Amy Vanney believes that having a positive attitude can go a long way.
It’s something she embraces in her role as branch manager at Nicolet National Bank in Rhinelander as well as in the community she calls home. A native of Tomahawk, Vanney and her husband , Pete, moved back to the area in 2012.
She had planned to take time off working as they dealt with all the transitions inherent in a move — from buying and selling houses to getting the kids (twin boys Kyrle and Kaden, 13, and daughter Kendall, 9) situated in school and generally getting settled. Fate, however, intervened and opportunities presented themselves as the boys attended school and Vanney was able to either bring Kendall along to volunteer activities in a stroller or tap into the Grandmas to care for her for a few hours.
“It began when they [school] asked me if I wanted to help them, and so I started on the parent advisory committee (PAC),” Vanney said. “From there, it evolved into joining Cub Scouts only to discover the outgoing leader had to step away and they needed someone to run it. I said, ‘OK. I’ll do it’ and now I’m running Cub Scouts.”
In her four years with the PAC, she served as president and treasurer, stepping away in 2018, and was involved with the Cub Scouts for four years until 2017. She currently serves as Rhinelander Little League head coach.
part-time job and her employer asked her to serve as their company representative for the Northwoods United Way. Then someone else asked her if she would join the Leadership Oneida County … and the rest is history.
Vanney began working at the bank about two years ago, but those responsibilities haven’t dampened her enthusiasm for her volunteerism.
“It has just evolved and built over time,” she said. “More boards asked me to join or my daughter’s softball team asked me to coach. They know I like to be involved in the community. I like knowing I am serving my customers.”
The role Vanney plays with the United Way is two-fold. First, as board member and “sergeant at arms,” a nod to not only serving as past president but the person who steps up and does whatever needs to be done. They needed someone to take over their web presence and social media posts on Facebook and Vanney took that on.
Her volunteer worlds overlapped when, as a representative of the United Way, she pitched a small group project opportunity to Leadership Oneida County. She also makes company visits with United Way representatives during campaign season.
“ “ If you need someone to simply sweep the floor and take out garbage, I’m willing. If you need someone to raise funds, I will make the asks. — Amy Vanney, branch manager, Nicolet National Bank, Rhinelander
“I’m very proud of what we do, raising money for up to 26 different agencies that United Way benefits,” she said. “We also organize events in the area because if we have strong community leaders, we will have a strong community.” Case in point: Helping to organize the local Leaderfest, just finishing the four annual event that provides professional development, leadership development and networking.
“While this is primarily a professional development opportunity, I was able to use my connections to secure speakers, a facility and other donations so that the money we do raise goes directly to the agencies,” she said.
In addition to finding and securing a location, she also helped to create the flyers, pamphlets and other marketing materials to promote the annual event.
Each February, the United Way hosts an Ice Fishing Jamboree, and every September, a Hodag Musky Challenge, for which Vanney volunteers in any capacity needed, from selling raffle tickets to bartending. “I just do whatever they need me to do,” she said.
After going through Leadership Oneida County, a nine-month program that cultivates and prepares emerging leaders, Vanney maintained her connection by serving on its steering committee. She has helped to plan the program’s session days — primarily education day — attend and participate in the program’s annual kickoff and midyear retreat.
“I am an alumni of the program, and I loved it so much and want to see it continue to thrive,” she said.
Since 2018, Vanney has served as vice president of the Northwoods Children’s Museum in Eagle River, helping to hire a new director, set policy and host an annual gala.
That same year, she became involved as vice president of the Rhinelander Partners in Education, an independent organization focused on bridging the connection between businesses and schools. The organization does everything from host Career on Wheels events, help to plan the organization’s 10-year anniversary celebration, handle requests from teachers in the community to speak about responsibility in a junior high school “much to my children’s dismay,” she said.
In 2018, she also joined the Rhinelander Rotary Club — which has furthered her knowledge of the community even further – and was recently asked to join the Saint Mary’s Hospital Foundation board as well.
Throughout her activities, Vanney says common denominators include a willingness to do hands-on work, being good with numbers and not being timid about sharing opinions. “If you need someone to simply sweep the floor and take out garbage, I’m willing,” she said. “If you need someone to raise funds, I will make the asks.”
It’s something she demonstrates to her children as well, bringing them to events she is involved in as well. “We are busy, but it’s a good busy, and it’s the kind of business they will remember. Even if we’re volunteering, we’re having a good time. I just think it’s important to the community to be involved because it can’t continue to function, grow and become better unless enough people say yes to being involved,” she said.