CU Rock Star

Empowering Employees to Serve Members

'You've got to keep yourself pumped up.'

November 8, 2013

Sandra Sullivan-Woods’ personality is a hit with employees and members at Spartanburg (S.C.) Regional Federal Credit Union.

Described as “fun, caring, and creative,” the branch manager raises the bar on member service at her credit union through coaching and empowering employees.

“I always try to make everything fun,” says Sullivan-Woods (pictured above right), who has been known to sing to her staff and make up motivational credit union cheers. “You’ve got to keep yourself pumped up.”

Her methods are paying off, says Spartanburg Regional Federal CEO Patricia West. Through Sullivan-Woods’ leadership, employees have become empowered to better their workplace and members’ lives.

“She has created new and unique ways to show staff how not to miss opportunities and to realize they’re in control of their future,” West says. “Her coaching has given employees a sense of ownership and pride in helping our members.”

Sullivan-Woods encourages her staff to figure out what works and what doesn’t and suggest ways to improve operations.

“I direct it back to them,” she explains. “I let them tell me.”

And she leads by example with high energy and empathy.

“I love laughing and joking around,” Sullivan-Woods says. “And I don’t ask staff to do anything I won’t do myself.”

West recalls a time when Sullivan-Woods saved an account from closing “by using her ability to put members at ease.”

West tells the story this way: A member approached the credit union intending to close his account because he was moving to another town where he was buying a new home. He mentioned that he was having trouble sprucing it up and Sullivan-Woods actually spent time going over color choices with him.

At the end of the conversation, the member chose to stay with the credit union due to the personal attention he received and the products that made his membership too valuable to lose, even though he was moving to another city.

The great thing about Sullivan-Woods, according to West, is that she’s ambitious, always willing to learn, and will continue to grow with the credit union.