Today’s blog comes courtesy of Shari Storm, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Verity Federal Credit Union. Shari is the author of the new book ‘Motherhood is the New MBA”, available here.
Why The Next Top Credit Union Executive is a Smart Idea
Have you ever had one of those moments where you pause, look around yourself and marvel at how the heck you got there? I had one of these moments in 1997. I found myself sitting in a beanbag chair, in the attic of some University of Washington (UW) student’s house where he lived with seven other guys. I was paying him $50 to take all of my VHS tapes that I had hastily pressed “record” on whenever I raced home from work after being interviewed. He was assembling them into a compilation for me.
That was well before Craigslist. I can’t remember now how I found him. I think I went to UW’s media center and put a note up on their bulletin board that I needed VHS dual recording help – pronto.
The reason I found myself sitting amongst stinky pizza boxes in some random guy’s attic was because I wanted to impress Bill Hayes. Bill was the President of NW Federal Credit Union. He had interviewed me twice and I had met his executive team. I knew I wanted to work at his credit union. My resume was light on marketing and I had never worked in the financial industry. I was 27, applying for a top management job. The odds were kind of against me. But I knew I’d done one impressive thing – I had been interviewed 72 times at my prior job.
So I decided to put a sampling of those interviews on a tape, drop by his office and ask him to watch it. I thought it would make me stand out.
It did make me stand out. I got the offer for the job the next day. It impressed him too. He’s mentioned it at my five-year and ten-year anniversary that I’m the only job applicant who has ever given him a video (Leaving much of the staff wondering…lucky for me nobody has VCRs anymore!)
There are three critical elements to landing that job you want, getting a book deal or anything else of that nature.
1. The willingness to put yourself out there – to do things that might make you stand out amongst the others – or might make you look silly. It’s a risky proposal and it’s never comfortable.
2. The creativeness to set yourself apart from others. It’s one thing to be bold enough to put yourself out there. It’s a whole other thing to have the skills to figure out how to do it right.
3. A strong network. It wasn’t just that video that landed me my dream job at NW (now Verity). A current executive of the credit union recommended the position to me and I was able to find references that Bill knew and trusted.
I admire CUES Next Top Credit Union Executive challenge because it does such a great job of demonstrating the need for those three elements to get ahead in any field of work.
If you are in the industry and you’ve been online this week, someone has probably asked you to vote for them. In my opinion, every candidate in this challenge has proven that they can do #1 (mentioned above) better than all of their counterparts not in the challenge. A few of the candidates, like my own Tina Hall, have demonstrated their ability to do #2 and creatively set themselves apart from the competition.
Click here to see Tina’s video.
And next week, we will see who has the strongest network.
I encourage you to check out the site and to vote. It took a lot of courage to post a video. If you’ve never done it, you have no idea how scary it is. All of these candidates are sure to make something of themselves, regardless of whether they win the challenge or not. I’m proud to have so much talent in my industry.