Success built from links to others

Tracey Jackson pulls knowledge from mentors.

March 5, 2021

As a girl, Tracey Jackson defied the stereotypes and unabashedly loved math. Her numerical bent eventually led to a credit union career, a master’s degree in finance, and, most recently, the chief financial officer (CFO) position at $650 million asset Resource One Credit Union in Dallas.

But it’s her talent for multiplication—passing on the type of career help she has benefitted from to dozens of others—that underpins Jackson’s management philosophy.

“I am not in competition with anyone but myself,”  Jackson says. “I don’t want anyone to not be successful. We are all linked together.”

For Jackson, the links start in 2005, when she landed an internship at Municipal Employees Credit Union of Baltimore (MECU) during her senior year at Morgan State University.

The CEO at the time, Bert Hash Jr., sought out Jackson after hearing how she streamlined the process of scanning loan documents. He was impressed and it earned Jackson a job.

“His opinion is invaluable today,” says Jackson, who stayed at MECU for 11 years.“ I can ask for his opinion on anything; he is always available.”

Jackson also credits MECU’s Adrian Johnson, who reinforced that success is enhanced by supporting the team.

“He would say, ‘perfect your craft, keep learning, and help the organization,’” she says.

‘I don’t want anyone to not be successful. We are all linked together.’
Tracey Jackson

Jackson only had male mentors at MECU, but notes gender was irrelevant to her. It was the counsel offered that was important.

She has found valuable female mentors, especially from volunteering in organizations like the African American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC) and CUNA.

She points to women like Lynette Smith,  president/CEO of TruEnergy Federal Credit Union in Springfield, Va., and Gwendolyn Sykes, who served as the first Black woman CFO at NASA for their influence on “seeing the possibilities, and imagining my own career.”

Jackson keeps a journal to record “where I’d like to see myself in five or 10 years, and steps to get there.”

Mentors also help Jackson tackle current challenges.

When she arrived at Resource One in May 2020, the pandemic had just roared to life, and the influx of deposits from stimulus checks created the need to maximize income opportunities.

“We didn’t have an investment portfolio,” says Jackson, who made it a priority.

She tapped her network for advice, and they were happy to offer  their expertise. This business is unique, Jackson believes, for how credit union professionals generously collaborate.

Indeed, it wasn’t only her girlhood math talent that’s drawn Jackson to the business.

“My parents separated when I was young,” she says, and watching her mother struggle to make ends meet attracts her to credit unions’ commitment to improving members’ financial well-being.