Thanks to a present from Radio Shack, Adele Glenn found her calling at age five.
“My dad gave me a TRS-80 computer to play with,” she recalls. That resulted in a little girl teaching herself how to program Basic.
But Glenn’s technology underpinnings didn’t truly come into play until she had grown up and was working as an event planner.
She had taken a deposit to her local credit union when the branch manager complained that her personal computer wasn’t working. Glenn volunteered to help her fix it.
Impressed, the branch manager asked Glenn to work in the newly formed data operations center, a role that immersed her fully in the credit union movement.
Today, Glenn’s title at $3 billion asset Credit Human in San Antonio (formerly SACU) is far from typical: Emerging channels innovation architect.
That breeds a lot of explanation and expectation. In short, Glenn not only tracks emerging technology but designs and implements new processes based on the technology and the credit union’s mission to improve members’ lives.
The pace of Glenn’s innovation is telling: When she develops a new process or technology, she “owns” it for six months.
After that, the project teams hand it off to move the maintenance and upkeep to another department, freeing Glenn to focus on new possibilities.
“I love playing in the solutions space,” says Glenn. “I bring a different perspective to technology, including banning such words as ‘no’ or ‘we can’t.’ ”
Like all good scientists, Glenn looks for patterns. “I have a ‘problem wall’ where I attach photos, articles, and other data to look for patterns,” she says. “I’m trying to find solutions and links between the objects on the wall.”
Glenn directs much of her energy toward raising people’s financial capabilities. She works with Common Cents Lab of Duke University on how to assist low- and moderate-income consumers.
She also serves on the Center for Financial Services Innovation working group, which encourages people to adopt better savings habits.
Plus, Glenn volunteers for She Code Connect, SA Tech Bloc, and Women’s Tech Bloc, organizations that introduce science, technology, engineering, and math learning opportunities to young women, and support women in technology careers.