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Solutions That Work: A Conversation with Laurie Maddalena

Tue, Jul 16, 2013

Columbia, Maryland

Nick Koumentakos

Solutions That Work: A Conversation with Laurie Maddalena

Nick:  Laurie, one of the best parts of my coming to the Association and back to credit unions has been reconnecting with old friends.  Since our time at MCT together, I know you have been on quite a journey.  The association recently featured you at our annual meeting where you shared some great information on leadership and talent management.  We also have you signed, sealed and delivered for our Women’s Leadership Conference where you will be leading a session that allows our participants to identify their strengths and then leverage them to be even more successful.  What else have you been up to?

It has been great working with the Association to bring leadership training to the credit unions. I have also been working directly with credit unions in the capacity of executive coaching, leadership assessments, and on-site leadership development programs. I recently traveled to Orlando to present a session at the League of Southeastern Credit Unions conference. One of my most exciting projects has been the Leadership in Action program we launched with the Association in May, and we are halfwaythrough already! We have some excellent credit union leaders in that program, and I look forward to the next group. In September, we will start an Executive Success Circle for vice presidents and C-level leaders. And most importantly, my husband and I welcomed our second child, Luca, in January, so our kids keep us on our toes!

Nick:  Not surprised you have been so busy based on the great feedback we received at annual meeting and, of course, baby Luca might also impact your capacity too.  In addition to the work you will do with us at Women’s Leadership and your current work with Leadership in Action group, what else are you partnering with the Association on?

In August, we will be hosting a breakfast where I will do an encore presentation of "The Effective Executive" session I delivered at the annual meeting and convention and also share more information about the upcoming Success Circle starting in September for executives. I will also be doing a couple half-day leadership courses in September on talent management and being an effective executive. I am really excited to be involved in the new Women's Leadership Conference in October, and in January, we will launch the second Leadership in Action program for mid-level and emerging leaders.

Nick:  While I had awareness of the collaboration, hearing you rattle them all off like that is actually pretty impressive.  Why have you chosen the Association as your priority when it comes to delivering high impact content, strategy and concepts?

I believe the Association is a great resource to credit unions, and John Bratsakis is doing a great job connecting with executives to ensure the Association is exceeding the needs of credit unions. The Association has been an advocate for the credit union movement, and has provided great training and resources such as compliance and BSA. As a former HR executive at a local credit union, I know our staff benefited from these offerings. My mission is to help leaders become exceptional so they can build outstanding organizational cultures where people love to come to work. I also love the mission of credit unions.  When John approached me about partnering with the Association, I jumped at the opportunity. The partnership allows me to reach more leaders and make a bigger impact.

 Nick:  That is kind of you to say, but put your coaching hat on.  What do we need to do more of, less of, or differently?

I believe the Association needs to continue to stay on the pulse of what credit unions need and provide the membership with innovative, progressive and timely programs and resources. I'm happy to see the Association branch out into leadership development so that managers and executives will have access to high quality education and resources to help them become exceptional leaders. Oftentimes people are promoted into management positions and don't have the opportunity to get the development and training they need for their new role. Through the partnership with the Association, we now have programs for each level of leadership. This also allows credit unions that don't have a big training budget to send one or two people through a comprehensive leadership program in the local DC area.

Nick:  You mentioned Executive Success Circle. Tell me about that program.

The Executive Success Circle is a year-long program for vice presidents and C-level leaders. Each month focuses on a strategic leadership topic and provides leaders with strategies and resources that can be implemented immediately. Leaders also have the opportunity to bring a challenge, idea or project to the group for peer feedback. I like to call each month a "mini-retreat" because it gives executives the knowledge, time, and space to focus on developing themselves as leaders. This program is also great for leaders who are in succession for a CEO role. The group is intentionally small (no more than 10 leaders) so that the discussions are rich and meaningful.

Nick:  Finally, what is your favorite quick hitting leadership guidance that many leaders overlook?

Make sure that you focus on culture. Many leaders talk about having a great culture, but in my experience, few put the action behind the words. Patrick Lencioni wrote a great book called, The Advantage, about how the health of an organization is crucial for a company to be successful. Simple things like getting out and interacting with employees and showing appreciation go a long way in building great relationships with employees. 

Nick:  Thanks Laurie.  For more information about any of the classes that Laurie mentioned, please call me at 443-325-0766 or email