A Year Later

It’s hard to believe the CUES CEO/Executive Team Network is already upon us. It is incredible to think how quickly time has passed and how amazing the year has been. 

When I was on stage last November after my final NTCUE presentation, one of the judges asked me about metrics. My project was about corporate culture. My hypothesis was, ‘we need to change conversation we have with employees’ from a tactical skills based training mentality to a success based mentality without limitations. Essentially, if we can get employees to “fire on all cylinders” personally and professionally, the results for our credit union will follow. 

When people feel good, they do good. Training programs should build to that. 

Back to the metrics: a judge asked me if I had any to substantiate my claim. I anticipated the question and knew my answer was weak. This year, I have been working on measurements. I’ve enhanced my project and reapplied it to a cross-functional team of leaders at a smaller credit union. One of the elements I wanted to test was if this training process would work with a group of people that didn’t know me. We measured the culture using a modified net promoter score. We discussed the results, built a “culture plan” around it, and created a training program to support the vision. A mid-term evaluation was instituted and we are about to complete the final program next week and then measure again. What was interesting about the first and second measurement was how much progress can be made in a short amount of time with aligned focus. I am excited by each development.

Professionally, I feel I have grown as a leader this past year. Pablo Picasso said, “every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction.” That mentality, while is may appear counterintuitive, appeals to me because I like the idea of recreating what’s possible for me, my team, and my community. The CUES CEO I program in Philadelphia was a big catalyst. I am a stronger strategic thinker as a result. I apply the scenario modeling to all kinds of planning and team discussions. I am grateful that Ronaldo and I, due to Gods of Alphabetization, got the opportunity to sit next to each other the entire week. We talked so much about the concepts and learning. He is very energizing. I am grateful I have a friend and colleague for life. 

Two other events stand out in terms of leadership development. I attended CUNA’s GAC for the first time this year and also went back to the Philippines as a volunteer to facilitate Credit Union Development Education training. Both environments reminded me about the power of possibility. I go back to Margaret Mead who said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Considering what has happened legislatively this year for credit unions, I feel hope when I connect with leaders who focus on opportunity. I like talking about what can happen no matter what has happened. 

My passion for performance has led me to a new opportunity in school. Many of you know I’m obtaining my MBA and JD in the evening program at Seattle University. I have partnered with a professor from The Center for Leadership Formation to co-author a paper on capability and potential. Our topic, “The Ten Elements of Extraordinary Performance” was just accepted by an international committee and we will be presenting it at a conference in London, England. What I love about the research that has gone into this paper is the confidence with which I can claim the following: performance is not a function of talent. Anyone can be a high performer. The trinity of extraordinary performance revolves around frequency, intensity, and purpose. 


Personally, I’ve been reflecting on passion. I’ve noticed that we move away from some of the things we love most (making music, writing, sports) because we “have no time” with so many other competing commitments. However, when we do the things we love, it actually fuels even better results in the other areas of our life. That’s firing on all cylinders. What that means for me is that I’ve returned to competitive swimming after a 15 year hiatus. I am so energized by this choice, words cannot possibly describe the feeling. 

Speaking of energy and passion, I am inspired by Jay, Amanda, Alexia, Josh, and Devin. I wish each of you the best on your final presentations and encourage you to relish the moment fully. Thank you for shining so bright you light the way for others. 

All the best!