When Gulf Winds Credit Union ($969.6M, Pensacola, FL) decided to sharpen its strategy surrounding performance and impact, the right manager was already in place.
In January 2020, the Panhandle cooperative promoted Jonathan Dubuc from assistant vice president for planning and project management to the newly created position of vice president of strategic management.
Gulf Winds hired Dubuc 15 years ago as a part-time teller. His career has since evolved from front-line roles to strategy management responsibilities the credit union had previously outsourced. His new duties give him a key role in executing on the cooperative’s five-year strategic plan, which runs through 2024.
Here, Dubuc talks about his approach to “getting the right things done right” at Gulf Winds.
Why did Gulf Winds create the title and role of vice president of strategic management?
Jonathan Dubuc: The title was created to align my growing responsibilities and also to ensure organizational alignment and performance. Prior to this position, I held the role of AVP of planning and project management. The new role expands my role and oversight into other areas of operation such as process, value stream management, and financial management.
What challenges and opportunities does your new role address?
JD: For challenges, value realization, process and journey mapping, and enhancing our organization’s data understanding and usage to drive actionable results.
Three opportunities are identifying how we perform against our targets and benchmarks, streamlining the cycle from idea generation to market delivery, and creating an organizational focus on getting the right things done right.
CU QUICK FACTS
Gulf Winds Credit Union
HQ: Pensacola, FL
DATA AS OF 3.31.21
12-MO SHARE GROWTH: 31.2%
12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 4.1%
Describe the five-year strategic plan that began in 2019. What is your role in executing on the plan?
JD: The plan aims to deliver exceptional member experiences regardless of channel. We have focused on innovation and internal delivery targets to rely less on third-party partners to supply products and services to our members.
Our plan is structured around six strategic pillars that serve as the navigational beacons for where we want to go and how we will act to get there. Those pillars are innovation, growth, service excellence, community impact, employer of choice, and integrity.
My role is to ensure alignment and strategic execution of the plan and its objectives. I watch progress, key results, and milestones and report to staff, our executive management team, and the board of directors. Additionally, I ensure our organizational resources are aligned and delivering on the expectations of the plan.
Describe how your role works with and influences the financials at Gulf Winds.
JD: As of right now, I do not have a direct control over the financial performance of the credit union. However, I work alongside our finance and accounting team to further understand our financial management strategies. I also help business unit leaders find economic value mindsets and drive performance to focus on the balance of value for the member and value for the institution.
Describe how your role creates positive member impact at Gulf Winds.
JD: I work with a span of different business unit leaders on member journeys, members’ interactions with us, and removing friction where found. I also work with the business unit leaders to find and remove obstacles from successful product delivery regardless of channel.
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What makes you a great fit for this job?
JD: I was new to the industry when I onboarded with Gulf Winds as a part-time teller in 2008. I’ve since worked my way up through different areas such as teller, retail sales, and contact center lending and management. Then I ran our project calendar and portfolio for two years before stepping into this role
Having elevated to my position from the front line gives me a solid understanding of our current state and what we needed to focus on to deliver on our mission.
Who do you report to and who reports to you?
JD: I report to Dale Johnson, our executive vice president of strategy and performance. My reports are a project manager and financial strategist.
What are your areas of responsibility?
JD: I direct the administration of our strategic management office (SMO) and monitor project portfolio performance for the credit union. I also develop and support our long-term strategic planning process to address the evolution of our marketplace and ensure alignment to mission, vision, and values. I lead product and process review to find organizational improvements and maximize our systems and resources, and I monitor and report on strategic performance of the credit union to all staff and our board.
What is your daily routine?
JD: I start the day looking at credit union performance for the previous day. I follow up that with a stand-up meeting with my team to figure out progress from yesterday, our focus for today, and if they are experiencing any blockers or impediments to their progress. I also have daily meetings, readings, and ad hoc work.
How has the pandemic changed strategies and tactics at Gulf Winds? What has been your role in that response?
JD: COVID-19 has changed things for all of us, but, specifically, we place more emphasis on ensuring our team is available to help the member from anywhere. Overall, we’ve sped up our strategies and tactics in digital experience and providing alternate ways for our teams to connect with members.
“My focus is to understand industry trends at a high level, decide the impact on our credit union, and formulate actionable plans that we can strategically deliver.”
How do you track success in your job?
JD: Success in my job is tracked by strategic execution — are we getting the rights things done right? Are our projects on the right pace? Are we yielding the strategic results we intended?
How do you stay current with topics that fall under your role?
JD: I try to stay as active as possible in consumption of industry news, insights, and updates. On a weekly basis I consume information from Harvard Business Review, Callahan & Associates, c. myers, and onStrategy.
My focus is to understand industry trends at a high level, decide the impact on our credit union, and formulate actionable plans that we can strategically deliver.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
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