In the Spotlight: Meet Tammy Fischer from First Community!
by Shawn Marie Brummer
Communications & Media Specialist

Tammy Fischer grew up on a dairy farm near the small town of Villard, Minnesota in the west-central part of the state. With four brothers, she was considered the “rose” among the thorns at home, and enjoyed playing the piano, although she did get dirty with the best of them, riding horse, racing snowmobiles, and participating in 4-H activities. During her school days, she was a cheerleader, homecoming princess, played volleyball and basketball, and was a member of the school’s Annual Committee, and played saxophone in band. She graduated from high school in 1975 in the biggest class the school had seen – with 36 classmates.

Following high school, she attended Alexandria Technical and Community College in Alexandria, Minnesota, where she received her Associates Degree. She later studied marketing at Lake Region State College in Devils Lake, North Dakota.

She started her career in the financial industry working at 1st National Bank, where she spent 17 years in various positions, including administrative assistant to the president and Ag lender for 12 years. During this time, she attended the North Dakota School of Banking. She then moved into a marketing role for about 5 years. However, when 1st National Bank was bought out by Bremer Bank, many of the longtime employees were let go, including Tammy.

She started looking for a new job, when she came across a marketing position with Lake Region Credit Union (which was later renamed Citizens Community Credit Union). “Coming from the banking industry to the credit union world, I had to be deprogrammed,” she stated. She not only dove into her new job, she took charge of her own learning, and began educating herself about credit unions by taking advantage of opportunities through the ND Credit Union League, including completing the Star and Merit certifications. She also completed CU Digital University Plus.

She held several different positions and roles after moving to Lake Region/Citizens Community Credit Union; first she was on the marketing team, then moved into a position of Executive Assistant to the President, then Director of Operations and Training, Director of Marketing, and finally Executive Coordinator.

Two years ago, Citizens Community CU merged into First Community Credit Union, and Tammy kept her position as Executive Coordinator. As such, her responsibilities are wide and numerous. She works on many special projects and events, as well as the overall marketing for the Lake Region area. She also assists in scanning loan documents and membership cards into the core system.

Of all her tasks, she especially enjoys the creative side of working on projects and performing functions within the community on behalf of the credit union, including supporting First Community CU’s quarterly charities. “I like the fact that credit unions operate on the principle of people helping people, and that we are member owned. There have been a lot of wonderful people that have crossed my path during my career that I have developed a relationship with, who have offered me support, guidance, wisdom,” she says.

Helping people is something that Tammy truly believes in. She served on the board of directors at the Lake Region College Foundation for eight years. She has been a member of a committee for the Lake Region State College Library, which was a partnership between the American Library Association and FINRA Investor Education Foundation.

Perhaps her greatest enjoyment, however, comes in the area of financial education. She has held several seminars in Devils Lake, Grand Forks and at the Air Force Base in Grand Forks for the adults and college students. She personally developed a classroom presentation for elementary students, where she took Pee Wee Penguin into the classrooms to teach financial literacy. “It was a fun hands-on learning experience for the students. They learned how to write and cash checks, and how to balance their checkbook. The program stressed saving money and spending it wisely,” she explained.

Tammy has been making classroom presentations for as long as CUAD has been tracking them, since 2001. One school year, Tammy and another credit union employee reached nearly 1,000 students with the financial literacy course, traveling from Devils Lake, to Lakota, McVille, and Cando. They also presented the course at Marketplace for Kids in Devils Lake, Grand Forks and Northwood for many years, while donating educational financial literature to surrounding libraries in the lake region area. She even earned the award for “Most Improved Classroom Presenter” from CUAD in 2013.

In addition to putting in many hours of volunteer work for her credit union, Tammy is a community-minded person on her own time. She is a member of the Elks Club, where she volunteers throughout the year for decorating and fundraisers. She also taught Sunday school for 16 years at St. Olaf Lutheran Church, and has served as secretary for the Republican Women group.

In her personal life, Tammy has three sons: John recently finished his Graphic Arts degree, works for Perficient in Fargo, and is getting married in June; Garrett is working on the family farm in the Devils Lake area and loves to hunt and fish; and Cole, who served our country for four years in the Marine Corps, and is now at NDSU majoring in Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

In her free time, Tammy loves to work out every day, and during the warmer seasons, enjoys kayaking, pontoon rides, exploring in the Ranger ATV, and flower gardening. She has traveled quite extensively abroad, most recently with trips to London, the British Isles, and Paris. A few years ago, she traveled to Spain and the Mediterranean, and this spring, she will be touring Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands. She also takes advantage of many travel opportunities with her fiancé, David Lee, whose job takes them to different areas of the country. They love meeting new people along the way and learning more about how they live in other US states.

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