REGIONAL federal credit union searched for an intern to manage its social media at the end of 2020. Valparaiso University (VU) Junior Cassidy Belk happened to be the right fit that came along at just the right time.
Belk, a resident of Hobart, is currently studying marketing and public relations at VU. However, she also has an interest in accounting that emphasizes her work with REGIONAL as a great match. Surprisingly, though, Belk was not searching for an internship when Kevin Kosek, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, reached out to her regarding her possible interest in working at REGIONAL.
"I had actually never heard of REGIONAL before, which is funny because it's right behind campus," Belk said. "In December, Kevin reached out to me and had found me on Indiana INTERNnet, which is a website where people who are looking for internships can share their information, and I actually had forgotten I was on there. I didn't intend to get an internship for the spring, but Kevin asked for a phone call with me, and after talking with him, I was definitely excited, and he hired me on the spot in January. It was a really good decision."
Since she was first hired in January, Belk has served as their social media specialist, managing both social media and digital marketing for the credit union. Regarding Belk's day-to-day activities, she noted that an Excel spreadsheet is what she likes using to stay organized and plan for the week ahead.
"I work on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and usually on Monday and Wednesday, I'll come in and check all the socials to make sure that we don't have any messages or anything I should be monitoring," said Belk. "Then I will check the analytics to see how different posts are doing, and then I'll start creating posts for the next week."
Aside from monitoring REGIONAL's social media pages, Belk is also in charge of creating a report that summarizes how the posts she makes are playing in terms of interactions. She then uses that information to determine a plan for what their pages should look like for the next month.
Although social media is Belk's focus, she has been able to take a few trips to REGIONAL's branch in Hammond over the past few weeks to shadow and learn from Administrative Assistant and Electronic Clerk Tiffany Keil and Senior Member Business Lending Officer Amal Patel, and Director of Lending Larry Semla.
"I got to shadow Tiffany, and she just knew everything about everything. It's definitely not easy to explain accounting concepts in a short time, and I was only there for four or five hours, but she made me feel included, and she was very passionate about her job," said Belk. "Then there's Amal who does
business lending and is very realistic about things. He's candid, and he'll tell you how it is, so that was nice to talk to him. I got to shadow Larry a little bit and learn how he handles the consumer lending aspect. He is super knowledgeable in his area, like everyone else, and has a ton of experience to share. , he reviewed with me things that I would want to know for my personal life as well, like credit cards, credit scores, and all those things that you don't learn about in high school or college."
In terms of what Belk has appreciated most about being brought in as a member of REGIONAL's team, she discussed how being at REGIONAL has been unlike any job she has had before. This has been made possible thanks to the environment and team members that make up REGIONAL.
"I have great team members. I had never worked somewhere before where everyone liked their job and wanted to be there," said Belk. "It seriously feels like, at least for the people I've met, that they enjoy coming to work, are happy to be there, and no one is just counting the clock until the day ends."
Learning from the appreciation and care that REGIONAL team members have for their positions has been one of the unique aspects of Belk's experience as an intern. Belk has also been given a lot of freedom in her position as Kosek has provided her the space to use her creativity to follow through with tasks and projects as she sees fit.
"I would say my favorite part is that Kevin really trusts me, and I get to take much initiative. He doesn't babysit me or anything. I can come in, go into my office, and do my work," said Belk. "I make my schedule and go based on what I know needs to get done. I get to take much initiative in my department, which is really cool."
As she looks ahead to the long-term future, Belk sees herself somewhere in accounting, owning her own business or businesses, and using her marketing and social media experience to excel in whatever area she may be in.
"I actually have no idea what I want to do at all, but I do have an interest in accounting," said Belk. "I think someday I want to own my own business, so I'll go to school and get either my master's in accounting or try and get a CMA or CPA certification."
Belk noted two particular things that consume her time during her free time: music and her dog, Chuck Norris. As a talented, self-taught musician who knows how to play five instruments, including guitar, bass, ukulele, piano, and drums, she loves spending time listening to and playing music. Whether it's soul, funk, or jazz, Belk will spend any moment she can listening to her favorites. She also loves spending time with her almost one-year-old dog, a Border Collie and Yorkie mix.
Belk wanted to emphasize that REGIONAL is an exceptional company, and the team is the perfect representation of how helpful and genuinely caring the business is.
"I'm really just very honored to have the opportunity to get to work with them, even if it's just for a short amount of time," said Belk. "I think everyone should do business with them, or at least look into them because they care about the business and their members."