Seven Questions with Connie Saunders, Administrative Assistant

An older film photo of a baby girlThat cherub of a baby wasn’t born yesterday, but she has the joy of a baby. Connie has a stomach of steel and the memory of an elephant–she forgets nothing! She can even tell you the type of lunchbox she had in second grade, and who she sat with at lunch on October 9, 1972.

1. How would you describe yourself and your personality?

Quiet, shy, introvert. NOT. I’ve been talking almost since the day I was born. Several years ago, the congregation was asked to share some of the personality traits of Zumbro’s personnel. A few words that were mentioned on my behalf were organized, knowledgeable, caring, fun. I’ll take that.

2. Who is your role model? Why?

A friend of our family was the church secretary at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Waverly, Iowa. While in high school I had already decided I wanted to be a secretary, and Lois’ job seemed perfect (the hours, people she worked with, church setting). After college, I worked in the chaplain’s office at St. Luke ‘s Hospital in Cedar Rapids IA. It’s also where I met my husband, Bob. For over 45 years I’ve worked at a nonprofit. (Must’ve started when I was 10.)

3. Tell us a little about your role as Administrative Assistant at ZLC.

Chief cook and bottle washer. Jack of all trades, master of none. Having 2,949 “bosses ” can be challenging, but I always have a lot of answers, just not always the right one for your question. And did I mention the constant interruptions? I’m not called “The Sheriff” because of my good looks.

4. What are some of the biggest lessons that you’ve learned in your career?

Listening and staying focused. With so many interruptions, it’s very important to take notes (yes, I still use shorthand). A good sense of humor and a smile are important, too.

5. If you could wave a magic wand and accomplish one thing at Zumbro today, what would you choose?

If I could wave my magic wand (and it does sit on my desk!), I would create an opportunity for a personal chef for the staff. No more brown bag lunches, “science project” leftovers, or Progresso soup. If it’s not in the church’s budget, the next wave of the wand would be giving our building the facelift it needs. I know money isn’t everything, and it doesn’t buy happiness, but it would go a long way to get everything on the wish list accomplished and no more debt at Zumbro.

6. What inspires you to come to work each day?

Where else can you spend your day with almost 3,000 of your friends? It was very easy for me to say, “Yes,” when Pastor Gary Benson invited me to be part of the Zumbro staff in 1997. I was fortunate enough to be a congregation member before beginning my work here, so I knew a lot of the names and faces.

Man and Woman standing in front of a flowering bush

7. Hobbies?

Traveling to new cities and places. We’ve been to Alaska, Mexico, western United States, but our favorite destination is Naples, FL. This year’s summer travels will take us to the Calgary Stampede. Like Dr. Seuss says, “Oh, the places you will go.” Days of Our Lives is more of a life-style than a hobby, but I rarely miss an episode. And our five grandchildren. Everyone says if it was possible, and they had known grandparenting would be so much more fun than having children, they would’ve stared with the grandchildren. Amen!

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