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Checking in with Jill Allen

Fast Facts About Jill Allen

Jill Allen is the Ambassador Club Director and Marketing Coordinator for Platte Valley Companies in Scottsbluff, Nebraska (with locations in Wyoming and Colorado).

Platte Valley Bank opened in 1996, and the Ambassador Club is for clients with bank holdings of $10,000 or more. The Ambassador Club offers numerous perks to participants, including the opportunity to participate in one annual domestic trip and one annual international trip, plus numerous opportunities for fun social activities throughout the year, like classes and movie nights.

Birthplace: Minatare, Nebraska

Education: B.A. in interdisciplinary studies with an emphasis on human service from Chadron State College

Employment History: Allen was the director of the Scottsbluff County Volunteer Center. She moved to Northfield Retirement Communities as their sales and marketing director. In 2019, she came on board at Platte Valley Bank, where she organizes travel and year-round events for their customers. 

Family: Allen has two daughters.  

Hobbies: Allen loves exploring new places. She also loves to plan theme parties (her favorites are Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day) with matching food, decor, costumes and games.

A shoo-in

Growing up in rural Nebraska, Jill Allen’s travel opportunities were limited. She was raised on a farm in Minatare, where she attended a country school (a one-room schoolhouse, a style that remains popular in Nebraska’s rural farm communities) and then attended high school in Scottsbluff. 

“We did almost zero travel when I was a child — only to Disney World once when I was 5 and again when I was in high school, and that was the extent of my experience,” said Allen. “That’s why this job became so appealing to me, because it has a travel option.”

She got her associate degree in criminal justice and moved on to Chadron State College, where she created her own interdisciplinary major. As someone who loves to work with people and wanted to give back to the community, her focus was human service. 

Post-graduation, Allen got married and had two daughters. “My kids have always been the best part of my life,” she said. She got a job at a nonprofit called Scottsbluff County Volunteer Center, which coordinates Meals on Wheels and grocery delivery services for the elderly in the community. 

“It was the perfect job for me because I was raising children, and they’d come to work with me and learn the importance of helping others,” she said. “It was a very rewarding job for me. It’s a very humbling experience — sometimes you’re the only connection someone has to the world; they don’t see anybody else.”

After a decade, Allen moved to Northfield Retirement Communities, where she was the sales and marketing coordinator. This position, along with her previous role, made her a shoo-in for coordinating member travel later on.

“I love working with older people, so it was perfect for me,” she said. “I’d help them decide on the type of living situation that would be best for them and would plan fun activities like events and parties, and I really enjoyed that. The job at Platte Valley came up and I wasn’t even going to apply for it, but I had four different people reach out to me and say, ‘you are this job,’ and I decided to at least try!”

Banking and Travel

Allen started at Platte Valley Companies as their Ambassador Club director and marketing coordinator in 2019. Clients of Platte Valley’s Ambassador Club have to be at least 50 years old with $10,000 or more on deposit. They are eligible to receive free checks plus a roster of other perks, such as the option to participate in group travel and monthly special events like classes, themed parties and movie nights.

“What enticed me about the job is that our bank gives back to the community to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, which impressed me as someone with a human services background,” said Allen. “I was also eager for the opportunity to travel, since I didn’t travel much growing up and then was busy with a nonprofit and raising children, and would love to travel with our club members.”

The Ambassador Club takes one international trip and one domestic trip each year, plus a handful of day trips or short overnights to nearby locales. Allen also coordinates various activities at locations in Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming. As an example, for the screening of the recently released “Elvis” movie, staff dressed in 1950s attire, including one who dressed as Elvis and posed with attendees in a photo booth. They even hired an Elvis impersonator to belt out a few tunes before the movie. She also coordinates classes like “Spa-Tacular Recipes,” where clients create body scrubs they can use at home. Another recent class was how to create a unique charcuterie board with artfully arranged cheeses and meats.

“We are trying to think outside the box and create fun activities that encourage people to come out and participate,” said Allen. “Our trips are what we call ‘worry-free,’ because we book everything for them. They just show up, and we coordinate everything, and they feel secure that there’s plenty of support.”

Allen loves that she’s had the opportunity to bond with the travelers and have fun experiences with them, which is outside the norm for many banking relationships. Now that her daughters are older, she has also enjoyed taking the opportunity to travel more with her family as well.

‘Talk Show’ Host 

Another facet of Allen’s job is that Platte Valley has given her her own talk show of sorts. While it’s used internally to dissect different finance-related topics or introduce a financial specialist to the entire staff and sent in a weekly email, Allen finds ways to make it fun and entertaining. 

“We will do ‘Thirsty Thursday,’ where I have to drink their favorite drink, even if I don’t like it, while they educate me on a certain topic,” said Allen. “We cover whatever we’re supposed to, and then I make them participate in interactive games. Some of the stuff can be kind of boring, so it’s my job to make it interesting. The whole point is to put a name with a face and encourage others within the company to be able to approach them.”

Allen seems to have found her niche — where her love of working with older people in a service and support role, her love for exploring and discovering new places and things, and her fun-loving, humorous approach to making everyday a celebration have all come together in one role she’s making her own — and she’s getting paid for it.

“What I love most is that I get to go on these trips and connect with our customers,” said Allen. “We’re ready to fully travel again, and I’m excited about that. It’s just so much fun, and I’m just having a great time!”

Destination Faves

1. Hilton Head, South Carolina: “The hospitality, the food, and the quaint atmosphere.”

2. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico: “My extended family has decided we want to spend more time together and travel, so Cabo was a big deal for us — it was a great time to bond, we made lots of fun stops and made lots of memories. Plus they had great drinks!”

3. The Dominican Republic: “Another big family trip was to the Dominican Republic — the beaches were absolutely amazing — perfect, beautiful sand, and another great family vacation.”