Passion and purpose


Image of a woman wearing sunglasses walking with bag on shoulder and phone in hand in front of a white wall with a Consumers Credit Union logo

Kristen Davidson discusses a range of helpful topics including loving what you do, finding your passion and purpose, and the importance of personal financial fitness in the business world. Learn to thrive and reduce stress right where you’re at in this week’s episode! #MoneyImHome




Lynne Jarman-Johnson (LJJ): Money, I’m home. Welcome in Consumers Credit Union podcast. We have so much fun learning about finance to fitness, and we’re bringing money home to you. I’m Lynne Jarman-Johnson, Chief Marketing Officer of Consumers Credit Union, and I’ll tell you what, we have a special treat for you today. Today I’m actually talking to a very dear friend of mine and I have the pleasure of working with her every single day.

Kristen Davidson is our vice president of organizational development. That’s a big mouthful.

Kristen, what exactly is that job?

Kristen Davidson (KD): As organizational development, being a branch of HR, I really get to do all the stuff I say I get to love and do. So, everything within human resources and then some from employee engagement, succession planning, all of our talent development so all of our training programs run through, really this branch of Human Resources, a branch of our credit union.

LJJ: When you talk about finance, to fitness, the thing that really sticks out as you just mentioned, passion, and in your work every single day.

KD: Yeah, I love it.

LJJ: That then leads to success, which leads to hopefully stability with finances, stability with following your dreams. So really what you’re doing is helping individuals every single day do just that.

KD: I do, so I think that’s probably, I almost feel guilty that I get to do this every day because I get to look at your team Lynne or yourself and really talk about… Do you do what you love to do, every day?

Why do you get up, why do you come to work and what is it that you want to fulfill? At all, every single time comes back down to our servant leadership culture, comes back down to our mission and overall our values.

But I really get to sit down and look at my team at the same time and figure out, are they doing what they love to do every day? And helping people if they’re coming to work every day, doing what they love, they’re naturally retained from a financially fitness perspective at their credit union, we have retained employees, we have long tenured employees, we also have employees refer employees because they love to be here every day.

LJJ: When you look at lives of members or individuals that you have talked to on a day-to-day basis, and actually help get to that next level. Have you found that finances are something that truly can affect someone’s work load, their stress level at work or at home?

KD: Oh, their stress level, absolutely. Finances, just like you bring up a home, marital situations, right? Everything bleeds through, from the workplace to the home.

And if we can bring them that stability, were at work together longer than we are at home with our family, so if we can bring them that fitness and that wellness here, then it’s going to breed over to really an overall… Just well-being.

LJJ: What have you found has been your greatest joy when you are helping someone who is coming to you and they’re looking at a developmental plan? One of the things that we do here at Consumers is when we are first hired, and I love this conversation that we have.

The question isn’t, “What can consumers do for you, is what is it that you want to do to succeed personally?

KD: Absolutely. Yeah, it’s a core question from the on-boarding experience, just as you mentioned. Even prior to that, we’re having that conversation undercutting perspective as we look at somebody, we want to bring in the right person early. And do they want to grow here at the credit union?

I don’t care what department they want to grow in, but what do they want to do with their life? How do they want to make an impact and then we identify where can they really fit best.

LJJ: So, for people who are listening, and they are in a work environment or a day-to-day life environment, and they’re thinking, “How do I start to focus more? What is it that you do to help people like me for example, how do you live a..?

Okay, you can’t help me. I had to…

No really… How is it that you decide what tools to give an individual to succeed?

KD: That’s a really good question. So, I’m going to start by telling you I don’t know that I’ve really decided anything. I’ve really taken lessons learned and said, “Well that didn’t work. And this whole really focus on the fail forward approach. We did start with what’s referred to as an IDP or an individual development plan.

So, right, we would have come to you, or our other employees and asked, What are your short-term goals, mid-term goals, long-term goals, one, three, five, seven-year plans, etc.?

But what I really felt through that process, and by all means, I think everyone needs a development plan.

But for us it just didn’t necessarily fit our culture, didn’t fit our workplace, it didn’t fit the fact that we help people. We encourage them to try different positions in different areas, so not to be tunnel-focused on one line of business. It’s great if you know what that is. You know, marketing is your passion, right?

So, we’re going to help you grow that way. But there’s other people that just don’t know and that’s alright. So, we really changed that approach, and went to our passion and performance this year.

And a passionate performance is a really cool way of breaking down an IDP and saying, What motivates you every day? How do you like to be recognized?

What is your personal brand? And let me tell you, that’s a hard one for a lot of people to answer right, is “what’s your personal brand? What do you bring to the table every day at the Credit Union? And then we focus on those core items plus a few other topics that we ask. Aspirations is another one. What do you aspire to do?

What do you aspire to be? Not necessarily, I want to go from level one to level 2 to senior, which might fit for some people, but for most it really doesn’t. So, we’ve taken all those lessons learned for the last few years and applied it to what we believe is a pretty cool talent development process for all of our employees.

LJJ: For those individuals who are listening and they’re saying, I don’t have any type of support like that in my work environment, like their work in environment, want to stay in their work environment, how do they start on their own aspirational journey?

KD: So, what advice would I give somebody?

They have to find a workplace, or if they want to be an entrepreneur on their own right and truly feeling supported. Whether it’s by themselves and being supported within their own office. They create a home environment that they can thrive in and they can grow in or for others that are more extroverted need to be with people, they’re creating an environment with others that are going to support them and really… Lynne I think about you and I, in our relationship. You’re a huge mentor to me. So, when I’ve come to before in a struggle for whatever reason, personally, professionally, you would challenge me to what is it I ultimately have always wanted. And you know what my strengths are, you know where I thrive the best, and you always can bring me back and keep me grounded, and I think any mentor should be able to really help somebody come back and become grounded to help them go back to their true path of what it is they love to do, and how they want to grow.

