The State Employees Credit Union is a financial institution, but this does not mean they only care about account numbers and balances. It is the exact opposite, in fact. SECU is a community of family and friends, and its primary focus is treating their members like people, not numbers.
To help bring SECU’s tight-knit community online, I’m interviewing several SECU members about their experience with the Credit Union (more interviews coming, so stayed tuned). In honor of Mother’s Day, I chatted with long-time SECU member, Maria-Alicia Cordova of Belen, New Mexico. I asked her about her mother, her own experience as a parent, and the best Mother’s Day gift she ever received.
How long have you been an SECU member?
At least 16 years. Two of my three sons bank at SECU as well.
Why did you join the State Employees Credit Union?
It’s been so long I can’t really remember, but I do know that it was based right in Belen, right near my salon. (Maria-Alicia co-owns Al’s Styling Salon in Belen).
What is your mother’s name?
Dolores Padilla. She was born and raised in Belen, too.
So tell me a little about her. What is she like?
She is a very strong woman, very supportive, a very hard worker. She’s a retired bookkeeper for the Belen schools, but still, every Friday she comes into my salon a cuts hair for several of her friends. She’s just always working, always active. She’s very friendly, too. She can talk anyone’s ear off.
Do you have siblings?
I do. I have two older brothers.
What is your favorite memory of your mother?
I was born in 1960, and back then, my mom used to sew my clothes, and for special events she used to sew us matching outfits. I have pictures somewhere.
What is the most important lesson your mother taught you?
To be a person of respect and commitment. She always made sure my brothers and I followed through on everything we did. There was no start and stop, like if we tried a sport or activity. Both her and my father made sure we accomplished what we set out to accomplish and reach our goals. [Our parents] were also very educational-minded, and made sure we worked hard in school.
Is there anything she taught you about being a mother that you’ve applied to your own experience as a parent?
(Maria Alicia and her husband, Robert, have three sons: Jerah, 34, Micah, 31, and Trey, 24).
Yes, of course. You know, we all grow up and we do some things differently, but one thing I took from my mother was to be a very involved parent. It’s always about your children. She always made sure we had what we needed and my husband and I did that for our children.
What is the best Mother’s Day gift you have been given, or given your mother?
I think the best gift I have been given is that everyday I have the peace of mind that my sons grew to be fantastic men. They contribute to society, they’re educated, compassionate and productive. Now my eldest son, [Jerah], is the mayor-elect of Belen, my middle son is a professor at the University of Oregon and my youngest son is an engineer. I’m just very grateful for my family, my children and my community.