the Show issue 26 cover photo with Stacey Zafiroff

Downtown Chicago. Morning commute. February. The temperature was sub-zero. The gusts of wind brushing against her face were so cold they felt like splashes of fire. Her dress shoes were soaked from wet snow. When she finally boarded the L to work, shivering, shaking the rain from her hair, jammed like tuna in a can, well, that was the defining moment. In an instant, Stacy Zafiroff decided that it was time to get out.

She had two months left on her lease, so she had to act fast. She had a great job at KPMG that would be hard to say goodbye to. She had landed the position three years earlier right out of Central Michigan University, which was quite a coup for a newly-minted college grad. It was an exciting, intense job, with lots of travel. But for Stacey, that harsh, freezing morning on the elevated train was the turning point. Her heart was in the outdoors, and she would never be really happy until she landed in warmer climes.

And so, the job hunt began. In a matter of days, Stacey had lined up an interview with Warner Music Group. It was a video conference with managers and directors. A few days following the interview she got the job offer. In California. In the music industry. Heaven. Cut to two weeks later. Stacey and her friend have loaded up a U-Haul with all her worldly goods, and on a Thursday afternoon they hit the road. Stacey laughs when she recalls the trip. “We had a case of Red Bull and stayed up for two days. When we finally stopped in Utah we were exhausted, but of course, really excited too. It was a pretty treacherous adventure – at one point there was a massive snowstorm on the 70 in Denver, and when we went through the Rockies there were moments we were scared for our lives. But it was fantastic – one of those trips you remember for the rest of your life.”

By Sunday, they had arrived in Burbank and moved Stacey into her new place. And the next morning, Monday, four days after her whirlwind adventure began, Stacey started her new job. It was warm outside. Her shoes were dry. The sky was a glorious blue.

At Warner, Stacey is a Senior Accountant working on Warner Bros. Records. She says it’s the most interesting and fun job she’s ever had.

“Working at Warner has been fantastic,” Stacey says with unabashed enthusiasm. “I knew Warner Music was a big name, but until you get out here, you just don’t realize the scope of it. I know how fortunate I am to get the job I did.” Even better, the position weaves in beautifully to Stacey’s biggest passion in life, music. “I’m learning a lot about the music industry,” Stacey says, “whereas before I was doing mostly banking and financial. Music is my hobby, so it’s perfect. I love listening to new bands and going to shows, and it’s cool to hear about the new acts and who they’re signing. LA has a phenomenal music scene, probably the best in all the world, so my job at Warner is at the intersection of the things I love the most.” This year, Stacey plans to attend the huge music festival in Coachella. “Three days of groundbreaking music,” Stacey says with a hint of apprehension. “I hope I won’t be overwhelmed!”

We were interested in hearing Stacey’s take on LA after being here for a year, fresh from the Midwest. Stacey smiles and says, “It’s great. The people here seem a lot more busy and motivated, and I enjoy seeing people try and make things happen. Of course, the creative energy is greater here. People have such a wider range of interests and hobbies than in the Midwest where we’re all brought up to like the same things and it feels much more small townish.”

We joked with Stacey that we hope First Entertainment is one of the things that makes LA even more special for her. Turns out, it’s true. “My bank in Chicago has no branches here,” Stacey explains, “so when I looked at our options at work and I saw they had a special arrangement with First Entertainment, I pretty much jumped at the chance to join. Besides, I was never happy with banks. I always felt that they were never in my best interest. I had always wanted to join a credit union, but until I moved to LA I never had the chance.” Stacey continued, “I know First Entertainment has better rates and they’re genuinely interested in serving their members rather than investors and stockholders. First Entertainment’s main objective is to serve the members. I love it.” And happily, Stacey has wholeheartedly embraced our services. She tells us, “I love the First500 program. I ended up getting the First Entertainment credit card because the rates are much better. And I love the people I deal with at First Entertainment. I can tell you, it is nothing like a bank whatsoever.”

That’s music to our ears, Stacey. She laughs. “I wrote on your Facebook wall that First Entertainment rocks, and the next thing you know, here I am.”

See? You move to LA and in less than a year you’re already on the cover of a magazine. You’ve got to love this town.