Jennifer Hogan, CEO, Community Credit Union
Jen Hogan was working as a radio station manager and ad sales rep in Lewiston-Auburn, ME, in late 2006 when a local newspaper interviewed her for a monthly feature on young professionals. When asked about career goals in an interview, she responded “marketing director.”
Two months later, she heard from Community Credit Union (Lewiston, ME, $48.4M) about a job opening for a marketing and training coordinator. She got the job and later that year was named Young Professional of the Year. Soon, she was named marketing and business development director. In 2012, Hogan became an executive vice president, adding deposits, loans, and collections to her areas of responsibility. In October 2015, she took the reins as president and CEO.
To say Hogan is a hands-on manager would be an understatement. She helped contractors lay out the credit union’s third branch, scrubbed toilets when the janitor was out, and took over tech support for office PCs (with no technical background). She still gets requests to fix PCs, but she’s finally training someone else.
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“I’ve definitely picked up the habits of an IT person,” says Hogan, a mother of a 6-year-old and recent recipient of the area’s 40 Under 40 Award for educational activism. “My first response is always, ‘Did you shut it down and restart it?’”
Here, Hogan shares perspectives on building effective teams and leading by example.
On Her Leadership Style …
I’ve got a hands-on leadership style. If there’s an issue, I like to hit it head on. But I’ve learned over time you have to adapt to different people. We’ve done a lot of training on how to approach people based on their personality type and how they’re going to respond. I think it’s important to know your audience and how they’re going to react.
On What Differentiates A Good Leader From A Great One …
A developing leader takes more of a management role, directing people and holding them accountable to the organization’s objectives. A great leader unites people around a vision and motivates them to do better. I believe in mentoring, coaching, developing people — and not just in the hard skills. It’s important to show everyone you’re in it for the long haul.
We’ve done a lot of training on how to approach people based on their personality type and how they’re going to respond. It’s important to know your audience.
On What To Look For In Fellow Leaders …
CU QUICK FACTS
Community Credit union
DATA AS OF 06.30.16
HQ: Lewiston, ME
12-MO SHARE GROWTH: 5.6%
12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 9.5%
I look for people who aren’t afraid to have conversations. Sometimes the tough conversations are the best if you want to develop people. An old boss told me that keeping what you know to yourself isn’t job security. Training and developing people is job security. So when I look for leaders in my organization, I’m looking for people who aren’t afraid to share their knowledge and create a better-educated workforce.
On The State Of The Credit Union Industry …
The Maine Credit Union League does a good job of bringing credit unions together, large and small, across the state. It offers training and seminars, and there’s a lot of information sharing. But I sometimes feel people at other credit unions hold back what they should be sharing because, let’s face it, we’re competitors. I sometimes feel the only way to get good ideas is to go to national conferences and hear from credit unions that aren’t afraid to share their secrets.
I’d like to see more of the credit union philosophy out there. I live and breathe the credit union philosophy of people helping people. I think a lot of credit unions do, too, but others need to live it and get their hands dirty.