Interview with Susan Barnes, Chief Operating Officer, FedChoice Federal Credit Union

“Learn Just One New Thing Every Day”: Interview with Susan Barnes, Chief Operating Officer, FedChoice Federal Credit Union

Originally, from Emmitsburg, Maryland, I grew up on a dairy farm where I received my early education on how to balance farm accounting books. As an officer in various positions in 4-H and school clubs, I gained leadership skills early in life. I graduated from Central Pennsylvania Business School with an associate degree in Information Systems Management. While the degree was focused on COBOL programming, I also took many accounting courses. Then as I worked fulltime, I finished my bachelor’s degree at the University of Maryland, University College in Information Systems Management and minor in Human Resources Management.

I also have an MBA equivalent certificate in Executive Banking from the Consumer Bankers Association. In the workforce, I found more success with my accounting background and worked between accountant and HR roles for many years, combining my IT experience when needed. I became a Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) and moved into HR management. Prior to FedChoice, I was a strategic HR/Change Management Partner for a large, worldwide organization in the telecommunications/manufacturing business. FedChoice, (IR FCU at the time), was my first exposure to Credit Unions I started as the HR Manager, then HR Director, and switched careers to be Lending Services Director, SVP Assets & Payments Strategy, and now Chief Operating Officer (COO).

How long have you been with FedChoice? What is the secret for its success?

This month, I will be celebrating my 20-year anniversary with FedChoice. FedChoice has continued to be successful because of its hard working and dedicated employees and its loyal members. FedChoice continues to keep changing by streamlining processes and working to make programs more accessible for ease of use for the members. The constant adjusting, changing, and trying new approaches keeps FedChoice moving towards success.

Who were your mentors?

There are many mentors. I learned a lot about Credit Unions from asking questions and listening to those who have been with FedChoice longer than I have been. I have used multiple people as my mentors for operational knowledge and outside leadership coaching. My parents were also mentors to me on how to lead, conduct yourself, be trustworthy and build patience.

How is working for a credit union different from any other work?

Credit Unions are different as we care about getting the members’ story and helping them through exceptional customer service. The culture is vastly different and not cut-throat like “for-profit” organizations.

What is the most enjoyable part of working at FedChoice?

Working with very talented people who have a desire to make things right for the members and employees. Solving problems and always trying to change for the better makes it very enjoyable to work here; otherwise, I would be bored to death; I thrive on a challenge.

Why is community engagement important to you? Do you support any volunteer causes?

Community engagement has been engrained in me from an early age through 4-H, being good neighbors, and helping to teach and learn new things in the community. Most of the volunteering I have done over the last few years includes – being a scholarship judge for Credit Unions, supporting the Cherry Blossom Run, Army 10 miler, veteran organizations, church events/groups, and lending support for causes related to learning differences (dyslexic, executive functioning, etc.).

What is your life’s motto and why? What do you like to do in your free time?

Learn just one new thing every day. It keeps you humbled, and we are always learning. In my free time, I am a college sports fan (especially basketball and my college-age daughters’ teams), like to read, enjoy visiting and collecting lighthouses, participate in a woman’s church group, and recently, exploring walking trails, small beaches, and parks in Maryland that I never knew existed.

Do you have a special message for our members?

Thank you to our members for your loyalty and continual support for FedChoice. We look forward to continuing to grow FedChoice with new or enhanced programs and services, giving back to our community, and truly living the words “Altogether Better”.

