AVP, Relationship Portfolio Manager
In the early days of the pandemic, business slowed as the world suddenly ground to a halt.
Jeanette Beard, a Vice President and Relationship Banking Officer at Oregon Pacific Bank’s Eugene branch, has always loved to sew and had an idea to help fill the need for personal protective equipment.
“I told my boss: ‘I have four sewing machines,’” she recalls. “’I have tons of material, more than I could use in my life expectancy … How about we all make masks?’”
So, she and her co-workers did just that. For several weeks, the bank became a mask-making shop with branch employees donating the masks to local medical clinics and businesses that desperately needed them for their employees.
It wasn’t the first time Jeanette sat down to her sewing machine to help others in need. She’s made quilts for Eugene nonprofit Bags of Love, which provides necessities and comfort items to children in need. She’s also made blankets for The Gift of Sight, based in Eugene, which provides cataract-removal surgery to people in developing nations.
Jeanette used to put her sewing skills to use when her children were growing up, making all their pajamas and Halloween costumes. She still likes making things for them, though sometimes she’s told that she can be a bit too generous. “My daughter told me ‘No more pillowcases, Mom,’” Jeanette says with a laugh.
Family is one of the many reasons Jeanette loves living and working in Eugene, a place she’s called home since 1985. Her children and grandchildren live nearby, and another grandchild is on the way (there may already be a blanket or two in the works).
In her business life, Jeanette stays active in the Eugene professional community, attending Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce and United Way events, among others. Her career in banking began in 1992. She joined OPB about six years ago because of its reputation for community banking.
Putting the customer first, listening and fulfilling customers’ needs is what sets OPB apart from other banks, she says. “We care about doing what’s right for the client, not selling them something.”
At the start of the pandemic, after the Eugene branch completed its mask-making, she and her co-workers quickly shifted gears into offering local businesses assistance with the federal Paycheck Protection Program. The work was vital and saved thousands of local jobs.
Jeanette was impressed by her team’s dedication to help so many businesses, often working long into the night and weekends. Family members even brought in food so employees could keep working.
“It was intense,” she says. “These employees cared so much about our clients. That’s really the most important part about this community bank is that everybody cares for everybody – employees and clients.”
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