Ninth in a series on this year’s 20 Under 40 winners.
WATERLOO — Megan Kugler has one simple tenet: To be of service.
“My family has always looked for opportunities to help others and give back. That’s what was instilled in us since childhood — I have three siblings — and all of us try to do as much as we can,” said Kugler, 35, who is a member of the 2018 class of 20 Under 40 recipients.
“I have had many blessings in my life and learned many valuable lessons that have taught me that if I have the time or resources that could be useful to others, I need to share them.”
Kugler is vice president of sales and service manager at the University of Iowa Community Credit Union, a firm that encourages its employees to volunteer and be active in their communities. The financial firm is “very focused on our efforts to help build and give back to the communities we serve. They allow me time to serve as a leader in our community and time and opportunities to give back when and where we can.”
She works at the Ansborough UICCU location and received the credit union’s distinguished award for her work in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
A board member and acting assistant treasurer for Downtown Rotary Club, Kugler takes part in such club activities as Operation Warm and the Shoebox Project which sends supplies to schoolchildren in Chinandega, Nicaragua.
“These projects are amazing for the difference they make in the lives of children and very important to me,” Kugler explained.
She was top fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Bowl for Kid’s sake event in 2018, “always a very fun way to help out in our community.” She also has volunteered with Iowa Radio Reading Service for the Blind and Print Handicapped (IRIS), the Northeast Iowa Food Bank, Junior Achievement, Women Inspiring Women, My Waterloo Days, Sturgis Falls Celebration, Main Street Cedar Falls and Friday 'Loo.
Working in a financial institution wasn’t her original career choice. Kugler graduated from Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny with culinary arts and restaurant management degrees. “I knew I wanted to be in management, but cooking and being a chef was not really for me. But I was always a leader in the kitchen and the restaurant as a manager working for my team. I always wanted to build a strong team,” she said.
Working nights, weekends and holidays are typical in the restaurant business, but once Kugler had her own family, she wanted to find a better work-life balance. She and her husband, Jason, have four children, two stepsons ages 22 and 15 and two daughters ages 6 and 4. Their home is a hobby farm where Kugler tends bee hives and kayaks for relaxation.
She went to work for UICCU 3 1/2 years ago.
“It’s a perfect match. I enjoy what I’m doing every day. The hospitality industry taught me about service and keeping customers in mind, and I still use those lessons learned.”
Peg Kugler nominated her daughter-in-law for the 20 Under 40 honor. “Megan is very professional, respected by her co-workers, is a good role model and would be an excellent candidate,” she wrote.
Megan Kugler was “blown away” when she heard about the news. “My mother-in-law nominating me makes it mean even more. It feels like I’m in an elite club with some really awesome individuals. For me, I feel like I’m just getting started and still have a lot more to accomplish.”
‘I have had many blessings in my life and learned many valuable lessons that have taught me that if I have the time or resources that could be useful to others, I need to share them.’