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'Leading the Way' Podcast: James Schenck, CEO PenFed Credit Union

PenFed Credit Union, the 2nd largest federal credit union in the United States, serves their employees like the military serves the nation, entrusted by dedicated leaders, building a ‘team of teams,’ and a well-aligned mission.  CEO James Schenck delivers a clear and concise message about the importance of leadership, the differences and similarities between leading in the military, and leading in the corporate world. You’ll be inspired by their generous culture that began in 1935, and how the mindset of serving others is what built their rising population of 1.6 million members and over $23 billion in assets today.  

Learn how PenFed has adopted systems and processes to cater to their convenience-driven, agile members and how they managed to stay ahead of the curve of technology to better serve their customer. You’ll be moved by the stories of how this philanthropic organization provided massive relief efforts during and after the recent hurricane devastation in Puerto Rico. Tune-in as James shares his passion for being a responsible corporation by rolling out a highly creative veteran-led entrepreneur and mentor initiative. PenFed Credit Union is truly leading the way by proudly living up to their mission of embodying the collaborative spirit of “people helping people.”  

Key Soundbites  

  • On customer focus – “We have to be energized every day to make sure we are streaming value. We’ve grown up in a world in which our membership with the National Defense community moves every two or three years. So we need to be able to build systems and processes that can serve their financial needs 24/7. That is what’s allowed us to grow.”
  • On leadership style – “The best leaders in the military are really good listeners and really good communicators. Best leaders don’t need to be authoritative and bossy. Best leaders are able to articulate what the objective is, why it’s important, and how each one of them brings a unique skill that’s going to allow that mission to become fulfilled. It’s a very similar leadership in the military as in corporate success.”
  • On agility – “A leader needs to be informative, communitive, and always available, because throughout an operation, things always don’t go as planned. So, a leader needs to be there to redirect, to adjust the mass resources where they matter, to lighten up resources or what we call economy of force where it doesn’t matter, and then continue to move the team forward, because in any environment there are constant challenges and changes.”
  • On strategy and collaboration – “In the Air Force, we had a certain mission to do, and everybody working together toward a common objective, bringing their unique skill at the right time allowed us to accomplish the mission successfully. The corporate world is no different—as a CEO, marketing, finance, compliance, legal, information technology, others with expertise. But it takes a certain vision of what the mission is, where the organization is going, aligning the resources and then really attracting, recruiting, training, and retaining the best and the brightest to be able to execute that mission.”
  • On talent acquisition – “Hire individuals that bring a ‘performance ego, in other words they want to be the best at what they do. Couple that with an employee who has a ‘team ego’ to accomplish their goal with an overall team. Hire someone that doesn’t get complacent, that’s willing to listen, learn and adapt to a feedback system.” 

About Leading the Way

Leading the Way is a weekly radio show and podcast series that highlights influential business leaders and leading people practices from i4cp. Co-hosted by Emmy award-winning television anchor and radio host, Scott Murray, and i4cp’s Angel Carlton, the show features interviews with respected business leaders from the world of business, sports, entertainment, healthcare and philanthropy.  

The show airs live every Sunday at 4 pm CT on KLIF 570 in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, the global audience is invited to listen live on www.klif.com  and the weekly podcast debuts on iTunes or Google Play and the i4cp website the following week.