How I Started My 25 Years at CUNA
From Ellis Waller:
It was April Fools day, 1985 when I arrived at CUNA for a job interview. Dressed in a gray business suit, with dark gray socks, black shoes, white shirt and a tasteful stripped tie, Glen Farrell ushered me into Wes Millar’s office for an interview.
CUNA Strategic Services was then called CUNA Supply and was located on the ground floor across from the stock room. At that time, CUNA was in the ad specialty business and the stock room was filled with more teddy bears, key chains, note pads, baseball hats, and statement stuffers than you can imagine.
Wes and I hit it off well and after a while he asked me to write the answers to several marketing questions he had prepared. I was being interviewed for the Marketing Manager position. Long known for my unreadable handwriting, I told Wes that I would need to borrow a typewriter because he would not be able to read my handwriting. He obliged and asked Glenn Farrell to give up her desk outside his office to let me use her typewriter.
It was a new IBM Selectric. Some recent, and younger CUNA staffers, are unfamiliar with the Selectric. But back in the 1980s, clerical staff would almost fight to have one. On the Selectric, the type fonts were embossed on a small silver ball that rotated up and down, right and left and front and back. Each ball, (they were interchangeable, thus the name Selectric) had the full alphabet in lower and upper case, numbers from 0 to 9, and the symbols that are found on the current PC keyboard. It was very fast, but when you made a mistake you had to use Whiteout, to correct it.
The puzzled looks on people’s faces were a delight to see when they came into CUNA Supply and saw me typing away at a secretary’s desk. I must have scored well on the Wes Test or else Wes was playing an April Fools day joke on me, but he hired me and I showed up the next week, again dressed in gray and black. I stayed for 25 more years, moving around among various CUNA Departments.
I have truly enjoyed my twenty-five years at CUNA and working with the Councils has been a great capstone for my career. What a pleasure it is to see the Councils grow, prosper and achieve new degrees of professionalism each year. I am delighted to be leaving on an up-tick with membership at an all time high and still growing.
We have a great team, a great mission, and a great organization here at CUNA. I am proud to have been part of it all!
Ellis Waller is the Membership Manager for the CUNA Councils. He will be retiring in a few weeks after twenty-five years at the Credit Union National Association.