Minnesotans are well aware of SPIRE Credit Union, and that’s largely due to Lisa Lehman, vice president of marketing and business development at the Falcon Heights, Minn., institution.
“People in the community know about SPIRE,” says Bridget Petersen, market vice president of community outreach. “They’ve perhaps seen SPIRE in a summer parade or on a TV commercial, or they’ve noticed our presence at a local sporting event.
“Lisa influences every aspect of the SPIRE brand, including the interior decorating of our branches, and ensuring the look and feel of the brand is sustained.”
Lehman initially proved her branding mettle during a name change from Twin City Co-Ops Federal Credit Union and a rebranding campaign in 2008—amid the Great Recession.
She was involved in the entire process and even designed the logo. “We had several designers create logos, and we tested them all,” Lehman says. “To my surprise, my logo design was selected.”
Since launching the SPIRE brand, the credit union has placed fifth in brand awareness among the more than 300 financial institutions in Minnesota. SPIRE’s assets have increased 2.5 times during Lehman’s tenure in the marketing department, currently totaling $1.8 billion.
“When I started as the marketing coordinator [in 2004], every aspect of marketing was new to me,” she says. “I learned by doing and asked a lot of questions. I was fortunate to be trained by, and learn from, wonderful people. Our current marketing team is beyond amazing, and to date we have won 55 national awards.”
The pandemic brought home the reality that organizations must be ready to adapt to and accept change. “We found creative ways to serve our members and keep our employees safe and happy,” she says. “We experienced growth during the pandemic and even set loan and membership records.”
When she comes to work each day, Lehman aims to be the best person she can be—a positive, strategic leader with heart.
She is quick to acknowledge the help and guidance she has received over the years from her talented co-workers at SPIRE, including President/CEO Dan Stoltz and Casey Carlson, senior vice president of marketing and development.
“I have learned so much from both Dan and Casey as leaders,” Lehman says. “After all, I can’t be a rock star without a band.”