Spotlight Interview with Mary Blackstone

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Mary getting over her fears and going down a zipline

The OnPoint spotlight is an ongoing blog series that highlights our employees and takes a closer look at the drive and personality of individuals on the OnPoint team. It is one way we show our appreciation for their hard work and achievements while helping our community get to know the people who make things happen here at OnPoint.

This week’s employee spotlight is Mary Blackstone, Lending Resources Specialist at our Montgomery Park headquarters. Mary has been a part of the OnPoint team for nearly 20 years serving our members in various roles.

Here is what Mary had to share about her life and experiences at OnPoint:

Tell us a little about yourself.

When I am not at work, there is always some form of music on, primarily pop to keep the tempo high with pockets of ’70s classic rock to keep me grounded. Currently, my favorite pastime is teaching new things to my grandson such as blowing bubbles, kicking a ball (future Timber) or snapping his fingers. The determination he demonstrates and then the excitement and pride in his eyes when he accomplishes his goal is so fulfilling and inspiring. This in turn, is one of many lessons he has taught me in that things that may come so easy today weren’t always so, which is a good reminder that one can accomplish anything with some determination and desire. When he grows out of learning from ‘me-me,’ I get to start it over again with my granddaughter.

Mary with her grandson and grandson playing soccer

What were you doing before joining OnPoint?

Before I joined the credit union as a member and employee, I was living in my hometown of Salem, just blocks from my parents while working at a local credit union. I felt it was time to take the leap and move to the ‘big city’ of Portland.

What positions have you held with OnPoint?

I started as a Loan Officer, then followed positions as a Collateral Underwriter, Assistant Branch Manager, Member Relationship Officer, Indirect Relationship Officer, Lending Team Lead and have since taken on my current position where I get to use various knowledge I’ve gained from each of my previous roles.

Every position I have held with the credit union over the years has allowed me to stay relevant to lending, which is my passion. Lending to me is art and science combined, where facts, logic and history are mixed with some intuitiveness, understanding and thoughtfulness. No two scenarios or loan requests are the same, adding to the intrigue. Each role provided a different angle on lending, which has many different components and levels of complexity.

What is a fear you are proud to have overcome?

My fear of heights. Well … I wouldn’t say I have completely overcome it, but I can say I have faced it and survived, which means there is still hope. I agreed to participate in a multi-line zip line adventure while in Hawaii. The hike back down was too far to back out so I went for it. The scenery and overall ambiance of the island, I am sure, helped distract me but I would consider doing it again.

downhill view from the top of the Zipline

What are three things left on your bucket list?

Extended travel outside of North America, primarily Europe. The initial attraction is the beautiful scenery and art linked to this region that I have only read about in books or seen in movies or on TV. Second, is the opportunity to experience cultures other than my own, especially the food!

Visit Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee; I was a HUGE fan of Elvis in junior high through high school when I swore I would visit the home where ‘The King’ once lived. The fandom has since evolved into an appreciation for his music and legacy, but the promise still stands.

Ice skate at Rockefeller Center at Christmas time (bonus would be with my grandchildren)! I have seen many movies involving New York City with scenes of the ice rink at Rockefeller Center during the holidays – it exudes an air of excitement and holiday spirit that I wish to experience firsthand. For the bonus, being able to share and create that real-life memory for my grandchildren would be invaluable.

What’s your favorite myth, legend or fairy tale?

That there is a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow. I would literally try to find it as a child and believe that sense of ‘endless possibilities’ resonates today as I still get an excited feeling every time I see a rainbow.

Rainbow over Montgomery Park

What’s the one thing you’ve waited in line for the longest?

The Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. I waited for about two hours, but the rumor was that Johnny Depp (AKA Jack Sparrow) was making an appearance as the character and would greet the riders as they entered the grotto. After the first hour, I had finally reached the greeter, which I cannot confirm nor deny was actually Johnny Depp, but a close enough likeness to make it worth the wait. The ride itself was a fun experience and worth every second.

What do you enjoy most about working at OnPoint?

Because we are employees of OnPoint, I feel we are all friendly and genuinely like each other, which makes coming to work more enjoyable.

Interested in joining our team? Explore open positions at OnPoint.

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