Matt's Note: Going Rogue
Last month, Gene wrote about his impending retirement and announced my new role as the President of Rogue Credit Union. I am honored to serve our members in this new role. Although I am not new to Rogue, I may be new to you. So, let me introduce myself.
A Little About Me
The Rogue Valley is my home! When my family moved to Medford 17 years ago, I did not expect to ever say that. The move was intended to be a short-term relocation to take advantage of a career stepping-stone opportunity at a local credit union. Little did I know that not only would the job provide a wonderful work environment for my career to thrive, but that my family would also fall in love with the valley and build amazing friendships here. It’s a place that our whole family now loves to call home.
While an opportunity at Rogue Credit Union brought me to the valley, it was not my first experience with credit unions. The beginning of my credit union story goes all the way back to my childhood days when my father took me to Ensign Federal Credit Union to open my first savings account. He served on the Board of Directors of that small credit union and would tell us stories over the dinner table about all the people they were able to help through the services they offered. I remember going to the credit union’s annual meetings and watching him run for re-election to that Board seat. While that was all interesting, the best part was that everyone that attended those meetings received a silver dollar, even us kids! I still have some of those silver dollars today. Their encouragement to save really had an impact on my life.
Because of what I had learned, I was eager to start my career at Clark County Credit Union in Las Vegas as a young professional. I will forever be grateful to that credit union. I gained invaluable experience and they helped pay for my education, including a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas…Go Rebels! Shortly after completing my MBA, I had the opportunity to move to Southern Oregon and join Rogue.
It was 2004 when I was fortunate to join Rogue as the Information Services Department Manager. Over the last 17 years since then I’ve held a wide variety of roles at Rogue, from Chief Operations Officer, to Chief Financial Officer and most recently, Executive Vice President. Most importantly, I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside Rogue leaders and the Board of Directors in setting the credit union’s strategic priorities – with a focus taking care of YOU, our members.
I served on our Leadership Team through the Great Recession, working to ensure that your credit union remained a safe and stable financial option for southern Oregon. In 2014, I lead the purchase and assumption of Chetco Federal Credit Union, which allowed Rogue to build an even stronger organization, serving more of rural Oregon.
Today, I am honored to serve as your President. I love Rogue and the credit union movement and truly believe in what credit unions stand for – people helping people. I am blessed to have a career in such an amazing movement where we get to help individuals achieve their own personal prosperity.
Outside of my role at Rogue, my family is my priority. My wife, Teresa, and I have five great kids, including two we have adopted. My oldest is in college studying to be a special education teacher and the other four attend Medford schools. Their participation in local activities keep our family very busy. When time allows, we love camping and backpacking throughout this beautiful region.
Grateful for Mentors
Due in part to my recent promotion, I have been very reflective about my career and life path. This has increased my gratitude for mentors. I have been incredibly blessed in my life to have mentors and I am sure I’m not alone. Many of us have benefited from wisdom that has been passed on to us by others. In my case, four individuals stand out from the rest that drastically impacted my life in immeasurable ways. I could write volumes on the things I learned from them, but here are a few highlights:
First, my father. He was a larger-than-life leader who commanded scores of airmen in the Air Force. From him, I learned to think, problem-solve, work hard, and respect women. His resilience and faith also inspired me as he fought cancer while still leading a community.
David Udall was the president of the mission in Argentina, where I served for my church as a young man. From him, I learned to trust in faith, love the people you serve, and be ambitious.
Wayne Tew was the CEO of the credit union in Las Vegas, where I started my career. From him, I learned the value of strategic clarity and to pursue education from both experiences and formal schooling.
Finally, our own Gene Pelham. The list of things I’ve learned from him is very long and includes placing value on our history, always balancing head with heart, consistently engaging in community betterment and being measured and methodical, especially when things are stressful.
These individuals are heroes to me, and I will forever be grateful to them. I feel a strong desire never to let them down or disrespect the values they taught me. However, I've come to realize that they didn't have superpowers. Yes, they were successful - BUT that wasn't what made them special. What set them apart was that they cared deeply and took the extra time to share what they had learned with others. I think we are all capable of doing that!
I recently shared a similar message of mentorship with our Rogue team members. I challenged them to share their knowledge with others and be open to the lessons they can learn from others. So, I would like to challenge all of you similarly.
First, find someone who is willing to share something you need or want to learn and listen to them!
Second, find someone that could benefit from something you know and share it with them!
If you do this, I firmly believe you will see life improvements for yourself as well as those you care about. Furthermore, it will help strengthen and bolster our community. It just takes a little caring and sharing!
What are your Thoughts?
I love getting feedback from members on messages like this. So, please share with me how this message resonated with you and maybe let us know what you’d like to hear about in future posts. You can do that be sending us a message at email@example.com.