Rising Star: Katie McClain

Katie McClain in detail

Age: 38.

Job title/occupation/place of employment: Vice president, human resources, Dupaco Community Credit Union.

Volunteer activities:

  • Opening Doors board of directors, executive committee (vice chair) and personnel committee.
  • Current and/or past member of: Employer Inclusion Council, Women’s Leadership Network (WLN) and Tri-States Human Resources Association, (TRIHRA.)
  • At Dupaco, I’m surrounded by passionate volunteers and I like to learn about new ways to get involved through them and help where I can.

Education: University of Dubuque, masters in business administration (MBA). University of Northern Iowa, bachelors in business administration.

Family: Husband, Casey. Fur kiddos (dogs), Jackson and Mable

Person most inspirational to me and why: My parents, Russ and Chris Hefel. They’ve supported me on all the things I would try to do while growing up. I was fearless to try anything new. They laugh now reminiscing that I’d always be up to something, getting involved in something new again. You name it, I probably tried it growing up. (All the sports, musicals, student government, college, grad school, careers, speaking in front of big groups, sharing personal experiences, etc.) They showed up to it all.

Their encouragement and support has led me to where I am today. They never held me back from the path I wanted to take, they cheered me on and allowed me to discover life my own way. Through all this, I’ve been inspired to go through life by not taking things too seriously. Work hard, don’t give up, be proud and cheer others on. Show up for myself and for others. And most importantly, to be me and have fun.

Favorite thing to do outside of work: Spend time with Casey and our dogs. We love boating, camping, live music and traveling.

One word to describe me: Authentic.

What’s one thing that most people would be surprised to know about you: I’m outgoing in many settings, but I can also feel very shy, bashful and reserved. For example, I’d be too overwhelmed by emotions and would turn bright red if you threw me a surprise party.

Greatest fear: To look back on life and have regrets. I don’t want to look back wishing I would’ve had more fun or have given back more to others. I try to live life to the fullest. I try to make a difference, even if it’s just a little bit of something for someone.

What’s the one thing you are most passionate about in your life: Humankind — being both. My love for human resources is in the name. It’s why I’m passionate about what I do. We are all human first. We all have feelings, experiences, beliefs, backgrounds, emotions, abilities and challenges. With all that in mind, be kind. Keeping this in mind, keeps me going every day.

Katie McClain, Dupaco Community Credit Union

During the past decade, Katie McClain has been able to take the personal aspect of her human resources career and delve into it even further through her work with Opening Doors.

“I feel like I’ve learned so much and have so much to keep learning. But I am just truly taken to the whole purpose of what they do and how they support the women and children in our own neighborhood,” McClain said of the nonprofit that helps women and children who are experiencing homelessness.

She joined Opening Doors’ board of directors in 2021, but has served on various committees since 2012. McClain said her goal is to continue carrying the organization in a positive direction and bring in “new community support.”

“I guess the way I kind of look at what I get to do in HR, it’s in the name: We’re human resources. And I truly believe that we’re human first,” she said. “We all need someone to help us in some way, including I need to help myself before I can help others. I think I’m just drawn to that because it’s truly somehow helping people.”

Lisa Bowers, of Dupaco Community Credit Union, said in her nomination letter that McClain is not only vital to the credit union, but also her talents are valuable outside as well.

“Naturally Katie is able to brighten, calm and challenge the mood, while never being status quo,” Bowers said. “Because of this, others are drawn to her knowledge, expertise, assistance and guidance.”

McClain also is involved in the Women’s Leadership Network, where she said there are “so many champions there with you, just rooting for you to be better and being impactful in your life.”