Mar 27 '18

Help us Get Big without Getting Biggity

Tansley Stearns
Tansley Stearns
Chief People and Strategy Officer

Editor's note: We did it, we eeked out one last blog post from Tansley before saying "Aloha - out." We think she's a fantastic writer -- enjoy!

When I applied to participate in i3, I was working at BestSource Credit Union in Waterford, MI. I was responsible for all of the frontline teams. I loved the work, but my view of credit unions and the world was narrow. Around that same time, our CEO during my annual review gave me some interesting advice. He said, “Tansley, I know you love credit unions, but consider that there is a big world out there beyond them. You may want to explore that before you are ‘tied’ to credit unions for good.”

Tansley Stearns
Tansley Stearns
Chief People and Strategy Officer

Once I participated in i3, there was no chance of me taking that advice. Suddenly I was surrounded by some of the smartest human beings I’d ever met. They were not just smart, but they were passionate about what an impact credit unions could make. They were also driven to challenge the industry and those of us helping lead the industry to do better. Starting with my first i3 meeting, my world view exploded. I was exposed not just to the other incredible i3ers, but also to organizations well beyond credit unions that were innovating and helping create positive change.

Our credit union implemented ideas from i3 that drove loan volume and helped improve our brand. We started to incorporate the innovation methodology with our team and exposed them to different ways of thinking. My participation was not just a growth opportunity for me, but for our credit union, our members and ultimately for our industry.

Since those early days of i3, the program has only gotten stronger. In over 15 years of innovating, Filene has learned so much about how to innovate, how to execute and how to create a culture of innovation within an organization. Exposure to that learning can transform your career as an individual, but it can also do so much for our industry.

Roy Bergengren once said that credit unions must “get big without getting biggity.” Scale matters deeply. Credit unions have a tremendous opportunity to help consumers have a stronger financial future. We can’t grow, scale and transform lives without new ideas and people who will create those ideas and most importantly execute on them. Participating in i3 can do so much more than change your life personally. It can help us live up to the vision that the founders of our movement had so many years ago.

Step up. Lean in. Apply.

Editor's note, again: Applications for the 2018 i3 class are now open. Apply here, but hurry, applications close on May 31. Make this the year you go for it!