LJJ: One of the things that I learned coming to Consumers was something that was very eye-opening, but yet so logical, and made me feel a little bit silly for not having really understood the philosophy before. But that is something to do with what is on your shoulders? What stress do you have on your shoulders, that the moment that you walk into an individual and you try to hand that stress off is something that… Yes, there’s empathy, and we can listen, but the real question becomes, why is the stress there and have you personally tried to help get rid of that stress in a way that is healthy for you?

So one of the examples I want to give is, let’s say you have a co-worker that you’re working with and that co-worker, there’s just something that’s bothering you, right, and instead of you looking right in the eye of the co-worker, you walk into your, maybe your mentor, you walk in to your supervisor and you just say, “Oh I’m just, I can’t stand it anymore.

And the one thing that I love that learning was Lynne, have you talked to that individual direct? How important is that?

KD: Oh absolutely, that that’s the most critical one there is. I think it’s really going back to the source of your own frustration. In the long run Lynne, you might find out or for anybody, it wasn’t the individual, it really was your own perception of what was going on because of what you’re dealing with in life.

One of my favorite things to do is to use the people I trust, or my mentors, whether again professionally or personally and talk to them about a frustration I have with somebody and have them help me look at differently just look at a different approach, look at it from their eyes.

I don’t know what that person went through, that morning. I don’t know the child struggle or a home struggle or a dog struggle, and I’m also probably having a bad day, and I don’t realize that’s coming out.

And that’s been another big role that mentors have played for me, is to help me understand how to go back and really use that emotional intelligence with others and ask other questions and talk to them about what’s wrong.

LJJ: You know, One of the focuses that we’re talking about today is mentorship. And how does someone get a mentor? Or do we, have we taken the term and turned it into something when really, it’s truly about trust and recognition, and transparency and honesty.

KD: Well, I think you nailed in the head. Trust, transparency, honesty, recognition, all of those are characteristics that you want to see out of a mentor. How do we as a company of a mentor program?

LJJ: So how does somebody find a mentor, whether it’s Consumers or just your floating around and you’re doing your work and you hear people say, “Oh I have a mentor.

KD: Sure.

LJJ: How do you find one?

KD: You don’t find them, you feel it, you feel it and it is the friend, it’s somebody that you know is just a true friend who’s going to help you and support you.

I think people get caught up in…

Oh, I need to build 10 people in my board of directors, and they need to be diverse and age, and then in their skill set just like they do with mentors. But the truth as you have them all around you, it’s who do you look at it, it’s the core people in your life. It was five people, five people. If you have more than five, you probably have too many, right? We’re five people you truly can go to with a problem and they can guide you not solve it but guide you and really help you determine how to self-discover and then address the concern on your own.

LJJ: When you talk about being passionate at work, why is that important?

KD: Passions everything in the workplace, passion everything in general, not just the workplace. If I’m passionate about what I do, it’s bleeding through to everybody. In my role, in particular, it’s bleeding through to my team of human resources. So ideally if I’m passionate, they’re passionate, and they feel it, and they know how important something is to me or something is to the company. At the same time, they feel valued and they feel important and that will continue. That will continue to the people that they’re training, that will continue to our new hires, our ongoing development, and that ideally will equal all the way down to the member. The passions, just as important on the personal side, right? So, you’re not happy and passionate in your home, you’re not going to be that way at work and vice versa. So, we really focus on having passion, and wellness in all aspects of your life.

LJJ: We talk about, from finance to fitness, and the reason that we think at Consumers, it’s so important to be well-rounded is because there’s proof in that.

KD: Absolutely.

LJJ: And when you have seen individuals who have come to you for development and have come to you to ask some pretty important questions, how … What is it that you have done to put that hat on to.

So, it’s almost like you’re a priest, I know that sounds strange or a lawyer in some respects because you are, you know… And I believe that HR in general, has such a unique a position in the workplace as a servant leader, not as the person that is saying, giving the rules and regulations. It’s just such a difference when you have an HR team like yours who really focuses on the individual.

KD: So, it’s probably one of the most heartwarming feelings I’ve had through even building our internal leadership program in helping people understand particularly those that are in our series, where they’re moving up into a management role. We really talk about when you’re mentoring somebody back to the word on what their passion purpose are, you’re really helping them open their eyes and define what they want to do when they grow up, right? It doesn’t matter what their age is, it’s what do they want to do next. And it’s a really neat feeling. I had an employee come to me after the very, very first class, we ever rolled out, and she shared with me how I really thought I was going to be on this path, and I’ve had my mind set and I’d been here. I think she was here for six or seven years at that time, and going through that experience, she said, “I know, I’m at the right place, But i’m not doing what I love to do, I do a good job, but I don’t do what I love to do every day. And it really helped me identify that, and that’s probably the coolest part about my job is I get to help people see opportunities that we can provide them, that will help them thrive.

LJJ: Money I’m Home.

Thank you for being with us today, Kristen. I want to let you know, we’re not finished because you have a finance to fitness story that we really would like to share, and that’s coming up in the next podcast.

KD: Thank you, Lynne.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Brent Bassett says:

    Great Insights, Thanks Lynn and Kristen

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email.
Get awesome new content delivered straight to your inbox.