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Bernadette Greski

Article by Sheila Dela Cruz

JOB Heading link

As regional director of Credit Union I, she supervises marketing operations at UIC, State of Illinois Center, Fort Sheridan and O’Hare. At UIC, she is liaison for the credit union and markets its services on campus and in the surrounding West Side community.

In three years, student, faculty and staff credit union membership rose from 5,000 to 10,000. We doubled our size, secured larger quarters, have more staff, installed ATM machines.

“Our next major plan is the direct deposit, where credit union members could directly credit their paycheck to their account.”

UIC IS GREAT Heading link

“When the University was created, there was a lot of controversy. Look what it is now! I consider it at the heart of Chicago. We have a great basketball team, academic curriculum and have students coming from all over the world.

“I usually link with other departments such as Nuveen Center for International Affairs, the housing office, etc., to help foreign students adjust to this country without having culture shock.

“I would like their assimilation to American society to be as smooth and easy as possible. Though sometimes it is hard to understand them, I understand when they need money.”


“I was asked by the hospital people to dress as a clown during their annual Christmas party and entertain the patients. They knew I’ve been doing this volunteer clown act at Brookfield Zoo for five years.

“I’m dressed like a clown, but no, I don’t do magic tricks or somersaults. I just practice face painting and hug therapy.

“I believe that a lot of patients are isolated and cannot be reached because of their sickness. But if you see the faces of the patients when they see me and when I hug them – most of them are shocked.

“Being a clown is another form of identification. It keeps me down to earth and makes my life more worthwhile. I may not be as good as other professional clowns, who could stand on their heads, but so far, nobody’s complaining.


and being a clown helps me practice it through caring and compassion. I also make use of counseling by listening to members’ financial problems at the credit union. It helps me get to people and understand them. It also gets rid of stereotyping and labeling.

To become a good counselor, I would like to change society’s view on what is normal But who determines what is normal? By whose standards?


especially if you want something bad enough. Since last year, I am pursuing a degree as an addiction and substance abuse counselor at UIC. Others who also came back to school in the class thought there would be all 18-year olds there. We felt we would not be able to deal with the reading materials because of failing memory

“But nobody has missed the meetings and the class is indeed fascinating. We sit in a circle and interpret each theory. This gets you thinking and gives you a better understanding. It’s better to go into counseling when you’re a lot older. You’ve lived a lot  of things that aren’t found on books.”

"I WEAR SO MANY HATS Heading link

that I like to think that when I promote the credit union, I also promote the University and vice-versa. But being a regional director is just a position. What I do outside is more of life. I love doing it and I wouldn’t be complete.

“I’m a people person and very energetic. Four hours of sleep is enough for me.

“Most people die even before their natural death. That’s why I like to be always busy. The more you learn, the more you do, the more you grow.”