 

Related Posts

Interview with Ms. Brenda H. Jackson, Chairperson of the FedChoice FCU Supervisory Committee and Board Member
Interview with Ms. Brenda H. Jackson, Chairperson of the FedChoice FCU Supervisory Committee and Board Member

All human beings have a life story. My life story began in Atlanta, GA, where I was born and raised…

Interview with Jenny Creavalle, FedChoice FCU’s Business Development Specialist
Interview with Jenny Creavalle, FedChoice FCU’s Business Development Specialist

My name is Jenny Creavalle, and although I was born in the United States, there is a tiny island in…

“Sometimes making sacrifices early on can benefit you in the future.” – Deija Crawford
“Sometimes making sacrifices early on can benefit you in the future.” – Deija Crawford

Did you enjoy the cover image? We asked Deija Crawford, one of FedChoice FCU’s most recent hires and a talented…

Fall Grant Cycle for Teachers’ Aid Program (TAP) is Now Open!
Fall Grant Cycle for Teachers’ Aid Program (TAP) is Now Open!

If you are a teacher or an administrator (or know of one), the FedChoice Charitable Foundation opened the Fall Grant…

The Heart of Purpose by Sandra Park, CCUE FedChoice FCU’s Chief Strategy and People Officer
The Heart of Purpose by Sandra Park, CCUE FedChoice FCU’s Chief Strategy and People Officer

Our recent celebration of the Educational Scholarship and Teachers’ Aid Program Awards reminds me of an extraordinary story.

Interview with Kimberly Byrd, Special Education Teacher, Dranesville Elementary School
Interview with Kimberly Byrd, Special Education Teacher, Dranesville Elementary School

I was born and raised in the suburbs outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I am the youngest of four children (three…

Interview with Marie Biabo, Reading Teacher, Cora L. Rice Elementary School
Interview with Marie Biabo, Reading Teacher, Cora L. Rice Elementary School

My name is Marie Biabo. I was born in Cameroon and moved to the United States 20 years ago. I…

Interview with Ms. Michelle Hibbert, Community Liaison, Cora L. Rice Elementary School
Interview with Ms. Michelle Hibbert, Community Liaison, Cora L. Rice Elementary School

I’m Michelle Hibbert and home for me will always be the Caribbean Island of Trinidad and Tobago, where I was…

Interview with Sandra Park, FCF Board Member and FedChoice FCU’s Chief People & Strategy Officer
Interview with Sandra Park, FCF Board Member and FedChoice FCU’s Chief People & Strategy Officer

I came to the United States when I was 10. I immigrated from South Korea with my parents and younger…

Interview with Susan Barnes, Chief Operating Officer, FedChoice Federal Credit Union
Interview with Susan Barnes, Chief Operating Officer, FedChoice Federal Credit Union

Originally, from Emmitsburg, Maryland, I grew up on a dairy farm where I received my early education on how to…

Interview with Stephan Matthews, President, BIG, Robert C. Weaver HUD Chapter
Interview with Stephan Matthews, President, BIG, Robert C. Weaver HUD Chapter

I was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up mainly in the city and in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Interview with Brett Noll, Chairman of the Board, FedChoice Charitable Foundation
Interview with Brett Noll, Chairman of the Board, FedChoice Charitable Foundation

I grew up in a small town in Upstate New York following my sister and brothers' decision to attend The…

Marcia Lynch, FedChoice Business Development Manager Shares Her Story
Marcia Lynch, FedChoice Business Development Manager Shares Her Story

Originally, I was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware. I moved to Maryland in 2006 I hold a degree in…

Interview with Karen Sandor, Director, FedChoice Board of Directors:  “Keep on, Keepin’ on.”
Interview with Karen Sandor, Director, FedChoice Board of Directors: “Keep on, Keepin’ on.”

I was born and raised in New Jersey, near the beach, and spent many summers frolicking in the ocean as…

FedChoice Charitable Foundation Celebrates Relaunch and New Community Focus
FedChoice Charitable Foundation Celebrates Relaunch and New Community Focus

FedChoice Charitable Foundation is pleased to announce its official relaunch and expanded focus on bringing financial literacy and education programs…

The owner of this website has made a commitment to accessibility and inclusion, please report any problems that you encounter using the contact form on this website. This site uses the WP ADA Compliance Check plugin to enhance accessibility.