Anyone can walk into my office, and I love the energy and creativity my employees bring to the table. I always encourage my team to think outside the box — a creative drive and the discussions that ensue from new ideas are what have made us prosper.
I also believe I should not make all of the decisions; instead, I should ensure the best decisions are made.
On finding inspiration …
I love to start my day with early morning fitness classes that get me moving. I draw a lot of professional inspiration from my relationships with other CEOs and from our board members, who provide great insights. I find inspiration from my three children, who are the center of my life and continue to challenge me and teach me life lessons.
I am very passionate about the arts world, especially New York City where my former roommate is a Tony award Broadway producer. I’ve invested in several of her musicals and attend opening nights regularly.
Like what you’re reading? Callahan Basic provides deeper insight to help credit unions thrive. Unlock expanded access to CreditUnions.com, Search & Analyze, and Callahan’s industry publications today.
On difficult decisions and teaching moments …
A few years ago, we were two years deep into a major tech development project to visualize some of our reports. After sinking a substantial amount of money into the project, it became apparent that although we might be able to see results, they would not be optimal or sustainable, so I pulled the project.
I learned there is a fine line between guiding a company to be prepared with a detailed business plan inclusive of timelines, budgets, and market research versus helping the company be one that is agile, responsive, and able to recognize a flawed plan and move forward.
Another turning point for me was when I stopped trying to be perfect, as I realized it makes a leader unapproachable. As I grew older and settled into my role as CEO, I realized that in order to set a cohesive culture, I need to calm tensions, inspire creativity, and act quickly. Employees need to be comfortable taking calculated risks and engaging in conversations so we can achieve our full potential and deliver what our clients need.
On advice for others …
Trust your instincts. As a leader, a lot of different things are coming your way. It’s your responsibility to understand your clients and ensure you don’t spread yourself or the organization too thin. Keep the vision, the passion, and, above all, your confidence.
ALM First is the investment advisor to the Trust for Credit Unions, the first and only family of mutual funds founded by and for credit unions. Both Trust for Credit Unions and CreditUnions.com are affiliated with Callahan & Associates. Learn more about Trust for Credit Unions today.
Want more credit union strategies? Sign up for the CreditUnions.com free newsletter.