The Nudge Numerica’s Jessica Johnson Needed to ‘Breathe Life’ into Her Career Goals

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

Over the years, NWCUA’s Emerging Leaders Program has helped dozens of Northwest credit union professionals gain invaluable leadership skills they’ll utilize for the rest of their careers.

The virtual program, now accepting applications for its 2022 class, guides burgeoning leaders as they master strategic planning, learn effective assessment and feedback processes, explore leadership models, refine their executive presence, and more.

Numerica Credit Union’s AVP Risk Management, Jessica Johnson, is one of those professionals. In 2021, she joined the program as the Emerging Leaders Scholarship Contest winner and is now nearing the end of her leadership development journey — or is this just the beginning?

Below, Johnson shares the tangible impact this program has already had on her career and how she will use what she’s learned to inspire others.

My Closing Thoughts on Virtual Emerging Leaders Program

As my time with the virtual Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) winds down, I’m reflecting on how much I’ve learned and grown as a leader at Numerica this last year. The time has flown by, and I’m thankful for the ability to immerse myself in this dojo environment, be pushed to think bigger than ever before, and honestly assess where I am in my journey and what I want to strive for.

I constructed a comprehensive leadership development plan, solicited generative assessments on my performance as a manager, my personal growth goals at Numerica, and my delivery of strategic project ideas. With the support of my leadership team, I was able to achieve the next step towards my career goal and accepted a new role as AVP Risk Management. I declared my intentions and my vision for the future of our department, and it was well-received. I give credit to the utilization of some of these new skills I’ve developed through ELP with the success of my pitch. I now have an opportunity to bring that vision to life and coach a new team of talented employees towards achieving their goals, driving the success of the whole department in support of Numerica’s strategy.

I’ve learned more about myself and what drives my behavior, noting how that impacts those around me. I’ve noted the skills I need to hone to achieve my career goals and have been practicing modification of my natural and adaptive style. My drive to get things done and move forward needs to be mitigated at times by remaining curious to make the best assessment of the situation.

One of the biggest takeaways for me was learning the Vision Strategy Method, and how to bring a vision to life by properly explaining the mission each step of the way. My natural tendency is to move fast, but when a leader takes the time to paint a vivid picture of the direction they want to go, it can result in a more organized project and ultimately a better result. Utilizing this method in future projects will assist me with developing an entire plan, as well as a shorter executive summary when needed.

I’ve gotten more comfortable with public speaking, and during the age of remote work, I’ve even practiced the virtual pitch of my ideas. It was interesting to me how much I rely on “reading a room” when engaging an audience. In a pre-recorded zoom call, it’s much more difficult for me to engage the audience that I’ll never see. I was also reminded of how critical it is to have a short elevator pitch ready to go when trying to explain my idea because sometimes you only have a moment of someone’s time to convey the value of what you bring to the table. That skill will serve me well as I continue to be involved in advocacy, speaking with elected officials about the Credit Union Difference.

Finally, I can’t underestimate the value of having a phenomenal executive coach as you work your leadership development plan. Peter Myers and Tim Tolliver were there for me each step of the way, providing valuable insight, asking me challenging questions, and celebrating wins with me. Just when I thought I had things figured out, they would ask me a thought-provoking question or lead me to a new path I hadn’t explored. I credit their mentorship with putting pen to paper on what my career vision is down the road. They gave me the gentle nudge that I needed to breathe life into the goal.

I’d recommend the ELP for anyone who is committed to doing the hard work of leadership, goal setting, and feedback solicitation. I know that I’m better today because I took that chance last year signing up.

Have questions about the Emerging Leaders Program? Please contact Holly Miller, Director of Programming.

Posted in Emerging Leaders, Professional Development.