Your Business is Important to Us! Ann Callahan Opens Doors to Partnerships
Consumers Business Engagement Manager Ann Callahan shares her hopes for her new role at Consumers and her keys for engaging with businesses even during a pandemic.
0:00:06.5 Lynne Jarman-Johnson: Money, I’m Home. Welcome in I’m Lynne Jarman-Johnson with Consumers Credit Union. From finance to fitness, we have it all. And I’ll tell you what we also have, we have amazing partnerships with so many business and community leaders here in the Michigan market. Joining us today is Ann Callahan, and she is new to us. Not new to me. I’ve known Ann for many years, but excited to announce that she has become our business engagement manager here in Michigan. And, Ann, thank you so much for being with us today.
0:00:41.0 Ann Callahan: Thanks, Lynne. It’s great to be here with you.
0:00:43.4 LJJ: Oh my gosh, so you are brand new in a role that you started while a pandemic is going on. Let’s start with that and just say, how are you doing?
0:00:53.4 AC: You know what, I got to tell you, I’m doing great. The transition to Consumers has been seamless, and the last seven weeks have really been incredible. And I’m just looking forward to building on the relationships I have already and just hit the ground running.
0:01:10.4 LJJ: Ann, you and I have worked previously in many community organizations. We’ve also had the pleasure of working on business partnerships, too. One of the things that I knew when you came into our Consumers family is that, the culture of servant leadership, of serving others, is something that is second nature to you. How have you found, as you have started in this new role that that is helping you out?
0:01:41.1 AC: I have to say, now that I’m fully into my role as business engagement manager, the level of engagement, not only with people internally, but also here in the community, being welcoming to my new role at Consumers has been outstanding. Just through examples of the training I’ve had internally at Consumers, and servant leadership is one of the key mantras of the entire Consumer culture, and it really reigns true. It’s unbelievable. The level of thoughtfulness and just giving back at all different levels of the organization. Any questions I’ve had, I’ve been able to reach out to folks like yourself in the C-suite, all the way down to a processor who may have to help me out with learning a certain level of the business. And then with, at large, with the greater Grand Rapids business community, the level of enthusiasm I’ve received from people I’ve met through my various capacities here in Grand Rapids has been outstanding. Everyone is so thrilled about where I landed and excited to see what the next chapter of my career brings to the community here in GR.
0:02:55.9 LJJ: Ann, tell us a little bit about your background and what does the title business engagement mean to you?
0:03:02.3 AC: Well, my background, Lynne, I’ve had several different roles within [a] large health insurance carrier, United Health Group. And in those roles, the ones I found that I really loved the most were the ones that, where I was working one-on-one with the client and account management and/or in a sales capacity. Through my career, I’ve found that being more in a business development outreach role for the various organizations I’ve worked with has brought me the most satisfaction as a professional, and with the new role now that Consumers has created for me as business engagement manager, I’m able to go out and connect with business leaders, small business owners, community advocates, people at varying levels within the organization, because the product offerings that Consumers can bring to a client, a prospect, and/or individual personal line of credit for your personal business needs. I can really sit with them and ask some great questions and make sure I’m building that trust and guidance and connecting them, for example, to the business segment at Consumers that would make sense for addressing their specific needs.
0:04:21.0 LJJ: You bring up a good point, and that is, I like to say that we are an organization with feet on the ground. We love to volunteer. We love to be involved in communities that we serve, whether they be business partners, community partners. Have you found that to be different, Ann, in the sense, or is it, if you also think that, especially with the pandemic and what’s going on, people truly want to get those connections to even be deeper?
0:04:51.2 AC: Correct, and I think even to the level of when the pandemic first hit, just being there for people, in my role, they know that I’m in business development, but they want to know that I’m there to help them answer their questions and when the time is right, really be there for them to get their needs met. And also, from any type of philanthropic or volunteer work I’ve done, really taking that to heart during these times that we’re in and being there for those organizations that I’ve been serving on.
0:05:26.8 LJJ: Tell us a little bit about those organizations, Ann. What do you have a passion for?
0:05:30.6 AC: I’m on for Mel Trotter Ministries. I serve on their cabinet board for their capital campaign, which is their main fundraiser right now to build out their physical location and programming down on their downtown location. So really serving in the capacity of reaching out to businesses and personal people who have given personally and seeing if they’re on board to build out Mel Trotter’s vision for the next five to 10 years. Also, I’m heavily involved in the community in East Grand Rapids where I live, with regards to the high school and middle school, where two of my sons are students. So, I really think in these times, you really just got to find your passion and put, like you said earlier, feet on the ground and make sure that you’re getting involved in the capacity where you can have the greatest impact. And from a professional standpoint, I really found that I’ve had great impact both on a professional and personal level with Inforum. I am one of their co-chairs for the ManufacturingNEXT industry group that, about five years ago, about five of us got together and figured that there was a need, and we put the wheels in motion to make that happen. And I’m happy to say that we are working on our programming for the 2021 season, as of today, and into, after the first of the year.
0:07:06.3 LJJ: Ann, that’s the main question that I have for you. With what the world looks like right now, have you done and pivoted to total virtual? How are you working?
0:07:20.1 AC: Right now, Lynne, that’s a great question, and I am working totally virtual, which I have found that most people are open to, because at this point, people know this is our new normal, and they can’t put things on hold any longer and they need to make sure those conversations are happening and the connections are being made. From a business development perspective, in my role at Consumers, and I have set up several WebEx conversations with partners that we’re looking to align with in 2021, and also one-on-one conversations with individuals that I’m looking to reconnect with and build that relationship in order to introduce them to our business segments that may be able to help them out at their particular line of work or for their personal lives.
0:08:09.5 AC: And then from a volunteer perspective, for example, with Mel Trotter and Inforum, both organizations have pivoted to virtual interaction, be it from meeting, planning and/or outreach, which I think everyone has just gotten so used to. Zoom, WebEx, Microsoft Teams is just part of who we are now, and thank God we have the technology, and to be able to still connect with people and be thoughtful about it as well.
0:08:38.6 LJJ: Well, I’ll tell you what, we are thrilled to have you on board as part of our Consumers family, Ann. And I want to let everybody know, if you’re interested in learning more about how Consumers can help your business, or you, with any type of success, I love the fact that that’s what we do. Right? We connect people to others, whether that be with us or through us, and it really is a joy to work.
0:09:07.3 AC: Exactly. Lynne, it’s been amazing. The past seven weeks have been absolutely incredible, and the level of enthusiasm and knowledge of all those I’ve had an opportunity to engage with has been amazing, and I’m so excited for 2021 to hit the market and share the story of Consumers and how we can impact the lives of our community.
0:09:27.5 LJJ: Well, thank you so much, Ann.
0:09:28.8 AC: Thanks so much, Lynne. I really appreciate the time and, cheers to 2021, my friend.
0:09:34.2 LJJ: Cheers. Cheers, in person, in person. Money, I’m Home. Lynne Jarman-Johnson. Thank you so much, Jake Esselink, for your production skills. And if you have a topic that you’d like us to share, please send it our way, and especially as the new year gets rocking, we would love to have some nice new content, too. So, thanks so much everyone for listening. Have a great week.