Jackie Buchanan has led Genisys Credit Union through substantial growth during her seven years as CEO of the $2.1 billion asset institution in Auburn Hills, Mich.
She recently discussed her technology background with Credit Union Magazine.
CU Mag: How does your technology background benefit you as a CEO?
Buchanan: I’ve always said that the credit union is a technology company because technology touches everything we do. As a CEO, I’ve always been able to see how important technology is for us and how important it is to invest in it.
It helps me in making the right decisions when considering whether to partner or develop a project in-house. It’s also difficult to fool me and tell me something can’t be done.
CU Mag: What tone do you set for staff?
Buchanan: I try to foster an environment of continuous improvement. I ask a lot of questions.
Initially, I think people were offended that I asked so many questions, but a lot of them are an effort to keep learning. Without continuous improvement, you can’t keep offering your members the best products on the market.
It's important to listen to people’s concerns and then take action. You shouldn’t be surveying your employees if you’re not going to actually act on the responses that come in.
We’re big on keeping our commitments, doing what we say we’re going to do, and keeping people informed.
CU Mag: What qualities do technologists need for leadership roles?
Buchanan: One of the most important capabilities is learning the numbers side of the business. Learn the key ratios—what good ratios look like, what bad ratios look like, and what feeds into those ratios.
Understand the components of the balance sheet and the income statement, and how information technology feeds into all of that on a daily basis.