Ask yourself, what makes a great CEO? It’s highly likely that most of the answers darting around your head are probably just guesses or subjective, based on your own personal experience. There are, however, numerous studies and papers written on this exact question. While it is hard to pinpoint the exact attributes or characteristics that make a successful CEO, it is clear that there are key similarities among most successful CEOs.
Forbes magazine says, “CEOs must have three Cs: credibility, competence, and caring” while Harvard Business Review reports that the best CEOs are distinguished by their ability to manifest the very best from their workforce and possess these top three attributes: realistic optimism; subservience to purpose; and finding order in chaos.
Now, you may be asking yourself, what does a CEO do? In general, a CEO’s core responsibilities are: setting strategy and direction; modeling and setting the company’s culture, values, and behavior; building and leading the senior executive team; and allocating capital to the company’s priorities. However, after analyzing nearly 4,000 executive assessments, Russell Reynolds Associates reports that top CEOs also display the following nine attributes: willingness to take calculated risks; bias toward action; ability to efficiently “read” people; forward thinking (the ability to plan for the future); intrepid (the ability to perform effectively in complex and difficult environments); team building (the ability to achieve success through others); strategic yet tactical; tough yet emotionally sensitive; and, finally, decisive yet inclusive.
2016 was a great year for the credit union industry. Credit unions achieved success, not only from a fiscal standpoint, but also, by setting new standards in company culture, collaboration, and commitment to community service. These accomplishments are directly related to the CEO’s core responsibilities.
Now, let’s turn the spotlight to highlight some of 2016’s top acclaimed credit union CEOs.
CEO of the year – from National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU)
Patsy Stuard, Fort Lee Federal Credit Union (assets $250M or less)
Christopher O`Connor, Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union (assets more than $250M)
CEO of the year, from CU Times
Tom Gryp, Notre Dame Federal Credit Union
Credit Union Hero of the Year, from Credit Union Magazine
Steven Post, Vermont State Employees Credit Union (VSECU)
Mignhon Tourné, ASI Federal CU was also recognized for her ”Extraordinary Commitment During Dire Circumstances”
Suzy Fonesca, Lower Valley CU was also recognized for her “Dedication to Serving the Underserved”
Herb Wegner Memorial Awards for Outstanding Individual Achievement 2016, from National Credit Union Foundation
Daniel F. Egan, retired President and CEO of the Massachusetts Credit Union League, New Hampshire Credit Union League, and the Credit Union Association of Rhode Island (now known as the Cooperative Credit Union Association)
C. Alan Peppers, Westerra Credit Union
William J. Bynum, Hope Credit Union
2016 Women of Influence in the Company Executive category, from Nashville Business Journal
Caren Gabriel, Ascend Federal Credit Union
Corporate Culture Award, from SmartCEO
Lourdes Cortez, North Jersey Federal Credit Union
Wyoming Women of Influence Award
Stephanie Teubner, Blue Federal Credit Union
Advocate of the Year Award, from California Credit Union League
Brett Martinez, Redwood Credit Union
CEO of the Year, from New Jersey Credit Union League
Linda McFadden, XCEL Federal Credit Union
Outstanding Credit Union CEO Award, from Maine Credit Union League
James M. Gratto, York County FCU
Oregon Credit Union Advocate of the Year, from Northwest Credit Union Association
Scott Burgess, Rivermark Community CU
To highlight the trickle-down effect a great CEO has on their company, San Diego Business Journal recognized Teresa Halleck of San Diego County Credit Union (SDCCU) at their 23rd annual Women Who Mean Business Awards. Is it a coincidence that SDCCU was also named by readers of The San Diego Union-Tribune as San Diego’s best credit union for the 17th consecutive year? And, selected in the recent reader’s poll as San Diego’s best financial planner and best home loan provider for the seventh year in a row, and best auto loan provider for the third year in a row?
Another prime example is Ardent Credit Union’s Rob Werner, who Philadelphia Business Journal included in its 2016 25 Most Admired CEOs and SmartCEO named Top Money Manager in 2015. Ardent Credit Union, not surprisingly, also lays acclaim to the following awards: Best Credit Unions to Work for in 2016 by CU Journal; Healthiest Company Award Winner 2016 by SmartCEO; CU MagazineRock Star Nominee 2016, Bridget Moran, AVP Call Center; Outstanding Member Service by MemberView; Five-Star Rated by Bauer Financial and strongest, financial institution in the country.
It is no surprise that a great leader is invaluable, and an integral part of the success of any company.
Oak Tree Business Systems, Inc. also has amazing leadership, as outlined in our recent blog article Pillars of Oak, Unshaken by the Sands of Time. It highlights our CEO, Rich Gallagher, and President, Genelle Rich, with a combined 42 years of continuous leadership for Oak Tree. Oak Tree`s excellence in providing the best, most compliant, credit union forms for over 30 years can be attributed to their commitment, collaboration and culture.
What makes your CEO great? Let us know what you think in the comments below.