Today, Kerry Getzloff is a loan officer at U.P. State Credit Union, where she has worked for nearly a decade. Though she already had 20 years of experience working in customer service-related positions before getting hired there, another factor also helped her secure her current job: her time at Bay College.
A Gladstone native, Kerry graduated from Gladstone Area High School in 1989. While she signed up for Bay classes right after finishing high school, she did not initially take a full course load since she had a son in her senior year.
Instead, she added two daughters to her growing family and found full-time work.
“I’ve been married to my husband for 27 years. I worked full-time – I’ve been at Charter, I’ve been at AT&T, I did a little dabbling in the flower shop business as a salesperson,” Kerry said.
While Kerry worked in many positions over the years, all these jobs had one thing in common – a focus on customer service.
“People fascinate me, no matter what their background is. I was always taught that it doesn’t make a difference if someone is the janitor or the CEO, you give them all the same respect,” she said.
About a decade ago, Kerry chose to return to Bay after losing her job.
“In 2012, I was downsized from AT&T – this was the second time I was downsized. I took my severance package and took some time off; I prayed about it and said, ‘Lord, if I don’t get a job by August, I’m going back to Bay.’ No job offers came, so I decided to go back to Bay full-time, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made,” she said.
Kerry pursued an associate degree in business administration at Bay to build on her existing skill set.
“Taking the business courses helped me with being able to make a decision quickly while not being afraid to ask questions,” she said.
Even more importantly, studying at Bay allowed her to improve her self-confidence. Initially, she thought about signing up for tutoring before her classes even began. However, her teachers – particularly Kathy Gardner and Brent Madalinksi – helped her adjust to college education.
“I ended up not needing a tutor, because I was smarter than I thought. I made the dean’s list each semester,” Kerry said.
Along with her studies, Kerry was involved in extracurricular activities at Bay. She participated in Phi Theta Kappa and Business Professionals of America and spent time helping other students in Bay’s computer lab.
When the winter 2014 semester ended, Kerry graduated from Bay with her associate degree. Around that time, her connection with Mr. Madalinski helped her land a job at U.P. State Credit Union.
“One of his ex-students had graduated the year before me – she was working there, and she reached out to Brent for recommendations. I applied for a temporary teller job, and I’ve been here now for seven years,” she said.
Kerry started working at the credit union in May 2014, just days after her college graduation. There, Kerry was promoted to the position of loan officer in 2016.
Looking back at her experiences at Bay, Kerry said she was glad she had the chance to study there full-time.
“It was an awesome place. I didn’t have the capability of going to a university or someplace bigger, but the one-on-one attention that I got from my teachers was priceless,” she said.
She encouraged current Bay students to work hard and take full advantage of the college’s support services.
“You get what you put into it, and you have a lot of people there wanting you to succeed. They’re giving you the tools – you just have to want it,” Kerry said.