In honor of Women's History Month, the Polk County Pulse asked community members to nominate Women in Business. Eight women were selected by a third party to be honored as outstanding women in business.
My wife, Regina, was chosen as one of the Outstanding Women in Business. This is the article from the March 17, 2021. issue of The Polk County Pulse.
Regina is the Manager of USEM Mena Federal Credit Union, which serves the employees at Nidec, Sterling Machinery, Polk County Employees, and Rose Aircraft Companies.
"We hope to expand our field of membership in the near future," she said. "Our credit union is not for profit and owned by our members. Soon we are going online with virtual credit union. We are very excited about this."
In 2001, Regina became an empty nester when both of her children went off to school. "I told someone that I guessed I was going to have to go back to work. The next thing I know, I got a call asking me to come in for an interview with Larry Stewart and Judy Jones. They hired me and I started the next day," she said, noting that she only received one day of training when she began the job.
"The woman whose place I took never came back. So I turned to the Arkansas Credit Union League and Sherry Humphries for help. I knew the accounting, but the ins and outs of the banking industry are never-ending. Both they and the other credit union managers helped me through it," she said.
"I think that what led to my success is that I love what I do and I love the people I serve. They are what the credit union is about. I try hard to take care of their needs as quickly as I can."
Regina said that in her time in the position, the credit union's assets have doubled. “I’ve gotten grants from the National Credit Union Administration and updated programming that enabled us to better serve our members.”
What she loves most about her job is the members. “The people I serve work so hard and really appreciate what you do for them. Seeing them get into the new car or travel trailer they wanted is so fulfilling. After helping one man get a new Harley-Davidson, he told me, “You made all my dreams come true.” What woman doesn’t want the hear that,” she said.
The most challenging thing to overcome for her was the mindset that this is the way we have always done it. “I like the statement, ‘While all changes do not lead to improvement, all improvement requires change.,’” she said. “Over the past few years, younger people have come on to the board of directors, and they have seen the necessity of change to stay relevant in this fast-changing time.”
Regina suggests, “Do what you love and love who you do it for.” “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” Ecclesiastes 9:10. “If you do those things, you will be recognized for your character and work ethic, and success will follow,” she said.
The sidebar to the article states; Regina Lawry owned and operated a fabric store in Mena, The Golden Thimble, for a number of years in the early 90s. She closed the store to homeschool her son. She has run the USEM Credit Union for over twenty years. She provides exceptional personalized service to all of her customers. In the past, she has volunteered at the hospital. She is a Hero of Hope and has traveled all over Arkansas speaking on behalf of the American Cancer Society.