Women Who Lead: Meet Jennifer Moran
Jennifer Moran started her credit union career the same way many of us do—she stumbled into it. After starting as a teller, today Jennifer serves as our VP of Branch Operations and she recently sat down with us to talk about mentorship, her credit union journey with ABECU, how she’s seeing the industry change, and even a book recommendation.
KK: Tell us how you got started with the credit union
JM: I started at a small credit union in the South County area. I spent the first five years of my career at Lemay Credit Union (now First Missouri Credit Union). During my time there I had the opportunity to attend a member experience conference where I met Emerson Smith, who was then the VP of Operations at ABECU. About six month after meeting him I was offered a position as the assistant branch manager at Lynch Street.
KK: What positions have you held since joining ABECU?
JM: My career has transformed from Assistant Branch Manager to Branch Manager, Director of Branch Operations, VP of the Contact Center, and now in the role of VP of Branch Operations.
KK: That’s a lot of moving around. How did you tackle those transitions? Were each of these opportunities presented to you or did you take the initiative to climb that ladder?
JM: Both. My first big career transition to Director of Branch Operations was a pretty natural transition, with about 18 years of branch management experience. It was managing at a higher level and a very fulfilling position. Moving to the Contact Center was a little scary, because I knew the branch operations world better. This was different and exciting. There were people who encouraged me though, even when I felt underqualified. That’s a big part of it—going for a new job or promotion, even if you don’t think you qualify, you may be the best person for it. I took some risks and had great support along the way.
KK: What gets you excited to come to work with your current role as VP of Operations?
JM: Making a difference. That’s really it. I love what I do, I love my coworkers. We have a great team throughout the organization. I’ve noticed we’re becoming more collaborative with other departments, we’re more united in our efforts.
KK: Let’s pivot and talk about mentors. Did you have one that’s really impacted your career?
JM: I have been really fortunate to have many mentors through my career. One that always stands out to me is Larry Sewell (ABECU’s VP of Corporate Partnerships and Advocacy). He has been a constant since I’ve been at the credit union. He will shoot straight when he needs to. Larry is very good at being honest. I think that’s very important—as a mentor, you can’t just tell people what they want to hear and he’s been amazing at that.
KK: What is something on the operations side you’re excited for in 2019?
JM: The Core Conversion. We’ve been on FiServ Spectrum since 1991. We’re now partnering with a new company for a processing platform that will give us an up-to-date system. It’s robust. There’s an opportunity here to not just look at it like we’re changing core providers, we’re really changing how we think and do things to make sure we’re using our resources properly.
KK: We heard you read a lot. What’s a good book recommendation you can give?
JM: For business—and an easy read—is The Energy Bus. It’s a book about creating your own energy, taking accountability for yourself. It’s about the journey of a man named George and how he’s letting things impact his life and how he changes things from a work perspective. There are a lot of great takeaways.
KK: And with all this time working in the credit union industry, what has been one of the most challenging part of working in the credit union industry?
JM: One that comes to mind is the confusion of ‘How do you belong to a credit union’? With our ABECU name, people think you have to work at Anheuser-Busch to become a member, same issue with other credit unions. Another is understanding we are a full financial service organization. I think that’s slowly evolving, but education is key.
KK: What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
JM: Travel. My family has made it a priority to go on vacation every year. And reading, I read a lot.
KK: What’s the most courageous thing you’ve done?
JM: I really wanted to have a great, courageous story, but it was zip lining in Mexico. I’m a little afraid of heights and we were down there for my birthday. It took a little bit convincing and I would do it over and over again now.
KK: Which would be harder to give up: Coffee or Netflix?
JM: Coffee. Partly because we do have a Netflix subscription, but I don’t even know how to turn it on. The other day my husband turned on Netflix and there were all these smiley faces on a screen and one of them had my name… I don’t even know how to use my smiley-square. (Editor’s note: Jennifer and I clarified that the smiley-squares are, in fact, your profiles for Netflix.)
KK: Three favorite movies?
JM: I have two movies and a play. One is Gone With the Wind, the other is Sweet Home Alabama. My favorite play is Wicked.
KK: If you had to live in a different state where would it be and why?
JM: Somewhere warm. If I had to pick a state right now it would be Arkansas, because my son goes to school there.
KK: If you could shop for free at one store, which would you choose?
JM: Nordstrom. I believe in their model of how they treat their customers.
KK: In twenty words or less, tell us what the VP of Operations does.
JM: Create a culture where employees are engaged and focused on giving an excellent member experience. (Quick note: 15 words. Nicely done!)
Jennifer wants you to know that becoming a member of a credit union is really easy. We bet you can find a credit union near you right now where you qualify to become a member. You can read more about the history of credit unions and why they’re important.