Several years ago, a close friend’s personal struggles gave Sheri Szemplinski pause for reflection.
“As I was getting older, I didn’t know what my legacy would be,” she says.
She figured the best gifts she could bestow were her time and her heart, so she began volunteering. It’s made all the difference in her life and at $2.3 billion asset CAP COM Federal Credit Union, Albany, N.Y., where she serves as the operations administrator for the business operations team in commercial banking.
She volunteered more than 50 hours to the CAP COM Cares Foundation in a pandemic-plagued 2020, and she’s exceeded that total already in 2021. Just as important, Szemplinski brings leadership to her volunteer role.
“Our former CEO, Paula Stopera, used to call me the ‘silent giant’ because I sit back and I’m quiet. But when I see something that needs to be done, I take action on it,” she says. “I tell people in my department if anyone wants to volunteer but doesn’t want to go it alone, we’ll go together.”
Szemplinski also is part of CAP COM’s diversity, equity, and inclusion group.
Her volunteer efforts extend beyond the credit union. She rescues dogs and has traveled to Ohio, Michigan, and West Virginia to retrieve animals. She’s hosted as many as 12 dogs at a time at her home.
She also volunteers at Albany Friends of Recovery to spread awareness of addiction. She recently signed up to volunteer with the Red Cross to be part of its disaster relief team.
“Once I complete my training, I will be able to be deployed to other state’s disasters,” she says.
Szemplinski takes that “can-do” attitude to her full-time job in commercial banking, where she primarily works with small businesses on loan documentation.
“I love watching the small businesses grow,” she says. “Many financial institutions offer the same programs, but we make a difference through the relationships we build with our members.”