Family connections are prominent during Hispanic Heritage Month for this Commerce team member.
When Jeannie Archuleta discusses what Hispanic Heritage Month means to her, she immediately mentions her family. “My mother is Mexican and my father is Spanish, and I’m a third-generation American on both sides,” she notes. “My parents made a lot of sacrifices when I was growing up. My dad worked really hard to give us the best possible life. He worked for a railroad company and the work was tough on him. In turn, I give everything I have in order to do great work and be successful. I want to be a role model for my own kids and provide a great life for them, too.”
So far, Archuleta is doing a fantastic job at finding professional success and setting a good example. She’s grown her career at Commerce Bank over the last 16 years, the last nine of which have been spent in the bank’s legal department, and today she’s a legal operations manager based in Kansas City. In this role, she manages legal technology, helps support issues for other lines of business and collaborates with her team on key areas of focus.
One of Archuleta’s favorite aspects of working at Commerce is the support she has received throughout her career.
“That’s the culture of Commerce,” she says. “There have always been people there for me, to guide and mentor me at every step.”
Archuleta says her initial interest in Commerce grew as a result of strong word-of-mouth. “I was working in banking, and a new person that I’d been training was telling me that her husband worked at Commerce,” she recalls. “We realized we also had a mutual friend who was there, too. Both people talked a lot about how much they liked working at the bank, and it made me curious. I began looking into it, and I found myself applying not long after that.”
One of the elements that attracted Archuleta strongly to Commerce was the diversity of its team members. “I joined a very diverse team,” she says.
“Commerce was already ahead of the game when it came to having a workforce where people were from so many different backgrounds. That was one of the things I really loved about joining the company.”
Since then, as her career has grown, Archuleta has taken it upon herself to continue her education so she can be more valuable to her teammates. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she says she had a bit of extra time on her hands, so she used it to secure an associate’s degree in paralegal studies. “That’s been very helpful for me,” she notes. “It was eye opening to better understand how I can be of more help to my team. I enjoy being in a supportive role — I’m always asking how I can help more. My experience with getting the paralegal studies degree was so positive that I’m now interested in continuing with my education and learning more about project management. That’s my next goal.”
Tina Youmans, an IT business analyst at Commerce, met Archuleta on the latter’s first day of work at the bank and became close friends with her over the years. Youmans says Archuleta’s desire to get an associate’s degree is emblematic of the passion she has for her work. “She always does an amazing job and wants to ensure she’s always contributing to her team’s success,” Youmans says. “If there are obstacles in her path, she’ll find a way through them, and she’ll do it with a positive attitude and a sense of humor. She isn’t big on giving herself credit; she would rather give credit to other people.”
Archuleta says one of the reasons she works so hard is because she’s inspired by her family. “I’m continuing to learn new things and educate myself because those opportunities didn’t come as easily to my parents,” she says.
“My mom and grandmother have told me stories about the sacrifices they made. I get to work in a beautiful office with really great people that I can learn from each day. That’s such a blessing, and it’s an opportunity that I definitely don’t take for granted. I’m very fortunate, and I’m very grateful for that.”
“My grandmother never learned to write a check,” Archuleta adds. “She never learned how to drive. She didn’t have the opportunity to do a lot of things. My mom stayed home to support my brother and me, and my dad worked very, very hard for our family. He started with the railroad when he was 16 or 17 years old, and I’ve seen the toll that hard physical labor can take on someone’s body. I often think about how fortunate I am to be in this position, and that’s entirely due to my family and the foundation they laid.”
Today, Archuleta’s parents live just a block away from her. “It’s great, because they were my rock forever, and now I can be a support system for them,” she says.
As for Archuleta’s own kids — a son and a daughter — both decided to study criminal justice in college. “They’re both awesome kids, and I’m so proud of them,” she says. ”I love hanging out with them; now that they’re young adults, it’s great to see the world through their eyes. Family is definitely my number-one priority.”
Archuleta has even managed to find additional family members at Commerce; she says she’s such good friends with Youmans that they are practically family now. “Tina even visits my parents every Saturday,” Archuleta says.
“It’s more than just teammates I’ve met along the way at Commerce. I’ve also met great friends who support me outside of work.”
Youmans is grateful for their enduring friendship. “I’ve been at Commerce a long time, and Jeannie is one of the best people I’ve met,” she says. “Everyone enjoys working with her because of the way she treats people. Her personality, work ethic, professionalism — she’s an asset for the company. We just bonded from day one and now we both feel like we’re family.”