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Checking in with Jill Becker

Fast Facts about Jill Becker

She is the Travel Coordinator for First State Bank located in Mendota, Illinois.

First State Bank has served an agricultural area in central and northern Illinois for 76 years. With about $850 million in assets, the bank boasts 21 branches and a dynamic travel club of approximately 2,400 people. Bank clients ages 50 years or older with $5,000 in deposits are eligible to travel with the bank’s Vista Club.

Born: LaSalle, Illinois

Education: Associate arts degree from Illinois State University

Employment: Becker has a wide range of jobs on her resume; she has retail, health care and automotive experience. Becker served as a flight attendant for 13 years with ATA Airlines, worked at a travel agency for several years and started as one of the bank’s Vista Club coordinators in 2010. 

Family: Two daughters, one son and one granddaughter

Hobbies: Travel and reading

Travel Profile

When Jill Becker characterizes the First State Bank’s Vista Club as very active, she isn’t exaggerating. Wildly successful might be a more accurate description.

“We recently had 174 people go on a Rhine River cruise,” said Becker, travel coordinator for the Vista Club. “We sold out the whole ship and got an exclusive charter. We also already have deposits for nearly two motorcoaches full of members for our 2017 Yosemite trip and for our Bermuda Cruise in 2017. Our club seems to get more popular all the time.”

Talking to Becker provides one clue why: contagious enthusiasm. When she describes her job with First State Bank’s Vista Club, it becomes quickly apparent that she finds real joy in traveling with her club members.

“We just have fun,” said Becker. “It feels like we are bringing along our friends and saying, ‘I want you to see this amazing place with me.’”

This sense of fun and enthusiasm helps explain how Becker and her other Vista Club partners have happily introduced many of their 2,400 members to wonders across the United States and the world.

Partners in Fun

Because First State Bank includes 21 branches throughout central and northern Illinois, Becker doesn’t have to manage the bank’s Vista Club all by herself. Instead, she works with five other Vista Club coordinators located in various locations, including one co-coordinator that works directly with her at the Mendota branch.

Jean Simkins shares Becker’s zeal for the bank travel program. Simkins had previously prepared for retirement before the bank job, but its promise of travel tempted her to stay in the workforce. She and Becker tag-team planning, organizing and traveling with the club.

When Becker started at the bank in 2010, her branch had only one coordinator, which didn’t faze her, since she came with a plenty of travel planning experience.

“I was a flight attendant for 13 years until the airline I worked for went out of business,” said Becker. “Then I started working at my family’s travel agency, which they have had for 40-some years. I worked there on and off for a long time.”

A call from the bank convinced Becker to try a new type of travel planning. As the club continued to attract more members, Simkins came on board to help Becker with the enormous amount of logistics involved in traveling throughout the year.