Q: What led you to the credit union sector, and to US Eagle Federal Credit Union?
A: Pure happenstance. The philosophy was so different from what I’d seen in other financial institutions that in my first year I thought that it just might be too different. Through conversations with the then CEO, I came to realize the difference as unique and very much purposeful. Some describe it as having drank the tea or Kool-Aid but, realizing the impact credit unions services were providing to our community, I was sold!
Q: What’s your leadership style? How do you lead an engaged team?
A: I pride myself as being a collaborative leader. These are a natural fit for collaborative endeavors to serve and grow, by empowering and developing others. Organizational culture is a top priority and thoughtfulness about human relationships is paramount. Having come up through the ranks, I can reach down into the organization in ways that someone externally may not and know what it means to walk in someone else’s shoes. Only through highly engaged employees can we reach the extraordinary levels of innovation, quality, and productivity. Through an engagement strategy that goes beyond a survey, and communication and empowerment, we’re able to drive organizational success.
Q: Why is community service and philanthropy important to you and US Eagle Federal Credit Union?
A: Charity began at home and was demonstrated as a responsibility. Carrying this forward into to my professional life, I take an active role in broadening our outreach by volunteering and serving on various boards and committees. Having spearheaded the credit unions initial philanthropic efforts, our employees understand the organizations commitment to be a sincere expression of our values. Financial services are a significant part of well-being, yet without the basics, food, and housing, it’s low on one’s list of priorities, so we start there. Employees enthusiastically take part in philanthropic and volunteer opportunities. Today our Flight Crew, a staff directed committee, coordinates activities at various organizations in our communities. We also recently established the U.S. Eagle Foundation to further support food security and housing initiatives.
Q: How do you prioritize diversity and inclusion, both within your credit union and in terms of the community you serve?
A: We believe that diversity is power and early advances indicated that it would be embedded in our organization. We’re structuring the organization with accountability for DEI initiatives that expand our brand awareness to better reflect the entirety of the communities we serve. These modifications also factor into successful team engagement enabling diverse career paths across roles and responsibilities. We’re re-evaluating through the lens of equity and inclusion our products and services and being intentional in seeking likeminded partnerships that place emphasis on DEI.
Q: US Eagle recently moved to permanently eliminate overdraft fees. What led to this decision?
A: Never before has “People Helping People,” been more relevant than during the pandemic. When we began the practice of waiving fees for non-sufficient funds and overdrafts at the onset of the pandemic, we spent the following months weighing the financial impact the absence of fees had on the credit union against the benefit it offered members. Some of the initial thoughts behind the decision were that in today’s environment, paying punitive fees is no longer sustainable for anyone, not just those living paycheck-to-paycheck, and at the end of the day for U.S. Eagle, getting rid of overdraft fees was the right thing to do.