Mitch Speer loved his five-year career as a high school mathematics teacher, but he hungered to apply his math and teaching skills in a new way.
His fascination with data analytics led him to get a master’s degree in data science at the University of Notre Dame and a job at Teachers Credit Union (TCU) in South Bend, Ind., where the $4.5 billion asset credit union is now his classroom.
“Data isn’t just a group of numbers. It’s not a bunch of charts and visuals. It’s about the story, and what the data tells us,” says Speer, manager of business intelligence and business information. “My role is as a teacher and a storyteller, teaching what’s in those numbers and how to use that information.”
Speer arrived at TCU in 2017, when enterprise analytics was in its infancy at the credit union. During his tenure, Speer has grown its usefulness and built literacy around the concept.
He created a tracking system, displayed on an easy-to-understand dashboard, so branches can monitor daily progress on retail incentives.
“They can go in every day and see where they are on various performance metrics and how far they have to reach to meet and exceed their goals,” Speer says.
He collaborated on data governance initiatives, defining key data terminology across the credit union, and is a co-leader of an innovation team that identifies solutions to move the credit union forward.
Speer also worked on the deployment of Qlik, a business intelligence tool that aids daily decision-making. The platform houses 130 applications.
“These reports allow users to slice and dice data the way they need to see it,” Speer says. “It’s been transformative for our journey as an organization.”
In 2020, Speer created a data analytics version of the Crossroads Classic Indiana college basketball tradition. Instead of basketball, teams of data science students from top state universities competed to find solutions to a credit union data problem.
Speer’s knack for teaching, ensuring users understand the nuances of data, translated into measurable business results.
“Mitch understands not only that mass of information but how to make it useful and relatable,” says Jeff Diehl, vice president of information technology. “He has taken the reins in helping TCU drive decision-making through data-informed conversation, which has benefitted the credit union invaluably.”