Emily Haas is no stranger to hard work.
The Idaho Central Credit Union Coeur d'Alene branch manager started working at 14, cleaning newly constructed homes.
By 16, she had a retail sales job. At 18, the Boise native became a teller at ICCU.
"I banked at Idaho Central Credit Union. I've never banked anywhere else," she says. "The tellers were so nice and friendly."
She worked full-time while attending school full-time at Boise State University, graduating in 2012 with a double major in human resources and general business.
"Looking back now, I wonder how I did it," Emily says. "The credit union was incredibly supportive. They worked with me to adjust my schedule."
And she worked with them, taking on new roles and responsibilities.
Emily especially enjoyed her time as a financial service officer. She handled new accounts as well as business and mortgage accounts.
"You learn how to read credit reports and how to save members money," she says. "You build relationships with them as they trust you with their finances. To this day, my favorite part of my job is helping members."
Her first step into management came when she was promoted to assistant branch manager at the downtown Boise branch.
"I loved it," she says.
From there she was transferred to the Overland branch-- the largest and busiest ICCU branch.
"The teller line was bigger than the entire branch I had managed!"
She relished the challenge and when she heard a new branch was opening in Coeur d'Alene, she applied to for the management position, even though she'd never been to the Lake City.
"It was a leap of faith kind of thing," she says.
When Emily learned she'd landed the job, she and her "other half," Kasey Laffoon, hopped in the car and made the long drive from Boise to check out the town.
It was a rainy April day, and they drove around trying to get their bearings. Over breakfast at La Peep, she expressed her worries about moving so far from her family.
"Kasey said, 'This is an adventure! Everything will be okay.'"
And he was right.
By the time the branch opened on June 15, they'd found a home for themselves and their three dogs, and Kasey had accepted a job as assistant coach for the North Idaho College soccer team.
Because ICCU merged with Public Employees Credit Union, Emily had inherited a team of knowledgeable staff.
"I get to hang with my favorite people every day," she said of her seven employees. "The best thing about being a manager is helping my team help members. That's really fun. It's so rewarding to be able to empower them."
She's delighted by the way the community has embraced Idaho Central. There's a second branch in Post Falls and in late summer or early fall, a third branch is set to open in Hayden.
"It's pretty cool that there's going to be more green teamers," she says.
Her efforts have been noticed and appreciated, said Michael Wolsten, assistant vice president, ICCU.
"Emily has such a passion for people,” he says. “It's been great to see her grow. She really embodies our mission statement: Helping members achieve financial success. She also has a great heart for the community."
Indeed, Emily started Leadership Coeur d' Alene this year and is enjoying learning about the history of the town and what makes it so special.
In addition, she and Kasey have embraced the outdoor adventures the area has to offer.
"I love being outside, so Coeur d' Alene is paradise," Emily says. "We bought kayaks and put in at Dike Road or Sanders Beach. I take my Pomeranian with me in his little life jacket."
They bought snowshoes for their first Christmas here, and had fun snowshoeing out their back door and also exploring Round Lake.
Hiking is one of their favorite ways to unwind. They take the big dogs with them and hike Mineral Ridge.
"It's beautiful," Emily says. "I've so fallen in love with Coeur d' Alene."
--Written by Cindy Hval, Special to the Press