UniWyo Federal Credit Union
What personal accomplishment are you most proud of?
Personally, I am most proud of my kids. They keep me on my toes and they crack me up daily. I’m excited that Laramie is our home and that we’re raising them in such a wonderful community. The professional accomplishment I'm most proud of is defining and creating the UniWyo Brand and having all our employees define themselves as Brand Ambassadors. You can have all the right advertising, top of the line products & services, and processes in place, but if you don't have the right people, you'll fail. Your people are your biggest asset and they need to know that. If all the other things are in place, and your people are not fully engaged in helping members, that creates a HUGE brand gap. A couple of years ago, after rolling out a defined Brand for UniWyo, we defined brand gaps, and one of the best things I oversaw the implementation of was getting our staff to live the brand each and every day. I initiated and was in charge of a rebrand, molding and defining our Culture, and making our Brand a focal point of every day. I've created a culture where we live, breathe, and bleed the UniWyo Brand, which at the center is about people helping people. We believe in hometown values, lifelong relationships, and worldwide access. We focus on the benefits that we have to offer, not features of certain products or services. Before we act on anything, we think of the brand and the code that we've created that we live by, and how it will relate to the member. We help our members to live life boldly, nobody wants to be fenced in, so we offer options and advice tailored to their unique needs and goals. Internally for our employees, I've created a Culture Guide and steps to follow what we call 'The Bold Life Code', in order to help people, our members, each and every day. This year I rolled out Bold Moments, a program where each employee gets $100 every quarter to spend on members however they see fit. They can send chocolates when someone mentions they got engaged. They can send a vacation gift basket full of sunscreen and towels, when someone just saved up enough for their dream vacation. They can send a Wyoming Buffalo sign when someone just moved to Wyoming. They can send flowers when a member has lost a loved one. They can do just about anything, touching on the happy and sad moments in our members lives - nothing tied to a product or service, just good old fashioned People Helping People. We've seen tremendous difference in the way we are perceived by our members and each other. We have always said, as a credit union, that we have great service, but I had no idea how great we could become. By setting standards to live by, we are able to quickly address any issues that may arise, and our membership has taken notice of the difference. In the 6 years that I've been at UniWyo, it's become a place of family, with both employees and members and I'm proud to have played a crucial role in that creation.
What is your primary personal development goal/business goal for the next 5 years?
Throughout the next 5 years I would like to expand my relationships even further within the Laramie community, by joining additional boards, committees, and other roles that are needing filled. There are a ton of amazing people and organizations here and I want to be able to help make a difference for the better. I am a Laramie Lifer – and dedicated to helping to continue to make Laramie great! I would like to continue to play a role in the growth and success of UniWyo which will also include expanding our marketing department!
What is your biggest philanthropic achievement?
Working at UniWyo, I have been fortunate to oversee all our donation requests. Each year we receive hundreds of requests. We try to donate to each of them in some sort of capacity. I am amazed daily at the amount of support our community has for each other and the wonderful events that are put on for this, that, and the other! Not only do I get to choose the amount that we’re able to donate to these, but I also get to see what events might still need volunteers and I can help coordinate that as well. We have been able to donate millions over the years and I’m proud to be a part of an organization that supports our wonderful community and believes in the importance of promoting the welfare of others. Last year I was able to be a part of an amazing idea that was developed at the High School. The Plainsmen Pantry was newly created at the High School and they had no funds or food to stock the shelves. I am passionate about Laramie and kids, and it is heart wrenching to hear how many kids go without food, clean clothing, a shower, and many necessities that we take advantage of daily. The pantry provides food, toiletries, clothing, and everyday life necessities. I was lucky enough to be a part of helping to get this pantry started. At UniWyo we collected food and money, and matched all of the donations. We stocked all of their shelves and they ended up with an additional $1,000 in cash to get started. We also decided to choose the Plainsmen Pantry as the Charity Stripe donation recipient during the Cowboy Basketball games. We ended up donating an additional $5,000 and I still hear stories on the differences we are making in those kids lives. I am definitely proud to have been able to support their endeavors and grateful to UniWyo for allowing me to do that.
What action or event that you've been a part of, that you believe has made the biggest difference in Laramie? Or are you most proud of?
I've been lucky enough to meet a lot of people over the 6 years that I've been at UniWyo, and to build on the relationships to better our community and the credit union. There is always some sort event going on that is open to the community. We have been the exclusive credit union of Wyoming Athletics for about 6 years and also the exclusive sponsor of Financial Wellness on the University of Wyoming campus. I've leveraged our partnerships at the University to be able to hold events for our members on their campus, having over 1,600 of our members join us in the stadium lot for dinner, climbing wall, and bounce house fun, or in front of our campus branch for lunch in the fall after the new school year has begun. We've used our UW basketball sponsorship to donate $10 for every free throw made, to various charity organizations in Laramie, donating on average $5,000 each year at the end of the season. We’re entering the third year of this, where we will be donating our funds to Make a Wish Wyoming. The previous years we donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters, and last year we We've been able to welcome incoming students to the community and help them get settled not only with their banking needs, but just helping them to make that scary transition by offering advice or just a cup of coffee. We donated a large sum of money to the University that created an endowment for scholarships that will always be available to UniWyo members attending UW. Outside of the University, we've been fortunate enough to partner with the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance as a Cornerstone Alliance member, donating necessary funds to help obtain new businesses to our community. I've been lucky to work with this great organization to join committees, and programs that they've held. We've also been grateful to be a Gold Sponsor with our Laramie High School, being able to donate $100,000 to the school when it was being built, so that they could add on additional spaces necessary for our future generations and to make our community stand out among the rest when it came to schools. I've enjoyed working with them on everything from teaching classes about banking, credit, and becoming an adult in the real world, to attending and being recognized on the football field for being a sponsor. These are just a few examples of relationships I’ve built over the years and events that have stemmed from those. I think all of these relationships and expanding on them as much as I can, has had a positive impact on the community.
What excites you most about the future of Laramie?
Everything! I feel like Laramie is this little hidden gem. I went to the University of Wyoming and stayed here after graduation. Not everyone is fortunate enough to find jobs here when they graduate but I’m glad we did. I am excited about new businesses coming in and creating more jobs for those to stay after graduation or to move back. I love all of the economic development happening and am just excited for more people to take part in our community. I think more and more Millennials and the under 40 crowd are chipping in and I want to be a part of that.
What do you think has helped make you successful in your endeavors?
I have a crazy work ethic, sometimes to my detriment but I feel it’s gotten me where I am today. Upon graduating the University of Wyoming, I began working at a Fortune 500 company and gained invaluable experience that ultimately landed me my position at UniWyo. I was on track to move to Los Angeles back in 2011, and had 6 months until leaving, and I panicked, realized my love for Laramie and the desire to start a family and raise them here, I landed the job at UniWyo when they were first starting to create a marketing department, and the rest is history. I have moved up from Marketing Specialist, to Marketing Director, and now Vice President of Marketing in charge of Marketing, Brand, Culture, Training, Member & Employee Engagement, Donations, and Education. I have a drive to succeed and am passionate about helping others.
What advice would you give to other young professionals in Laramie?
Be passionate, hard working, and kind. If you give it your all, your work will show, and for the better! Do something you’re passionate about and do it well. Get involved in your community and build your entourage - you can call it your network but it’s really your entourage! The more people you know, the more you will love where you are, and the more opportunities will arise.