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Employee Spotlight: Crystalena, Programs Manager

Employee Spotlight Employee Spotlight: Crystalena, Programs Manager

Programs Manager

Years at Global:

Number of Positions Held: 5
- Member Service Representative (MSR)
- Marketing Specialist
- Communications Specialist
- Internal Communications Specialist
- Programs Manager

Fun Fact:
Crystalena teaches Ballet Folklorico to the Eastern Washington University BFA (Ballet Folklorico de Aztlan) team. Crystalena started the group in 2012 while she was a junior at Eastern. Back then, they were practicing in a small gym at an apartment complex before they gained official club status at the university and gained funding. After that, they were able to move into a dance studio in the EWU Rec Center. The group has practice twice a week and performs for community events, fundraisers and school celebrations. One of Crystalena’s favorite memories with the club is performing for the new EWU Presidents’ Investiture.

Global Beginnings:
Crystalena was an MSR for a little over a year at the Global Sullivan branch. She leapt for the opportunity to try something new out of college. She reflects back and shares how much she enjoyed getting to know her members and the Spokane Valley community. She also loved getting to know her fellow staff and seeing the new faces of Global; the Sullivan branch was a training branch. 

Crystalena says that learning the MSR work behind the scenes helped prepare her for her current role because she learned the flow of communication and the best way to reach staff. Her experience also helped her learn processes and procedures to better plan projects because she knew how MSRs and branches worked.

Crystalena's Global Journey:
While an MSR at the Sullivan branch, Crystalena wanted to use her communications degree so she reached out to VP of Marketing, Abigail Franklin, and asked if she could job shadow or intern in Marketing. Her initiative paid off! She was added to the marketing team immediately. Crystalena shares that the opportunity was a great chance to pursue something new, additional experience and professional growth.

Crystalena never imagined she would work for a credit union or in the finance industry. She acknowledges that it can be difficult to get your foot in the door in marketing and communications, especially in Spokane. She initially wanted to work in a non-profit, and animal welfare was one of the first ideas that came to mind. But when Crystalena interviewed for her MSR position, Yvonne Holland, VP Branch Operations, mentioned that Global was a not-for-profit. In that interview, Yvonne took the time to explain the difference between banks and credit unions. Crystalena remembers hearing about how credit unions do good in their communities and she wanted to know more. In her role as Marketing Programs Manager, she manages the Advocacy Program, which engages employees in the credit union difference.  

Crystalena is honored that she has been able to work in so many different positions. Working with different managers and hearing their stories and shared experiences has been enriching for her.

Global Teachings:
Crystalena remembers a particular training program early on in her Global journey, The Member Advantage. Her main takeaway was that whether you are having a good day or a bad day at work, the members you serve are not aware of what you are dealing with personally. Patience, time and understanding are needed for the members’ customer service experience. Members should walk away knowing Global is a trusted resource that is respectful and responsible. Crystalena likes this reminder to be present and meet the member where they are, regardless of what is going on personally. She says she tries to remember to keep everything professional because we never know what members are going through as well, and that one interaction could change their whole day.

The Global Difference:
Global was Crystalena’s first "adult job" as she says. She admires the community and culture that comes with working for Global. For her, that is very important, because she believes it is what helps retain employees. It is what has made her job so enjoyable. And her favorite part is engaging with staff from all over the credit union.

The Future?:
Crystalena references the merger with Alaska USA and is excited to embrace the extended impact she will be able to have on more communities outside of those Global has established in Spokane, North Idaho and Italy. Crystalena is excited to have a bigger net of employees and members to share the credit union difference with. Crystalena notes that Global has a lot to offer and that when we collaborate with Alaska USA, we can make both credit unions better, together.

Excellent At the Core:
When asked about Global's core values and which resonates most with her, Crystalena cited, ‘Be Excellent’. That’s the purpose Crystalena comes to work with every day. She has always been a people person and she enjoys how that has remained intact throughout her Global journey. To her, being excellent means being as compassionate and supportive as she can with everyone she meets and giving them the respect and attention they deserve. Be Excellent is her mantra, it means she tries her best and treats everyone equally.

Advice For New Hires:
Crystalena advises exploring different areas of the credit union. You never know what you will enjoy and resonate with unless you experience it. By experiencing different departments and branches, you can find that your career development is different than you first expected. Even if it’s different than what you went to school for, passions can be unlocked by gaining new experiences.

What do you love about Global?
The community involvement and how much our staff loves being involved. Crystalena is passionate about outreach, community events, support and fundraising. She has enjoyed opening up those opportunities for staff and letting them get to enjoy giving back to the causes they are passionate about. The non-profits and events we support do not go unrecognized in the community or by members, and that’s a key difference in being a credit union.

Crystalena says she loves seeing our staff get involved and seeing their efforts recognized by the community. It isn’t something you see at every company and Crystalena loves that it has been part of the Global experience.

Thank you, Crystalena, for all you do to make Global a great place for members and staff! We know your ‘Be Excellent’ mantra follows wherever you go and we are lucky to have a Programs Manager who is as passionate about the community as you are! 

Written By
Global Credit Union
Member Financial Education and Engagement

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