Stay Local and Connected

August 3, 2010

Who: Gale Davis

What: Associate VP, Branch Operations, Apple FCU

Where: Fairfax, Va.

Apple FCU has a wide branching network: We serve members in five Northern Virginia counties. In June, the credit union opened its 19th branch. I oversee 11 branches.

How I stay up-to-date on what’s happening in all the branches: It can be challenging. I find that making a concerted effort to listen to both members and staff gives me a good read on the current branch experience for each location. I respect that employees are experts in their markets—they have their fingers on the pulse of community needs. I rely on this knowledge to make the best decisions about service and promotion for each location.

How our CU keeps its geographically dispersed staff unified in purpose: Clarity and frequency are important. Apple Federal’s vision and mission are very clear because President/CEO Larry Kelly and our senior management team emphasize vision and mission daily. From these overarching ideas, objectives are set and frequently communicated throughout the organization. Also, Apple Federal’s branding and marketing support a unified message to staff and members. Consistency is key, and it’s always encouraged.

How I felt about three employees receiving Certificates of Responsible Citizenship from their local community: I  was very proud of them. This was great recognition for Assistant Branch Manager Kathy Horan, and Member Service Representatives Maria Diaz and Rachelle Tran. I know they all felt extremely honored. We experienced a rash of robberies, allegedly by the same person. This information and years of experience are what allowed these employees to recognize and avoid a threat to their branch and their members.

What sets our CU apart in the communities it serves: Differentiation in the Washington, D.C., metro market can prove challenging. Not only do we have one of the highest concentrations of credit unions in the country, we also have to compete with the big banks for market share. Two main things set us apart. The first is our service, which is first-class and consistent. We understand that stellar service will keep members coming back more than anything else. The second thing that sets us apart is that we’re in the communities we serve. Unlike a big bank, headquartered elsewhere, we’re local. We see firsthand what’s happening in each community and make organizational decisions based on this information.

My staff would describe my leadership style as: Focused on goals and results. Goals can be great motivation to provide consistent member service and encourage participation in specific credit union products.

Favorite activity with my family: I enjoy spending quality time relaxing by the backyard pool.

Most people would be surprised to learn: I worked at a nightclub to pay my way through college. I worked my way up from busboy to bartender to musical act reviewer, and finally to club manager.

Phrase I never want to hear again: “I can’t.” It implies you’ve made a decision about the outcome of a situation before you’ve even tried.

Phrase that sums up my outlook on life: You might not get to choose your circumstances, but you get to choose your attitude.