Member Spotlight: Jennifer Lehn
Jennifer Lehn has been part of the credit-union movement for the last 17 years. She graduated from the University of Idaho with majors in accounting and finance, achieved her CPA and CMA designations, and worked for 10 years with a regional CPA firm specializing in financial institution audits. In 1989 she joined Spokane Railway Credit Union (now Numerica Credit Union) as chief financial officer. She was elected to the CUNA CFO Council Executive Committee in 2001.
Jennifer became executive vice president of Numerica in 2003, managing all retail operations, lending, marketing, and information technology. Numerica currently has $590 million in assets, 65,000 members, and 14 branches throughout eastern and central Washington and northern Idaho.
In 2004 she was elected to the CUNA OpSS Council Executive Committee and is currently the Conference Chair. Jennifer is also a board member of Washington Credit Union League’s League Services and Gonzaga Preparatory School. She is married and has two sons, ages 12 and 17.
Biggest challenge for 2006:
We have been committed as an organization to give our members the “best deal” possible-favorable loan and deposit rates. The current flat yield curve environment makes that very difficult—it’s hard to generate an interest margin when the rates on deposits are not too different than the rates on loans!
Best piece of OpSS advice:
It’s critical to understand all functional areas of a credit union in order to do a good job managing any one area. Spend the time to gain an appreciation for what drives success for others, and you’ll be more successful yourself.
Greatest benefit from being a member of the council:
The networking opportunities! From a practical matter, those of us who participate can save so much time learning what worked, and what didn’t, from others. Credit union people are so willing to share—sometimes entire programs that would cost thousands of dollars coming from a vendor! From an emotional standpoint, it’s helpful to know that others have dealt with (and survived!) similar issues to the ones we may be facing.
Best part of your job:
My boss, Dennis Cutter, has truly been a visionary in terms of the credit union movement. He brings tremendous energy to leading our credit union, and I feel fortunate to work with an organization that is firmly grounded in doing a great job for members today, while taking the steps necessary to insure success in the future.
Hardest part of your job:
We have grown tremendously, and with growth and competition in the marketplace we have changed the way we do business. We are constantly asking our staff to change with us, and sometimes the skills that once served an employee well are not the same skills needed for success in 2006. Finding the best solution for employees that either don’t wish to or cannot change can be difficult.
Sharing my two sons’ interest in snow skiing, anything outdoors like hiking or biking.
People would be surprised to learn that you . . .
That as a senior in high school I was named “Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow” for the state of Washington. Life just doesn’t always happen as planned! Friends know that my life is pretty busy, that a lot of take-out food gets consumed at our house, and to compensate for my lack of interest in housecleaning my husband engaged outside help.
Most recent book:
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell
Life goal not yet accomplished:
I always wanted to run a marathon. I’m probably too old to run one at this point, but someday if I have lots of time, maybe I’ll walk one.
Something that always makes you laugh:
My golden retriever Lacy. I swear she is smarter than lots of people, and she is the only one in my family who is always happy to see me.
If you had an extra hour in the day. . .
I’d do a better job staying connected with friends, and maybe cook more often!
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