A cooperative, values-based leadership approach is at the heart of the Credit Union philosophy. This truth is just one of the reasons why the Foundation was established to support the development...
One Credit Union Leader’s Experience at CUNA Management School and as an Executive Leadership Program Scholar
Meet Adrianne Rexius, Chief Human Resources Officer for Landings Credit Union, and one of the recipients of the 2013 Mountain West Credit Union Foundation’s Executive Leadership Program scholarships.
We sat down with Adrianne one day to ask her about her experience at CUNA Management School and what she hopes to gain from the 5-year Executive Leadership Training Program. Here is what she had to say…
MWCUF: How and why did you get involved with the CU industry?
Adrianne: This is going to sound cliché, but I really just fell into it. It was my first job out of college. One of my cousins worked for a Credit Union and suggested that the industry might be a good fit for me as well. I had the fortunate experience of interviewing with R.C. Robertson at Arizona State CU and within a few days, I was offered a position in the electronic services department.
The more I learned about what Credit Unions were all about, the more interested and enthusiastic I became about the industry. Working under R.C Robertson, Retired CEO of Arizona State CU, and Mark Meyer, CEO Filene Research Institute, taught me so much about Credit Union philosophy. I began to see how working for a Credit Union meant that I was a part of something more than I would be if I worked for another type of financial institution; it meant that I was also working on behalf of the community and doing my part to make all of our lives better.
MWCUF: What made you decide to apply to the Foundation Executive Leadership Program and enroll in Western CUNA Management School?
Adrianne: I’ve been working for Credit Unions for about 20 years, and in all those years I’ve always worked in the back office. I’ve never worked directly with members. As my career has progressed, I’ve been on the lookout for opportunities that would expand my leadership skills and capabilities in areas which I have less experience.
Going through DE leadership program, was incredibly enlightening and valuable experience. The next logical step for me in my career is CUNA Management School. I know several people that have gone through the program and they all have encouraged me to move forward. I decided it was the right time.
I know that CUNA Management School will give me greater insight into what it really means to be a Credit Union leader. My goal is to be the CEO for a Credit Union at some point. In order to achieve that goal, I need to understand more about every aspect of running a successful Credit Union. I need to know more about how to analyze trends and look for ways to better position a Credit Unions in the future. Margaret Hunnicutt, CEO of Landings Credit Union where I work, is an incredible example of what a Credit Union leader should be. She is not only an inspiration; she has really encouraged me to seek out opportunities to grow.
MWCUF: What are some important things that you have received from the Executive Leadership Program so far?
Adrianne: I’ve learned what my strengths and weaknesses are and how to lead primarily from my strengths while mitigating my weakness. It’s been impactful to understand that, while I can’t ignore my weakness, it’s more productive to spend a most concentrated effort leading from my strengths.
But so far, the most valuable thing I have gained is relationships. This was true of DE training as well. The relationships that were formed as the result of going through these programs are truly invaluable.
Whatever questions I have, resources I need, or challenges I face, I have a network of colleagues that I can reach out to. I have a true support network. Credit Unions are genuinely cooperative; they help one another. They share. Moving through the Executive Leadership Program, my network just continues to grow.
MWCUF: How do you think Western CUNA Management School will help you in your current role and in whatever future roles you play within the Credit Union Industry?
Adrianne: I think CUNA will really help me have more of a role to play within my own Credit Union, as well as the industry in general. I want to continue to grow and support the Credit Union industry in more ways than just HR and believe that this program will give me a greater understanding of those aspects that are outside my traditional role.
While my goal is to be the CEO of a Credit Union, I think that wherever my career leads me, it’s important to understand what it takes to make a Credit Union successful. When I’m done with this program, I know that I’ll have a solid foundation for being able analyze the opportunities and challenges facing a Credit Union and make wise decisions that are in the interest of everyone involved.
I think CUNA Management School will make me a more well-rounded leader. As a result, I hope that I will be able to contribute more to my Credit Union and the industry as a whole.
MWCUF: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know?
Adrianne: If you ever have the chance to participate in DE training or The Leadership Institute, I would strongly encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities. These programs will give you a better understanding of what the industry is all about and the valuable role it plays. You will really learn, in a concrete way, how we can all work together to better serve our members and expand Credit Union philosophy within our communities.
Participating in each of these opportunities has left me fired-up and reinvigorated. They have a way of igniting the passion within you for what Credit Unions are all about. We have so much potential! The more great leaders we have, the more good we can do.
While I would encourage anyone to jump into these programs with both feet, it’s important to know that they are also very challenging. You have to be willing to put in the time and the work. It’s not for the faint of heart; but it’s more than worth it!
Find out more…
about CUNA Management School or The Mountain West Credit Union Foundation’s Executive Leadership Program from these websites:
Read more about Adrianne and the other 2013 Leadership Program recipients.