After 43 years of working at the bank now known as Umpqua Bank, and eight years serving as Chamber of Commerce Treasurer, Susan Sherman is now retiring from both positions. Her last day at the bank will be on August 23.
However, Sherman will be staying on with her position as Treasurer of Turning Point Community Service Center.
“She’s an absolutely amazing person. She donates so much time to her community. We’re broken-hearted that she’s leaving,” Monica Hastings, Umpqua Bank Manager said.
In April of this year, Sherman was awarded the Everyday Hero Award from the local Kiwanis chapter. Part of the reason she received the award was because of the countless hours she spends volunteering in the community.
Umpqua Bank offers its employees incentives for volunteering through its Connect program. One of those incentives is paid time off if the employee completes 40 hours of volunteer work. As Hastings told The Chief in April, Sherman had completed those hours by February of this year.
“Up to this date she has over 100 hours of volunteering in the community this year so far,” Hastings said.
In addition to paid time off, Umpqua Bank employees who complete a lot of volunteer hours are ranked according to hours worked, and Sherman has come close to the top position each year for the last several years, according to Hastings. She has been nominated the last four years for volunteer of the year for Umpqua Bank.
Aside from volunteering, Hastings said she thinks Sherman might be the employee who has worked at the bank the longest. While ownership of the bank has changed, the facility that serves as the location for Umpqua Bank has always been a bank. Sherman started working at the facility in 1976, when the facility was called Western Bank.
Sherman said she has seen the facility go through a number of bank changes; from Western Bank to Western Bank, a Division of Washington Mutual; Klamath First Bank; Sterling Bank and then finally Umpqua Bank.
Around the bank, Sherman is known as “Mama Susan,” according to Hastings, who has worked with Sherman for the past 16 years.
“Even though I’m the manager, she keeps me in check,” Hastings said. “If I’m late to get out the door, she’ll yell and say, ‘get out of here!’”
One of Sherman’s quirks is that she is never without a pen, because she so frequently has to sign things as part of bank operations. Because Sherman can be so protective of her pens, Hastings said the team at Umpqua pitched in to buy Sherman one with her name engraved on it as a parting gift.
Along with the gift, the bank is planning a celebration on August 23, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. More than 150 people are invited, including community members, previous employees, and customers. Hastings said the celebrations will include some memorabilia, like old photo albums filled with some old pictures of Sherman from her early days of working at the bank.
“People will be able to look through some of the albums and see different employees that have worked here previously,” Hastings said.
Sherman said during her time at the bank, she has seen a lot of changes. When she started, the bank employed 17 people, and now there are four full-time employees.
“Because now, things are done electronically,” Sherman said. “We used to do everything there, balance the branch, run the statements, run the checks, we used to do it all.”
Sherman began as a bank teller, and worked her way up through the positions, including accounting, proof machine operator, and then lead. While Sherman was often recommended to be the manager, she said she never wanted that responsibility.
The people are what she will miss most about the job, both at the bank, and at the Chamber.
“When you work, you’re there more than you are at home. Even though some of the people have changed at work, they’re still my family, and that’s going to be hard for me,” Sherman said.
As for retirement plans, Sherman said she and her husband, Elvin Sherman, who is also retired, have no official plans, but they know they want to travel. Some of that traveling will include visiting their two sons, one who lives in Iowa, and one who lives in Indiana.
If Sherman will miss the people she works with, Hastings said the feeling is mutual.
“It’s hard to fill her shoes,” Hastings said. “We’re going to truly miss her here."