It’s rare when a credit union employee is asked to serve as CEO after humble beginnings answering phones. It’s rarer still when that same employee turns down the CEO offer – twice.
But Janis Caines, vice president of administration at Everett Credit Union, is a rare breed. Caines is a seasoned credit union veteran accomplished enough to serve as CEO, but more than content to do her best work behind the scenes.
In 1998, Caines was looking for part-time work. She took a receptionist job at Everett Credit Union, even though she knew she was overqualified. Caines has worn many hats since, including taking on responsibilities for IT, HR, marketing and special projects, and twice serving as interim CEO.
“I knew the first day I started, this was going to be a great place to work,” Caines told Banker & Tradesman. “I was fortunate enough to have mentors and managers grooming me to take a higher-level position. I had no problem [serving as interim CEO], but I never had any desire to be CEO… I’m happy to be the number two person.”
Not taking on the CEO’s job allowed Caines to get involved in Everett, where she grew up. And get involved she has – Caines currently serves on the boards of the Everett Chamber of Commerce and the Everett Kiwanis Club. She is a past commissioner of the Massachusetts Hall of Black Achievement at Bridgewater State College, and has served on various boards and committees at Malden Public Schools, the Malden YWCA and the Massachusetts Credit Union League.
After seeing Caines at so many local events over the years, the Everett city council decided her efforts could no longer be ignored. In 2009, Caines received a Public Service Citation from the city.
Caines said she attributes that award, and her 2012 Banker & Tradesman Credit Union Hero award, in part to the community-first ethos fostered by Everett Credit Union.
“It makes me feel excited,” Caines said of her most recent honor. “Excited for myself, but more so for the credit union. They embrace the community. I don’t feel like the community service is part of my job. It’s something I enjoy doing, and something they allow me to do as part of the credit union.”