The Corner Office: You Got the Job! Now What?

This article is part of Anthem’s member credit union leaders’ opinion series, which strives to stimulate discussion within the Northwest credit union system. The views expressed below are those of the author’s and do not represent the views of the Northwest Credit Union Association.  

“You got the job.”—The four most exciting words I had ever heard

“You got the job.”—The four most terrifying words I had ever heard.

To this day I still don’t know how I got the CEO position. I was young and a bit timid—hardly CEO material. However, I loved my credit union, and knew that I could do a bang-up job if just given the opportunity. Much to my surprise, I got that opportunity!

Has it been easy? Not at all. It has been challenging working with a board of directors and it was difficult admitting that I needed help and could not do everything on my own. Have I made mistakes? Plenty.

Working with a board has been a new experience for me. Fellow employees and previous supervisors know the type of work that I complete and what I have accomplished because they work with and observe me. Now I was suddenly in a position of telling a group of people, my bosses, about everything that I had accomplished. Balancing the need to inform them of credit union projects and not coming across as boastful has been, and continues to be, a struggle. Thankfully, I have an understanding board which now asks more questions and I continue to try to be more forthcoming about what I have accomplished, though it’s still difficult.

I have also learned that, as a CEO, I cannot do it all myself. I tried for about one week, well maybe two; but quickly realized that I needed help and lots of it. I am fortunate to work with many skilled employees and therefore formed a management team that has made my job easier and more enjoyable. Although it sounds basic, a management team was a new idea for this small credit union. Now, this talented group of VPs meets on a regular basis, helping to improve communications between departments and fostered a greater understanding of the big picture. As a result, I now have a team that I—and the credit union—can rely on. Improved communication within our team allows issues to be resolved quickly and for consistent decision-making.

I have been through the personality assessments—Myers-Briggs, DISC, and the teamwork exercises to build an effective team. I know that not everyone approaches a task or thinks like I do. Yet for some reason, I assumed that my management team did. This led to a bit of frustration on my part before I realized that very few people work or think like I do. Therefore, I am continually adjusting my approach with each team member. By being flexible and aware of different work styles, we are continuing to learn how to be a successful and productive team.

Despite the challenges, I know that I am the luckiest person. My ultimate career goal was to work for an organization that is committed to helping people better their lives and where I am enthusiastic to go to work every day. I found the perfect combination at White River Credit Union!

Brandy Fielding is the President & CEO of White River Credit Union in Enumclaw, Wash.


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