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Beth Quaderer: A bank blessed with bounty

Beth Quaderer
Harvest Club
Community State Bank
Union Grove, Wisconsin

Born: Rhinelander, Wisconsin
Education:  Graduated with a major in education and English from the University of Wisconsin.
Employment: Quaderer has been an employee of Community State Bank for 27 years, holding a variety of positions, including teller, loan officer and secretary. She has been the Harvest Club director for 10 years.
Family: Daughter, Amy; son, Shaun; and two cats, Buddy and Holly.
Hobbies: Reading and gardening.

When the Harvest Club director at Community State Bank in Union Grove, Wisconsin, was leaving her job 10 years ago, she suggested to Beth Quaderer that she apply for the job.

“The next thing I knew I was sitting here. I had no idea how difficult the job was,” reflected Quaderer, a 27-year bank employee.

Despite Quaderer’s concerns, all seemed picture perfect on her first extended trip, an excursion to Ireland with 48 group members. “It was breathtaking, and our guide was outstanding. Our time there created lifetime memories, including one for me when one of our travelers had joyful tears in his eyes at Blarney Castle, knowing he was in his family’s homeland.

“As we traveled to the airport in Ireland to return home, I remember that I smiled to myself with a little bit of pride in this flawless experience.

“And then, our plane was canceled.”

Most bank directors can knowingly nod in understanding at this point and can relate to the fair amount of panic Quaderer silently endured and her personal chaotic moments, running from one end of the airport to the other just to try to find a Plan B.

“While we got home 10 hours late, all ended well, but I promised my travelers that I would kiss the ground when we returned to our final destination, a church parking lot in Union Grove. They held me to that promise and have the pictures to prove it,” said Quaderer with a laugh.

“Even then, I knew the rules: Go with the flow, look calm on the outside, and never let ’em see you sweat. But in reality, I was really very scared,” she added.

Fertile ground for harvesting fun
The Harvest Club is appropriately named as many of the 950 members are involved in some manner with farming, which employs many in Union Grove and the surrounding communities. “We plan our extended trips with consideration to the planting in the spring and the harvesting in the fall,” said Quaderer.

Perhaps the abundance of soybeans, corn and cabbage is why one of Quaderer’s most successful events is her potluck dinner, held on a regular basis and featuring entertainment that ranges from movies to speakers.

“It’s always such a successful affair and especially heartwarming for those folks who can’t or won’t travel. While all the food — and there is always too much — is supplied by the members, I’m so lucky that our bank management supplies not only encouraging support, but all the beverages and tableware,” she said.

“Our bank is devoted not only to the Harvest Club but to the community. Thanks to their involvement and contributions to everything from the fire department to churches to charities, we know nearly everyone who walks through our doors.”

Quaderer, who broadcasts her trips through an exclusive publication that is also part of the bank’s website, claims that a simple photo board in her supportive bank is one of her best methods of advertising. Titled “Harvest the Memories,” the board includes festive pictures from the group’s events and often attracts potential members who want to see what the fun is all about.

“You can see people looking at the board and murmuring, ‘Gee, why didn’t I go?’” Quaderer said.
Recently, some of those pictures were from a Montana journey, a tour that included nearly every mode of transportation, among them river rafting, horseback riding, a gondola excursion and even a jeep tour to explore the highlights of Glacier National Park.

Other photos are from a day trip Quaderer aptly titled “Saints and Sinners,” where group members first were awed inside the hushed and hallowed halls of the Basilica of St. Josaphat, a Franciscan parish located in the historic South Side of Milwaukee, and then ventured to the Potawatomi Bingo Casino, a nearby venue where boisterous cheers from winners and losers at the thousands of slots and hundreds of table games filled the air.

“In saintly spirit, I wore a halo the entire day — even when we were in the casino. People looked at me strangely, but our members loved it,” said Quaderer.

An Alaskan cruise in 2009 featured Quaderer’s favorite Kodak moment, when on a rainy day, the sun broke through, and a rainbow appeared. “We were looking at Sawyer Glacier, and it was my birthday. Added to the surprise party the group threw for me and some cash that landed in my pocket in the ship’s casino, it was the best.”

Quaderer is also encouraged by the sight of some new and younger members on the picture board and on the motorcoach.

“We just had six new travelers go with us to the Fireside Theatre in Fort Atkinson,” she said. “It was perfect that this was their first experience with us, because the folks at the Fireside always make us look good; they really cater to motorcoach travel.

“And it was good news for me, because like most clubs, we are always happy to see younger folks realize how convenient and fun group travel can be.”

The best is yet to come
Two members of the Harvest Club might say that a New Orleans excursion was their most memorable trip. After meeting each other for the first time on the tour to the Big Easy, they married later that year. Because Quaderer acted as Cupid for these lovebirds, she felt it only appropriate to give them a Harvest Club watch as a wedding gift.

“I felt like I brought them together in a timely manner,” she said.

Love will hopefully be in the air someday soon for the newly single Quaderer, who recently bought a charming condominium to celebrate her new life. “It’s wonderful to not have the responsibilities of owning a large home. The first time I was in bed, and it was snowing like crazy outside, and I heard the maintenance people shoveling my snow, I thought, ‘Wow, this is terrific.’”

Despite the ups and downs of life, Quaderer said she remains excited every day thanks largely to her group members.

“They are so inspirational, despite the aches and pains they may endure. I have one 97-year-old woman who just had her driver’s license renewed for 10 years. I want to be just like her when I grow up.”

Manager 2 Manager
• It’s so important to be organized. Every day on a trip, check in with your contacts, plan for the weather, and simply dot all your I’s and cross all your T’s.

• It is our job to be patient, listen and be empathetic.

• Naturally, a person in this position has to be very sociable and outgoing. In addition, being a little wacky doesn’t hurt.