Rock Stars with front-line connections

Rock Stars with front-line connections

Many of this year's honorees started on the front line.

October 27, 2017

Credit Union Magazine announced its 2017 class of 54 Credit Union Rock Stars in October.

The honorees work in all areas of the credit union, and several started their careers on the front line before moving into other positions.

Other Rock Stars work with front-line staff on developing the skills necessary to interact with members and advance in their credit union careers.

These Credit Union Rock Stars include:

Holly Capers, who believes fate brought her to EECU in Fort Worth, Texas.

Just under the wire, she got a part-time teller position at $2 billion asset EECU. Capers stopped at EECU for directions after she got lost on the way to another job interview. The receptionist, a high school friend, told her about the part-time teller position.

Twenty-seven years later, Capers believes losing her way initially helped her find her path in life. She’s now the training specialist at the credit union.

► As a branch manager at $1.6 billion asset BayPort Credit Union in Newport News, Va., Paul Speight believes professional development is critical to give early career professionals a big-picture view.

“There is a talent gap,” he says, noting that many credit union leaders have been in their roles for dozens of years.

This led him to create a leadership development program and mentoring opportunities to support the knowledge transfer necessary to prepare new credit union professionals to take over.

“I want to keep the good talent we have, and give them some exposure,” he says.

Speight recognizes advancement can be a waiting game. So in every interaction, he reminds up-and-coming credit union leaders of the value of patience.

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” he says. That’s an apt analogy for Speight, an avid runner who aims to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

“That’s been my story. I’ve slowly stuck it out and waited. With time, opportunities came.”

Heiwote Tadesse came to the U.S. from her native Ethiopia at age 17 to attend college and was hired at Associated Credit Union in 2000 as a service representative. She’s now vice president of the contact center at the $1.5 billion asset credit union in Peachtree Corners, Ga., where she oversees 40 people in lending,

member services, and online banking.

Her initial challenge as vice president was addressing the contact center’s high turnover rate.

“Fifty-percent of my workforce are millennials, so it’s critical for me to keep people engaged and make it a fun place to work,” she says.

She inspires her team by regularly delegating responsibility, maintaining an open-door policy, and projecting confidence to persevere through tough times.

“I show the team I will get down in the trenches with them,” Tadesse says. “We have a challenging job, but no matter what, we have to keep a positive attitude.”