To do: Be CEO
Minuteman’s Jennifer Walz hones her skills and draws motivation from members.
The long lists Jennifer Walz devises keep her on track in a job whose multiple demands are part and parcel of working at a small credit union.
“It keeps me busy, but the lists keep me organized,” she says.
Walz is vice president of operations at $17 million asset Minuteman Federal Credit Union in Rapid City, S.D.—a position that requires her to perform many roles, especially because the credit union has only three full-time employees.
In her role, Walz trains new front-end staff and runs operations at the 1,300-member credit union. She’s also in charge of collections, compliance, loans, and corporate balancing—in addition to occasional teller work. She started as a part-time teller in 2008 as a 16-year-old and went full time in 2012.
After taking over collections, Walz reduced the credit union’s delinquency ratio by 2% in the past year. She attributes her success in that area to working individually with members.
“It was quite the thing to tackle,” she says. “If you speak nicely with people, they respond very well.”
A former two-time state champion BMX bike rider, Walz has a drive to learn more about the credit union movement and expand her management skills. In March, she completed her Credit Union Compliance Expert certification, and in July she completed her first year of CUNA Management School.
“It’s so important to keep learning because there is so much to learn,” Walz says. “The credit union world is changing so fast, so I work hard to keep up.”
Walz hopes to take the helm at Minuteman Federal when current CEO Mary Connick retires in the not-too-distant future.
Connick gives Walz high marks for self-reliance, diligence, and a proactive approach to tackling credit union issues.
“Jennifer will be a CEO of a credit union one day,” Connick says. “Her desire is to be in my position when I retire, and she’s well on her way. She has accomplished everything she set out to do with her career. She is a stellar employee.”
Walz, who has two dogs (Will and Grace), draws motivation from Minuteman Federal’s members.
“Our members make every day enjoyable,” she says. “You get to know everybody because we are so small. The little things you can do to help people and see the excitement and happiness on their faces makes it very rewarding.”