River City Six: Dawn Gonzales
Centris Federal Credit Union is a member-owned financial institution providing a full array of products and services for consumers and businesses. Dawn Gonzales is Vice President, Community Development at Centris.
Tell us a little about your business. – We are a full-service, locally owned credit union with ten branches operating in the Omaha and Council Bluffs metro area, and one branch each in North Platte and Grand Island. We have been in operation since 1934 and pride ourselves on superior service and that decisions are made locally. As a member of the strategic leadership and marketing teams, I oversee public and media relations, corporate sponsorships and donations and community involvement.
How did you get started in the business? – I got started in the business over 20 years ago when I was working at New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union in Albuquerque, which is now Nusenda Federal Credit Union. My husband and I are Omaha natives, and relocated there for his job. It was a great opportunity and I ended up being there for nearly six years. When we transitioned back to Omaha, I never thought I would work for a credit union again, as my position was a specialized role in marketing. But lo and behold, I spent a year and a half at HDR, then accepted a position at Centris Federal Credit Union and have been here for 15 years now!
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally? – Striking the right balance between my work and personal life. It’s never 50/50 it seems, because at times you’ll need to put more into one side and the other will have to give. But I think it’s important to remember to be yourself, and that you are not your job.
What has been your most important achievement professionally? – Taking advantage of the learning and growth opportunities that have been available to me, and assisting with the growth of the companies where I’ve worked and giving back in the communities where I’ve lived.
Tell us a little about your family. – My husband Paul and I have been married 24 years this year! We have two daughters; one who will be entering her junior year at UNL and one who will be a senior in high school. We also have a dog named Maisy, a Nebraska Humane Society rescue; we think she’s a Bichon Frise/Shih Tzu mix but aren’t 100% sure.
What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life? – Surviving breast cancer, and celebrating my 5-year cancer-free milestone.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off? – I enjoy dining out, and my girls and I like to craft. Anything with my family!
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know? – I was the Benson Bunny! I’m an alumni and was the official mascot my senior year.
What local non-profit organization(s) are you passionate about or involved with, and are there any special reasons why? – I am president-elect for the Susan G. Komen Great Plains board of directors. My mom was a breast cancer survivor as well, and I’ve been involved with the organization for more than 10 years. I’ve also been involved with the Nebraska Human Society for the past 15 years, and have been on the Friends Forever Guild board for 6 years now. Others I’m involved with are the BBB Integrity Awards committee, Sarpy County Chamber Women of Wisdom Planning Committee, Downtown Rotary and the University of Nebraska Women’s Leadership Network.
What is your favorite local restaurant? – La Casa Pizzeria.
If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so? – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: centrisfcu.org.