As the leader of 65 terrific colleagues at the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU), I understand the need for diverse leadership training and management tools. In fact, I have managed people in some capacity since my high school years – including as part of statewide and federal political campaigns and initiatives, as chief of staff for a U.S. Representative, as a senior executive and head lobbyist for companies and associations, and now as a trade association CEO. I have even started and sold a couple small businesses. Throughout, I have learned that every position takes different leadership skills. No job, company, task, or employee is the same. I believe leaders and managers must practice what I call fluid leadership in order to be successful - adjusting quickly to multiple situations and the people involved, and ultimately making final decisions. Each component of management and leadership requires thinking, planning and – of course, the hardest part – executing.
Have I made mistakes along the way? Absolutely! Will I continue to make mistakes? Highly likely – though I am typically very good at putting changes and processes in place so mistakes are not repeated. More importantly, I never stop learning. I read about a book a week in the evenings and on weekends as a way to unwind and, well, learn. Many of these books are focused on leadership and management (and truth be told, on occasion I also read Florida-based mystery novels). My Kindle remains plugged in whenever not in use. I am also one of those strange birds that gets up extremely early and reads a dozen news and business sites on my iPad while on the treadmill.
With more than 25 years of government relations and management experience, I believe I bring a breadth of hands-on knowledge to my post as president and CEO of NAFCU, where I serve as the association’s chief advocate before Congress, the White House and federal regulatory agencies. While managing the NAFCU staff, I strive to lead this association in the best way I can, in strict accordance with my board's strategic direction and our members’ needs and desires – what we call Extreme Member Service. For 11 consecutive years, I’ve been honored to be listed as one of the most influential lobbyists in Washington, D.C., by The Hill newspaper. I have also been a commentator on Fox News, CNBC and CNN, and am quoted regularly in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and numerous financial services publications.
As an alumnus of Florida State University where I earned a bachelor's degree in economics, I must admit to being a rabid Seminoles athletics fan. I also hold a master's degree in public adminstration with a concentration in strategic management from Harvard University.
At the beginning of August, my colleague Anthony Demangone, NAFCU’s executive vice president and COO, and I released a book on leadership and management development for executives, managers (and those that aspire to be) titled “Managing and Leading Well.”
The tagline of our book, “It ain’t rocket science, but it’s still hard work,” captures the point of what we are trying to accomplish. As we wrote in our introduction: “This book is not about imparting never-before-revealed ‘secrets’ of management.” It should serve as a guide, “a straightforward and honest companion as you strive to better lead the people...” The book can be purchased here.
Shelby and Aimee at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, FL
I find balance in life through spending time outdoors. I especially enjoy riding my Harley-Davidson motorcycle and fly-fishing – two activities that require me to unplug and concentrate. In addition, I love time with my wife of 23 years, Aimee, and affable daughter, Shelby (just typing out Shelby’s name makes me smile).