Kristie Jacobson

Providing strategic direction

Kristie Jacobson shares insights into her board service, characteristics of a successful board member.

April 30, 2021

With a background in accounting, Kristie Jacobson believed she was well-equipped to lead the strategic direction of Mayo Employees Federal Credit Union (MEFCU).

During her more than 20 years of service, she’s done just that. 

In November, Jacobson,  board chair at MEFCU in Rochester, Minn., received the Outstanding Credit Union Volunteer of the Year Award from the Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN)

Jacobson has been chair of the MEFCU board since 2014 and has served as a volunteer since 2000. Under her leadership, MEFCU has grown from $107.3 million to $1.3 billion in assets while membership has climbed from 16,000 to more than 67,000.

Jacobson shares insights into her board service with Credit Union Directors Newsletter.

Credit Union Directors Newsletter: What was your reaction when you learned you were named the Outstanding Volunteer of the Year?

Jacobson: I was surprised and very happy. I have been attending the MnCUN conferences for 20 years and know that I’m in good company with former recipients. This is definitely the highlight of my 20 years of volunteer service. 

This award means that my years of volunteer work have been recognized and appreciated by my credit union family and the network. It has been a really rewarding experience to be on the board. I am honored and grateful to serve the members and work with the dedicated staff and volunteers at Mayo Employees Federal Credit Union. I have enjoyed watching the credit union grow and hearing from members about their great experiences with the credit union.

Q: How did you get involved with the board?

A: I approached a friend who was on the board about being a volunteer, and he suggested I run for a position on the supervisory committee. I served six years on the supervisory committee before joining the board. I understood the credit union financials and ratios before becoming a board member.

Q: What drew your interest in board service and what keeps you serving?

A: I was interested in volunteering in the financial services industry due to my accounting background. I felt I could help lead the strategic direction of the credit union. 

The experience has been fulfilling. The one thing that keeps me serving is when I hear the positive comments from our members about how the credit union helped them, whether it was with their mortgage loan, car loan, retirement, or investments. 

I also enjoy mentoring new board members and seeing them grow in their board involvement.

‘The one thing that keeps me serving is when I hear the positive comments from our members about how the credit union helped them.’
Kristie Jacobson

Q: You’re the manager of financial and accounting services at Mayo Clinic and have had a long accounting career. How does that assist you with your board duties and responsibilities?

A: My work experience gives me the background to understand the credit union financials and ratios, and the ability to ask appropriate questions, which I believe helps my fellow board members also.

Q: What are you most proud of from your time as a board member?

A: I’m most proud of the growth of our credit union. We have added additional branches in other states and mobile services, along with a wide variety of other technology and services.

Q: What are some key characteristics of a successful board member?

A: Dedication, interest, and caring. Attend every meeting and educational experience you can. Be engaged. Listen to fellow board members, credit union employees, and, most importantly, listen to members of your credit union. 

I try to attend a national conference annually in addition to our state network meetings. This gives me an appreciation for the issues facing the credit union industry and the opportunity to network with board members and supervisory committee volunteers from across the country.

I have been an active member of the Global Women’s Leadership Network meetings in Minnesota. I am passionate about this group’s mission to provide women with the opportunity and resources to make a difference in the lives of each other, in the lives of credit union members, and in their communities.

Q: What advice do you have for new board members?

A: Ask questions and get involved on board committees. The best way to learn is to ask questions, attend educational sessions, read industry publications, and talk to fellow board members and the administrative team of the credit union.

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