Leadership Q&A: Brandon Michaels

Professional development, networking are the best ways to keep pushing forward.

by. Craig Sauer

Credit Union Magazine recently spoke with former CUNA CFO Council Executive Committee member Brandon Michaels about the importance of professional development in the wake of the CUNA Councils’ 6,000 member milestone.

Michaels is president/CEO of $488 million asset Mazuma Credit Union Kansas City, Mo.

CU Mag: What’s the best career advice you’ve received, and who did it come from?

Michaels: The best career advice I ever received was from a former CEO: “Don’t follow—lead.”

I found this advice very useful in the financial services industry. The industry is wrought with the status quo. In order to be successful in the future, someone has to lead and do something that shakes us out of our comfort zone.

Many leaders try to do this, but when complaints start happening, they tend to slowly migrate back to what’s comfortable. Or, the changes they make are just variations of what already exists in the industry.

CU Mag: Membership at the CUNA Councils has reached 6,000. What are the implications for the CU movement?

Michaels: It is a testament to the value each council brings to their respective members, but also the degree to which professionals are willing to share war stories and be a sounding board for their colleagues.

Achieving such a feat wouldn’t be possible without the remarkable people at CUNA and all they do for each and every council. The implications of this growth are numerous.

First, a strong council network increases credit union professionals’ standing within the industry. State leagues and associations, as well as CUNA, provide resources for learning and growth, but there is nothing like sending an email to a council of 1,500 experienced professionals within your same position/field and getting 100 answers back within a matter of minutes.

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