Connie Francis is the new club director of the AmeriClub at American Trust & Savings Bank in Dubuque, Iowa. She started the job in September 2017.
She says, "When I interviewed for the role of club director, my first question was, 'How am I going to learn the travel part of this job?'" Julia (Terwilleger) replied, "Your personality is a perfect fit, and we can teach you the rest. We are members of Heritage Clubs International, and they will play a huge part in the process." "So, from the minute I got the job," says Connie, "I knew HCI would be very important on my journey to becoming a successful club director."
Connie had the huge advantage of training with the former club director Julia Terwilleger for five months before Julia retired in February. She feels very blessed to have had that time with her to learn the ropes; plus, Julia is still available for Connie to reach out to for help if she gets in a pinch.
Connie's biggest challenge as a new club director has been learning to live life a year or more in advance. After having worked in traditional banking for 30 years where life was pretty much managed from month to month, she says, "I sometimes find myself wondering what year it is now!" Planning club events so far in the future takes a little getting used to, but it makes for great trips that are anticipated for a long time.
Her club members have been amazingly supportive of Connie in her new role, giving suggestions and feedback to assist her in the transition. She says that it has been very smooth. Even if they have felt that Julia did it better, they have been gracious enough to not say so. "They have just embraced me", she says, and she thanks Julia for paving the way for her.
HCI has already become extremely important to Connie. She says, "I have HCI on a pedestal. I think you're an amazing organization, and I thought Peer Group was wonderful." She was pleasantly surprised by how inclusive the other club directors were. "I couldn't believe how many people invited me to join them at a meal or to sit by them at an educational session. They valued my opinions even though I don't have nearly the experience that they do. They were so understanding." The other thing that surprised her was the benefit of having the HCI Travel Partners with all of the various offers and opportunities that they provided. An important benefit of HCI that gives Connie peace of mind is the fact that the PTOs are vetted to ensure financial stability. "When you're writing large checks a year in advance, it is reassuring to know that they have a solid reputation and will be around when it's time to travel with them."