Kelly Jones - Accounting and Operations Manager at DMMCU
Kelly Jones has been a part of the credit union movement for over 11 years now, working her way up from a Member Service Representative to Accounting and Operations Manager at Des Moines Metro Credit Union. She has CRASHED, attends Emerging Leader Events, regularly attends Credit Union Events throughout the community and was recently selected to be part of the Iowa Innovation Group. We had the opportunity to talk with Kelly and get her take on the industry, her story, how to get buy in from your credit union to stay involved in the movement, and what her innovation group is working on!
How did you get your start into the Credit Union industry, and what has kept you here so long?
Kelly: I had been working at a payday advance company and the time had come to get out of there. Like most people, I did not know there was a difference between a bank and credit union. I was going to school for business and thinking about doing something within finance. When I started looking for a new job there was two different credit unions looking for employees, so I applied for them both and haven’t looked back. Honestly what has kept me here so long is my management team. They have always been supportive and very flexible while I was going to night school. They have always had confidence in me and would tell me they see me on the management team someday, and here I am. I love the credit union philosophy of “People Helping People”. In this crazy world, everybody no matter who you are needs help at some point in his or her life and being an account holder at a bank, I truly see the difference on how you are treated within the credit union industry.
You have had the opportunity to take part in many Credit Union Events. What are some of the top events you felt were most beneficial to you?
Oh my, I’ve been to so many of them. They are all beneficial in some way. Most of them have to do with job education. Getting to reconnect with your credit union peers and colleagues is always a great time. I would have to say being a Convention CRASHER is my all-time favorite so far. The volunteer project we did for Four Oaks was probably the best part. Working that close with Andrea Dose and Andy Janning was a blast. Those two are very passionate and sincere people; it is always a pleasure to see them and work with them. I absolutely loved the group of CRASHERS I was with and we are all still connected today.
A lot of people find it hard to break away from the grind of work and get out of the office to take part in these events, how did you convince your managers to get so involved?
I have always expressed interest in learning and taking on new tasks, which I think has helped. They see that eagerness and support that. Oftentimes these events are also continuing education and the learning curve to perform my daily tasks better and more efficient is always there. For the most part my credit union sends us to events that keep us up to date in our job areas. So it is win/win. If I am interested in an event, if we have sufficient staff on that day, management typically says yes. Advance notice and the why I want to attend is key to getting their support.
Let’s talk about the Innovation group a little. What drew you to this opportunity? What do you hope to get from it?
When it comes to group activities like this, I always doubt myself. Am I going to be able to put the time and effort into it that is needed? Am I going to be able to bring anything good to the table? I actually was not going to apply for innovations this year but I have a coworker that was very persistent. Every day Scott Meier would send me an email with the innovations information and tell me to sign up and he was not going to stop sending emails until I did. So here I am! This world is a very chaotic place and seems so fast paced, with the way innovations works, I am hoping to learn how to slow down and look at the whole picture.
We have heard you are already starting meeting with your team and brainstorming ideas. Without giving anything away but what are some of the top ideas your team has come up with?
It is very clear that financial education is something that is lacking in most adults today and school loan debt and credit card debt play a big role in people’s lives today. You will just have to stay tuned to find out.
“People helping People” is the backbone to the Credit Union movement. What do you think is the best way for other Credit Union members to get more involved?
I think that most credit union members do not actually know the difference between a bank and credit union. We are very similar in what we do. I think it should be a credit union’s main priority to educate its members from the time of account opening. Posting things in the lobby, newsletter, website, social media outlets, emails and maybe even mailings or events. Getting the word out there to the masses.
CUltivate is people helping people with our mission to spread the word, connect the people, and give an outlet to share your stories. Know someone in the industry we should interview? Drop us a line at CultivateYP@gmail.com #CUltivateTheMovement