Effective leadership in the pandemic and beyond

Top leaders have gotten through the COVID-19 crisis by focusing on people—including the board—and leveraging video technology.

Credit union leaders certainly have learned a lot this year after many were ordered to shut their offices and send everyone home for weeks, months or an indeterminate amount of time to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Now, they are examining what leadership efforts worked well and trying to turn their new leadership and operational knowledge into a foundation for continued success.

Situational Leadership

The pandemic shutdown forced credit unions to dust off their business continuity plans and plunge into action. For most, it was an unusual and new experience. But for Brett Martinez, president/CEO of $5 billion Redwood Credit Union with 355,000 members in Santa Rosa, California, the pandemic was just the latest in a string of crises.

“We have had major natural disasters every single year since 2015, so this is just another disaster for us and, unfortunately, we have gotten really good at it,” he says.

Most of the disasters Redwood CU has faced have been wildfires in its area, but a power shutdown aimed at preventing fires caused the CU to close its main office in November 2019. This turned out to be a good test run for the pandemic response.


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