, old, and vintage goods. She worked for a time at ALCO Discount Stores in Lisbon, ND, where she was a front-end manager, then she was offered a position with the Enderlin Independent Newspaper as a writer, office manager, and webmaster. Next, she worked for H.E.A.R.T., a “living at home” health-related organization, where she was program director. Then, she was the operations manager for the Enderlin Inn, a local hotel, before starting her own “Just For You Jewelry” company, designing and selling her own creations. For the next ten years, she took her traveling boutique to shows all around North Dakota and Minnesota to sell her one-of-a-kind award-winning pieces, something she still does on a part-time basis today.
When Rex retired in 2014, the two set off with their cat, Houdini, travelling to Arizona where they were volunteers for the Forest Service in the Dragoon Mountains. There, they lived in a canvas tent for three months, exploring Arizona, meeting lots of people, and experiencing rugged mountain living. The couple enjoyed it so much, they returned the following year for another three-month stint of volunteering.
Her career with credit unions began in October 2017. Tamra began looking for a job with health insurance and benefits, and while she never imagined herself working in the “banking” industry, she applied and was hired by the Enderlin Branch of Dakota Plains Credit Union as a Member Service Representative. “Now I know from the beginning, every job I have ever had and all the skills I have learned were grooming me for this,” she stated.
From the beginning, she understood the importance of being an educated credit union professional, and began expanding her knowledge through various resources, but particularly taking advantage of the many opportunities offered through CUNA. Between 2017 and today, she has completed a plethora of classes (too many to mention) and received multiple certifications in Credit Union Sales, Serving Members, General Operations, Frontline Operations, Security and Fraud, and Credit Union Sales, just to name a few.
Tamra has excelled in her credit union career, in part because she quickly grasped the importance of member service and maintaining member relationships. In May of 2020 she was promoted to lead MSR and Assistant to the Branch Manager, and this summer, on June 1, 2021, she was named the new Enderlin Branch Manager.
In her new role, she assists with strategic planning for products, sales, services, and branch operations. She is also responsible for mentoring and training employees and assists in policy creation for member service. On any given day, she may help solve technical or operational issues, collaborate with other branch managers as part of the Marketing Team, create the credit union’s social media posts, and ensure the facility is properly managed and secure. She still works the teller line for a few hours each week, which keeps her in touch with the front-end staff and connected with the community.
“You just have to love people in this business,” she says. “I love the credit union philosophy of people helping people, and I see it all the time when people come to us because ‘big box banks’ are unwilling to help. I also love that Dakota Plains has generations of families as members – we see grandparents, parents, kids, and grandkids, and that is a huge pat on the back when you see them all doing business with us.”
Even before working at the credit union, Tamra was closely connected to the community. She has been a previous volunteer/board member for the Enderlin Sunflower Festival, where she helped to develop “Enerlinopoloy” – a Monopoly-like board game featuring Enerlin Businesses, which proved to be a very successful fundraiser. She has been a member of the Ransom County Job Development Authority, a champion for the Ransom County Tourism Action Team, and an instructor for Women and Technology Curriculum. She has been recognized as a “Governor’s Choice” Professional Developer of the Year nominee, received the Greater ND Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership Award, was the Emerging New Artist for the Grand Forks ArtFest, and received a First Place Award for the “Shardana” Bracelet-International Juried Art Exhibit.
Over the past few years, she has been continuing her volunteerism at a local thrift store that benefits the H.E.A.R.T. program, and she continues to look for ways to give back. One goal she has for the future is to expand financial literacy and counseling for members and youth in the community.
In her personal life, Tamra will be celebrating 30 years of marriage with her husband, Rex, on August 30th – the man she says has helped her to stand up for what she believes in and reinforces her belief that honesty and integrity are everything. They have one daughter Megan, who shares her life with Adam Krueger, and three grandchildren: Keaton (15); Bailey (14); and Sully (8). She is a self-proclaimed “Lefse Master” – who has been known to travel to each credit union branch to make and serve the Norwegian treat for visiting members. Her Lefse skills are only outshined by her cooking and baking skills; her recipes have been published in several cookbooks and she even received second place in a Taste of Home contest.
When she is not working, or designing in her studio, or creating in her kitchen, you are likely to find Tamra with her faithful feline friend, Houdini, preening her many plants. Or, you may run into her and Rex out exploring the backroads of North Dakota in their Jeep. The two also enjoy hiking and touring and have experienced the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim, as well as a 28-day tour of the Al-Can Highway.
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