In just one interaction, you can peg Lynne Wooden as the life of the party, even when there’s no party. And without a doubt, the workday is about to get a little less fun as Lynne Wooden heads into retirement. Lynne’s last day in banking is June 30.
I began working with Lynne 25 years when I was in my early 20s and just starting my career. There were about seven of us, all women, who worked for Tom (Gihl); he would just close his door because there was always a lot of talking going on. At the old bank (original Illinois National Bank), we had a cafeteria where you bought food like at a school and then brought your tray out to a table to sit and eat.
The group of us sat together when we were in the office (not traveling), and we’d solve all the problems in our worlds. With our “advice,” we all helped raise Lynne’s kids, Wes and Anna! We went through all the junior high and high school sports sagas, etc. . . .We had so many good times together and laughed all the time. We were definitely there for one another.
On Friday, we often went to Kanes (now known as the Alamo) to celebrate winning a new contract or birthdays or just because. Lynne and her husband, Lonnie, were always up for a beer and fun to be around. We knew we needed to leave Kanes when the young folks started coming in in their “go out” clothes while we were still in business attire.
Windy City Adventures
When we traveled to Chicago for Windy City Treasury Conferences, it was always around Lynne’s birthday, so we always had to celebrate big. On her 40th, we rented a limo for a drive around town then ended up at Excaliber (this was the PLACE to be in the 90’s), where there was a dance contest. We made Lynne enter. Now keep in mind this is a dance club in the 90’s where all the young people went, and we were older and wearing our business clothes.
Lynne was all for entering the dance contest. She went on stage and proceeded to compete against all the young girls. Since the winner was the person who got the most applause, we made sure she won. She got our applause as well as most everyone else’s.
During this same time, Tom had a sales team in both Oakbrook and Springfield, so we’d take regular road trips to Chicago for department meetings. The trips were a blast, with Lynne coordinating all kinds of fun. We would rent a van so we could all ride together. She bought, People magazines and candy and we dished about celebrity dirt the whole way.
‘I Owe You a New Outfit’
With always the impeccable wardrobe, Lynne is infamously known to thank her co-workers with the phrase, “I owe you a new outfit.” Veronica Armbrust, treasury sale specialist, says with a smile that she is still waiting to add a home addition to hold the new wardrobe Lynne has promised over the last 35 years.
Brenda Tuttle, vice president, Business Solutions, shares the same story, and says she hasn’t received an outfit from Lynne, either. Instead, “I have a friendship that I will cherish. Being around her just makes your day better! I have learned so much from her professionally, too – she is always there for her customers and has a reputation for ‘getting the job done.’”
Veronica echoes a similar refrain. “Lynne has been a mentor and a friend to me throughout the years. I have great respect for her personally, and the relationships she built and maintains with our customers. I will miss working with her.”
Lynne Wooden worked for the original Illinois National Bank for 17 years, then landed at another regional bank. In 2012, she returned to the new INB.
She says that coming back to the ‘new’ INB was somewhat of an easy transition since she already knew quite a few employees – like me -- who were also at the ‘old’ INB.
A few years ago, Lynne said, “It has been wonderful to work with a lot of the same people. We really have a great team that works together well with a strong focus on providing quality services to our customers.”
Since we’ve known about Lynne’s retirement for a long while and Lynne has had a chance to introduce her customers to other members of the team, I’m confident our Business Solutions staff will continue to serve our customers with the same professionalism as Lynne provided. But no one will do it quite like Lynne. She’s one of a kind.
We’ll miss you, Lynne.