Jackie Buchanan will never be satisfied with the status quo.
“I try to foster an environment of continuous improvement,” says Buchanan, president/CEO of $2.1 billion asset Genisys Credit Union, Auburn Hills, Mich., and a member of the CUNA CEO Council Executive Committee. “Without continuous improvement, you can't keep offering your members the best products on the market.”
That effort involves a push for greater organizational efficiency—Genisys ranks among national leaders in that category—but also a desire to bring out the best in herself and her staff.
“We do a lot of training. We do a lot of retooling,” Buchanan tells the CUNA News Podcast. “I feel like we owe it to our members and our employees to have high expectations and really live up to that.”
Those high standards recently landed Buchanan a spot among the Top 100 Most Influential Women in Michigan, according to Crain’s Detroit Business.
Buchanan credits her predecessor, Dianne Addington, with providing cross-departmental opportunities that paved her path from information technology roles to a senior leadership position.
But Buchanan also had background on the financial side of the operation, having spent 10 years as a credit union accountant before shifting to information technology. She emphasizes the necessity of that financial knowledge when advising other technology professionals with CEO aspirations.
“One of the most important things is to learn the number side of the business,” Buchanan says. “Learn the key ratios—what good ratios look like, what bad ratios look like, and what feeds into those. Understand the components of the balance sheet and the income statement.”