Chamber Blog

Mar 18, 2015 — by: Heather Tramp

In May, we will host the Maximum Impact Leadercast event at Oregon Tech. This exciting event brings world-renowned speakers together to share their knowledge and experience with you. As we countdown to Klamath’s premiere leadership event, we wanted to spotlight a few of our local leaders.

We’ve chosen a few leaders in our community and asked them to share their thoughts and ideas about leadership.


Today, we spoke with Janet Buckalew from Pacific Crest Federal Credit Union. Janet Buckalew is the VP  of Business Development.  Janet has 34 years in the financial industry including the last 17 years with Pacific Crest.  Janet also assists members with their investment needs with a Series 6 & 63 license. She is a certified Financial Counselor and CUNA Certified Marketing Executive.

Janet is involved with Area Agency on Aging, Klamath County Chamber of Commerce, Military Affairs Committee (MAC), Relay for Life, Southern Oregon Ambassador for Credit Union for Kids, and United Way.  She serves on the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) Grassroots Advocacy Committee.

Janet says Pacific Crest FCU offers the greatest environment for “people helping people.”  She enjoys helping members reach their financial goals.

Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Maybe someone who has been a mentor to you? Why and how did this person impact your life?

Janet: I have been extremely lucky to have several mentors in my career that impacted my life.  The first is Kathie Philp, CEO/President of Pacific Crest Federal Credit Union.  It is rare to have a female CEO in our industry and Kathie is always professional, serves in our community and puts the members first in decision making. A mentor helps you to grow beyond what you think is possible.  

The other mentor that I had was Gudrun Stroud.  She was a bank branch manager.  Gudrun always stretched her staff to reach their sales goals and she celebrated successes. I learned a lot from her on how to manage staff and operations.  She would take the time to teach us and allow us to make mistakes in order to learn from them.

Both of these great ladies are wonderful role models.

How do you encourage creative thinking within your organization?

When there is a problem in my department, I would ask my staff their opinions and solutions to resolve the challenge.  It allows staff to commit to the solution and the staff comes up with great ideas.  We also ask staff for marketing ideas to promote the credit union.

Which is most important to your organization—mission, core values or vision?

I believe core values are the most important element to our organization.  Our core values contribute to the Mission and Vision statement.  Core values provide Pacific Crest management direction and help in decision making. 

How do you or other leaders in your organization communicate the “core values”?

Our core values are very important to Pacific Crest. The credit union hung a banner printed with our core values for our members and staff to see every day. We also introduce our core values to every new hire during orientation. 

Do you set aside specific times to cast vision to your employees and other leaders?

The credit union managers coach their employees monthly.  One of the questions we end the coaching sessions with is asking the employee for a Service Promise story.  The story tells us, which of the core values that our staff used in serving our member.  It is a wonderful way to reinforce our beliefs and celebrate our employee’s member service.

What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?

Find a mentor that is willing to share their experiences and use them as an accountability partner to grow into a positive role model.

What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader?

I believe that it is important to keep learning.  Attending Leadercast each year is inspiring and provides resources to improve my leadership and mentoring skills.  I enjoy reading blogs, books, and websites to learn more in my field and be an effective manager.

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