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How Suncoast Creates Leaders Who Make a Difference

  • January 19, 2018
  • By Erin Palmer

    Erin Palmer

    Content Marketing Specialist

    Erin Palmer is a content marketing specialist for Suncoast Credit Union. She has written articles for numerous publications and websites, including the Chicago Tribune and Huffington Post. Erin is happiest when curled up with a book, trying a new restaurant or playing with her dogs.

    We’d love to hear your thoughts about the blog! Email us and share what you think.

Suncoast aims to make a positive difference in the lives of our members and in our communities. To do that, we need strong leaders who truly care about making the credit union stronger.

And we sure do have them!

It didn’t happen by chance. We’ve worked to create a culture of leadership at Suncoast that keeps us driven, innovative and committed to creating the best experience for our members.

Here are some of the ways Suncoast creates leaders who make a difference.

We Invest in Our Employees

Did you know that Suncoast’s President and CEO, Kevin Johnson, started working at the credit union in 1985? Or that 43% of Suncoast’s vice presidents and senior leadership staff as of 2017 started at the company in entry-level positions?

It’s true! Suncoast gives employees opportunities to succeed and the tools they need to achieve their career goals.

We add new jobs at Suncoast all the time and create new departments to meet the evolving needs of our members. For example, our digital banking team was created to meet the growing technology needs of Suncoast members.

These career opportunities allow our employees to grow their careers at Suncoast. And when our leaders move up through the company, our members can benefit from their development!

Our President and CEO is a perfect example. During his time at Suncoast, he’s been through many changes within the company and externally in the financial industry. This gives him a wealth of experiences to draw upon when coming up with the best solutions for our members.

It’s important to have leaders who can deal with change. Suncoast’s leaders are developed to quickly assess situations, look at new opportunities and create necessary strategies to make sure our members always get the services they need.

Any company can create a leader. But Suncoast takes it a step further to create leaders who are committed to the credit union and the communities we serve.

We Value Learning and Development

Suncoast employees participate in a roundtable discussion on leadership

John F. Kennedy once said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” We couldn’t agree more!

That’s why we have a dedicated Learning & Development department to not only train our team members, but also create internal support resources, focus on ongoing educational programs and host mentoring opportunities.

All of this employee development helps to provide an exceptional experience for members. Suncoast has four training facilities across Florida and we also offer online courses and in-person training for employees.

Suncoast also has a Leadership Development department that provides personal and professional development for employees.

For example, this department has created the Leadership Excellence Achievement Program (LEAP). LEAP is a two-year program geared towards cultivating management and leadership talent within the credit union.

Employees have to apply for LEAP. To graduate, participants have to complete at least 20 hours of community service, spearhead a community initiative, complete learning modules, shadow two different Suncoast departments and attend a number of training sessions and Saturday workshops.

“LEAP brings together a diverse group of people who are willing to take up a significant challenge,” said Alex Savon, Suncoast’s leadership development manager. “Graduates establish themselves as a substantial presence in the credit union.”

We Learn From Each Other

Suncoast employees listen to a presentation on the topic of leadership

Since we all love to learn here, teaching each other is another way that Suncoast develops strong leaders. CU360 is a program created by our Leadership Development team that allows our employees to shadow other departments.

This gives us the chance to learn from each other by exposing our team members to different perspectives, sharing insights and improving communication. Most importantly, we develop a deeper understanding of other roles within the credit union.

That knowledge helps us provide even better service because we learn how each functional area contributes to the big picture of helping our members.

We Always Put Our Members First

Suncoast is all about improving our members’ lives. That’s our mission statement and it’s what our employees strive to do every day.

All of our leadership training and development stems from the central goal to help our members. Our passionate leaders create a workplace full of creative problem-solvers who go above and beyond for our members each day… and have fun doing it!


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