Mid Oregon Credit Union’s Jessica George Shares Insights on Emerging Leaders Program


Jessica George, District Manager at Mid Oregon Credit Union.

Editor’s Note: Jessica George, District Manager at Mid Oregon Credit Union in Bend, shares her insight on the first session of the 2019 Emerging Leaders program. Jessica was awarded the 2019 Emerging Leaders Strategic Link Scholarship.

Emerging Leaders participants attend a series of three-day training sessions that start in the spring and end in early fall, with three sessions total. During the training workshops, attendees collaborate with industry colleagues and build strong professional relationships with peers from other credit unions. They focus on strategic leadership skills, effective assessment and feedback processes, leadership models, language, and executive presence. This year’s program is in Seattle. The first session was April 3-5. The next sessions will be held June 26-28 and Sept. 18-20.

Many of us came into the training expecting a lecture and some professional insight. Maybe a little networking, before we jet back to our homes to tackle the next item on our ever-growing list of to dos. No one expected to have their world rocked in such a short period!

What I experienced was an introspective, exciting, experience with the closest group of strangers I have ever had the opportunity to learn with. As a result of this experience I have made my goals bigger, removing doubt from my internal monologue. We created a safe environment, in which we can share and learn in. Once established, we created our individual leadership lines with all the high and low moments and shared our stories with a small group.

By doing this simple practice of telling our leadership stories we produced a high level of trust and understanding, providing the opportunity to stretch and expand our understanding of what it means to be a leader. We discovered that many brave individuals each had their own stories of hardships, often breaking into moments of triumph.

After listening to each epic tale, I no longer felt like we were strangers at a business conference, but more like comrades plunging into life’s epic battle. I suddenly felt as though I had a new tribe. This was all done by the end of the first day.

We had several moments throughout the training to develop new skills, such as how to find your grounding before you enter a room through a quick mental exercise, preparing how others will react to you before you even speak.

We also discovered the real difference between a teacup and a tiger. Who wants to sit by, looking pretty, waiting to be filled, when you can be active and ravenous for your experiences? Who knew sharing your mistakes with your peers in fact makes your more trustworthy?

The group learned how to stop and truly experience the different stages we may find ourselves in through a model depicted by the seasons. No “season” is right or wrong and we have many opportunities to visit each one again and again.

In addition, through our DISC profiling, we learned we can develop and grow each behavioral trait to draw on when needed. And we learned how to glide through issues skillfully as they come. We were challenged to declare what we wanted for the future of our leadership and to go after it.

After being exposed to the possibility that these new skills represented for me as a leader, I found myself immediately practicing them when I stepped out of the class and into the “real” world. As my peer and I headed back home, we discussed how we were going to use these new skills in our lives. We created a plan on how we were going to keep this momentum going, to check in weekly, and offer support and guidance.

Later, while sharing my experiences with my supervisor, I found I had confidence as I announced my professional plans. Upon hearing this new level of confidence in my voice, what I realized was that I am a decisive leader. To my surprise, I found an ally, ready to help me reach my lofty goals. Gone is the teacup, in its place you will find the tiger.

Posted in Emerging Leaders.