Spotlight: Stephanie Davis, First Community FCU

Personal motto: Do the best you can every day; it will pay off in the end.

August 10, 2010
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Who: Stephanie Davis
What: Member Solutions Manager, First Community FCU
Where: Parchment, Mich.

CU Mag: Why did the CBS Evening News cover your credit card programs?
Davis: We recently started a platinum Visa credit card program, built with members’ needs and benefits in mind. Our consultant, Ondine Irving from Card Analysis Solutions, brought the opportunity to our attention.

CBS had approached her about the interview. Our new card program is listed on the Dean’s list on Irving’s Web site [] and First Community Federal is a featured credit union.

CU Mag: What was it like when the film crews took over your lobby?
Davis: It was very exciting. At the time, it didn’t seem like the big deal it turned out to be.

The process was simple and fast. The credit union received great feedback from the membership and recognition from other area credit unions.

CU Mag: How has your credit card program changed?
Davis: The biggest change we made is that now the credit union controls the underwriting and rates, and we can work directly with members during their times of need.

We have both fixed-rate and variable-rate products, and we offer a rewards program. We control the program and we have a say in how it affects our members.

CU Mag: Why did you overhaul your credit card program?
Davis: Like many other credit unions, we sold our credit card portfolio about 5 and half years ago. At the time, it seemed like the right move to help mitigate risk.

Over time, we realized members weren’t happy with the service they received, rates and fees were increasing, and members weren’t treated the way we wanted them to be treated. It was clear the credit union could and needed to offer a better credit card program.

CU Mag: What’s the role of credit cards in your business development?
Davis: Credit cards are a core product, as are all loans at our credit union. We market them at new account openings, we offer incentives to cardholders, and we track them in our strategic milestones.

CU Mag: What’s the best part about being a member solutions manager?
Davis: Being able to have an impact on members by improving processes, offering new products, and making member loans.

As a manager, I can take part in these initiatives. And I also have contact with members so I can see how these programs affect them. It’s rewarding to hear from members and know that we truly make a difference.

CU Mag: What’s the first thing you do after work?
Davis: Pick up my children, and try to figure out what they’ve done or have learned each day. They’re twins—a boy and a girl—just under three years old.

CU Mag: What’s it like being a mother of multiples?
Davis: Having twins has been wonderful. These are our only children, so we don’t know it to be any different.

An amazing thing about being a parent of multiples is seeing what very unique individuals they are even though they have similar features and the same birth date. They are true companions for each other, and they share a bond that’s just amazing.

CU Mag: What’s your personal motto?
Davis: Do the best you can every day; it will pay off in the end.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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