Be ‘sticky but flexible’ to attract new leaders
Young professionals seek opportunities to prove themselves, says Kyle Gurzynski.
Kyle Gurzynski’s degree in business finance and economics made him well-suited for a job at a bank. But his desire to make a difference in his hometown of Ludington, Mich., made Safe Harbor Credit Union a better fit.
He’s now executive vice president at the $90 million asset credit union serving 6,400 members.
“Coming from a banking background, I was taught it was about profits and making my numbers look good,” he says. “When I started at the credit union, I quickly discovered it was about people over profits. I knew I was in the right place when I learned we’re truly here for people and putting them in the best financial situation.”
Gurzynski finds inspiration in making a difference.
“This community shaped me into who I am today, and now I am able to give back,” he says. “Seeing others succeed is what motivates me every day. My favorite part of my job is watching someone on our team either get promoted or complete a task they’ve been assigned.
“Our members make this job amazing,” he continues. “Whether it’s someone buying a first car or a first home, we can make that process unforgettable—in a good way. We are making people’s dreams come true.”
To recruit and retain young professionals, Gurzynski advises credit unions to be “sticky but flexible.” He defines “sticky” as promoting involvement in young professional organizations to grow their credit union network.
“As their network grows, so will their passion for credit unions,” he says.
Providing opportunities to grow professionally creates loyalty and increases young professionals’ desire to stay with their credit unions, Gurzynski adds.
Flexibility is also key. “COVID-19 taught us we can be much more flexible than we ever thought possible,” he says.
He believes young professionals value flexibility and the opportunity to prove themselves. “Challenge them with tasks they can call their own. We take great pride pushing ourselves to limits we didn’t know we had. Let us prove we can handle a heavy workload and more responsibility so we can grow your trust.”
One of Gurzynski’s challenges is understanding how the financial services industry in general and credit unions particularly will change post-pandemic.
“Whether we like it or not, COVID-19 has changed our lives and the way we do business,” he says. “Having a positive attitude toward change is half the battle. Truly understanding how we can remain competitive, efficient, and at the top of service for our members after this pandemic is a challenge I am excited to face.”
Gurzynski aspires to be a leader who made a difference in the credit union movement at a young age—“someone who has made our community a better place to live and raise a family.”
No matter what future role he plays, “I want to be a person my children can look at, be proud of, and say, ‘I want to be like dad.’”