With a current total of 115,000 members and $1.5 billion in assets, Spokane-based Numerica Credit Union continues to grow.
And according to human resources external recruiter Jennifer Little, a key part of Numerica’s success comes from its focus on building its employees into leaders with strong community involvement.
“When hiring for leadership positions, whether internally or externally, we look for people who are doing innovative things both within our organization and others,” she says.
Altogether, Numerica has 18 branch locations, 13 of which are located in Spokane and North Idaho. The bulk of its 378 employees work out of the credit union’s Spokane Valley headquarters, at 14610 E Sprague.
Numerica reports that 242 of its employees—nearly two-thirds—are under the age of 40. Of those, 17 percent hold leadership or senior-level positions.
While the credit union has added 35 new hires in various open positions so far this year, Little says only a small portion of those positions have been senior-level or leadership roles.
“Because we generally first promote from within, our hiring is kind of a domino effect,” she says. “Once higher level positions have filled, we then have more openings for the less experienced, entry-level positions.”
Little says entry-level positions usually only require customer service and, in some cases, cash-handling experience. However, candidates for leadership roles are chosen for their resourcefulness in the workplace and their willingness to volunteer.
“These are people who are using tools and resources, looking for creative ways to streamline procedures, who are also interested in getting our name out there,” Little says.
Among those young leaders is Manuel Hochheimer, assistant vice president of corporate and external relations at Numerica. Hochheimer is one of four Numerica employees nominated for inclusion in the Journal’s Rising Stars special section, which seeks to spotlight some of the Spokane area’s emerging leaders.
Hochheimer holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Colorado State University and is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at Whitworth University.
“I hope to continue on and one day become president or CEO of a credit union or community bank,” says Hochheimer. “The biggest challenge I find in being in a leadership role, whether it’s at work or in the community, is where you choose to focus your time and energy. I try to balance my efforts so I can feel I’ve given my all at the end of the day.”
Hochheimer says he was born in Germany and moved to the Spokane area at the age of 5. Now, at age 35, Hochheimer serves on several area boards and committees, including Spokane Rotary Club 21, Spokane County United Way Emerging Leaders Society, the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Multicultural Affairs for the city of Spokane, and the Northwest Credit Union Association’s governmental affairs and political action committee.
“I feel my background as an immigrant gives me a sense of understanding and connection to other cultures,” he says. “In my job, I try to be a diplomat of sorts, serving as a connector in negotiating the collaboration of multiple interests.”
Another of Numerica’s rising stars is Amanda Swan. Currently serving as communications and relations coordinator, she has been with Numerica for three years.
The 29-year-old woman earned both a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in communications from Eastern Washington University. During her time at EWU, she focused on work with nonprofits and ended up working with The Lands Council, a local nonprofit organization, after college.
“Because of my background, when I first started with Numerica, it was my job to oversee our charitable giving and corporate sponsorships,” she says. “I helped to grow that area from total donations of $450,000 to over $1 million last year.”
In the future, Swan hopes to continue using her professional platform to continue giving back to the community, both personally and on behalf of Numerica.
“That’s part of what I love most about my job, is representing this culture that is genuinely invested in helping its members and their community to live well,” she says. “It’s very encouraging, and also motivates me personally in giving back.”
Swan is a member of the Eastern Washington University Alumni Association board, the Blessings Under the Bridge women’s committee, and the Wishing Star Foundation event committee.
Numerica offers its employees several opportunities for advancement throughout their careers, including job shadowing, monthly goals, brainstorming meetings with supervisors, external education seminars, and in-house training in skills like leadership and communication.
“We facilitate a lot of in-house training to give employee the tools to reach their goals or get to that next step,” Little says.
She says employees also have the ability to participate in what are called “organizational projects,” focusing on rolling out new processes and procedures for Numerica’s members.
“Emerging leaders would be those who show interest and are involved in a lot of those projects, using their creative thinking to improve Numerica,” she says.
This past year, some of those improvement ideas have led to the opening of new branches and improvements in design at others.
Numerica’s downtown branch market manager, Jake Krummel, another Rising Stars nominee, says he was proud to be a part of the opening of that location in 2014 and still considers it his home away from home.
“I am proud that my peers and supervisors supported me in helping to create the downtown branch,” he says. “Downtown is still a new niche for us, one of those relatively untapped markets. I’m still really enjoying being able to develop the team there and be a part of their success.”
Krummel, 34, holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Whitworth University. He has worked for Numerica for four years, and says his current motto is, “Love the life you live, and live the life you love.”
“I am lucky enough to live and work with so many intelligent people, whether they’re family, mentors, or fellow team members,” he says. “I try to always put out that vibe of living life to its fullest, and hopefully that attitude rubs off on those around me.”
Krummel serves on the Spokane Club 20/30’s involvement committee, the Center for Justice event committee, and is co-chairman for the Rotary Club 21 member-involvement committee. He is also a graduate of the Leadership Spokane program.
Another of Numerica’s young rising executives is KayCee Murray, the credit union’s vice president of information systems. Murray, 38, holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Montana Tech of the University of Montana and a master’s degree in business administration from Webster University, of Webster Groves, Mo.
Murray has been with the credit union for 16 years. In that time, having served in various managerial roles within Numerica’s information technology department, she eventually moved to strategic leadership roles, managing staff, and overseeing essential online and mobile banking programming systems.
She also has helped to establish relationships with other credit unions and vendors through her role as a member of Symitar’s Western users group. Symitar is a division of Jack Henry & Associates Inc., which creates data processing technology for U.S. credit unions.
Murray says her goal is to continue taking Numerica’s technology to the next level, possibly even becoming a chief information officer one day.
“One of the things I like about Numerica is our ability to move quickly, implementing fun new technology for our members,” she says. “We are on the level or ahead of many of our competitors when it comes to that. I’d like to keep doing work in the credit union industry for sure, as this is a unique group I wouldn’t want to leave behind.”
Murray is a member of the Spokane Valley Career & Technical Education advisory committee. She also recently began work with the American Cancer Society’s Coaches vs. Cancer committee and has been using her skills in technology to help that organization provide mobile bidding capability at its charity auctions.
“Overall, I feel Numerica is consistently working to support the needs of the community and its employees,” she says. “They provide skill development as well as the opportunities to give back. That combination allows for so much positive growth.”
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