Young professionals in the credit union movement are typically go-getters, industry advocates, and aspiring or rising leaders who have earned (or would like to earn) the notice and respect of their higher-ups. Young Professionals who are members of the Cornerstone YP Program are spotlighted throughout the year to help you get to know these up-and-comers.
Cynthia Moreno is a collections clerk at South Texas Federal Credit Union in McAllen. Moreno’s three years in the industry have taught her that her favorite things about working for the credit union are how involved they are within their community
and their philosophy “Exceeding everyone's expectation.”
The journey of mentorship is one that holds a special place in Moreno’s heart. In her words, "I have been both a mentor and a mentee. However, the most rewarding has been being a mentor. I enjoy seeing a professional change in a person whether it be personally or professionally, and to know I was able to help them with it is truly rewarding."
Commitment to continuous learning is evident in her approach to professional development. "During my time at the credit union, I have attended various webinars and trainings, all of which have helped further my professional development,” Moreno said. “The goal is to continue to grow professionally and personally in addition to advancing my career within the credit union.”
Moreno’s role models are her parents. “They taught me to always work hard, be humble, treat people with kindness, and above all be confident in myself with everything I do.”
A unique fact about Moreno is that her middle name is a last name. "My middle name is my mom’s maiden name; therefore, I have a last name for a middle name. Children bear their father’s last name in the United States, but in Mexico, both parents pass their last name to their children. My mom really wanted me to have her last name, so she put it as my middle name."
Jessica Pollard began her credit union journey with Education First Federal Credit Union eight years ago in Beaumont, Texas. She’s served the credit union in various lending departments and is currently a business loan manager.
Pollard’s favorite thing about her credit union experience is the encompassing culture. “Our credit union is not only member-focused but employee-focused,” Pollard said. “Our current CEO has done a great job of listening to employees
and their needs and promoting a great work-life balance."
Her professional growth can be credited, in part, to influential figures in her life. "I have had a few mentors along the way,” she said. “My current supervisor has been the biggest mentor throughout my journey. She has allowed me to learn new things and test myself by giving me new responsibilities, which has helped me gain additional knowledge, skills, and confidence to further my career."
When it comes to community involvement, Pollard actively participates in Education First FCU's Volunteer Investment Program. She’s happy to support Meals on Wheels – Nutrition and Services for Seniors. "Every week I have a route where I deliver meals for the elderly. I appreciate getting the opportunity to drop off a hot meal and a positive exchange to brighten their day."
Diving into the subject of cross-generational collaboration, Pollard notes, "Bridging the gap takes effort and open-mindedness from both employees and upper management." And with her role as chairman in a new YP group, she ensures younger voices are heard and acknowledged in upper-level management.
Pollard said one fact about her that tends to surprise people is her love of pranks. "I love to prank people. I prank people at work as well. Recently, I had some Party Snaps in my drawer, which are little poppers you throw on the ground to make them pop loudly. I taped them to the bottom of my supervisor’s chair so when she sat down, they went off."
In terms of accomplishments, Pollard is proud of the business she started with her husband. “I am a commercial lender with a finance degree, so I have been able to help him get his dream started, and I love getting to watch it grow. I am very proud of him."
Pollard’s adventurous spirit shines when considering what she would buy if she won the lottery. "Lots of plane tickets,” she said. “I love traveling and exploring the world. It is amazing to meet new people and learn about different cultures, foods, and experiences from people with different backgrounds."
Lauren Roberts is the vice president of operations at Wellspring Federal Credit Union in Orange, Texas. Roberts has proudly served the credit union industry for 14 years.
Her favorite thing about her job is the capacity to grow professionally within the same credit union.
Roberts recalls beginning her credit union journey. "When I began working at the credit union 14 years ago, I was a part-time temporary teller. From there, I moved to loan processing, then to loan officer, accounting assistant, accounting manager, and finally to vice president of operations."
Guidance and mentorship have played a pivotal role in her growth. She shares heartfelt gratitude for her CEO, David Meaux: "He gave me advancement opportunities and helped me open doors I didn’t think I could go through. He is a true example of servant leadership."
Roberts is passionate about advocacy and community involvement. She enjoys participating in events such as the Governmental Affairs Conference and Hike the Hill. She’s a graduate of SCMS Management School and is president of the Sabine Chapter of Credit Unions for the Cornerstone League. Her dedication doesn't stop there. With roles in Governmental Affairs Committee and Texas Sub Committee, ambassadorships with the Orange and Bridge City Chambers of Commerce, and Leadership Southeast Texas completion in 2022, Roberts is a true advocate for credit unions and her community.
Religion holds a special place in Laura's life. Her role model is Jesus Christ. “I strive (and fail) most days to live like Him. To care for others, and to put others above myself."
When it comes to superpowers, Roberts expresses a wish to time travel. "I would like the ability to go back to any moment in time to experience things from not only my life, but also from historical events." She adds, "If that is asking too much, I would just like to be able to fly."
Roberts enjoys a balance of laughter and suspense regarding media, watching episodes of Seinfeld, The Office, and Friends while also indulging in mystery/thriller novels from authors like Stephen King and John Grisham.
An accomplishment that she is particularly proud of is being a mother to her sons. “I am the proud mother of eight-year-old triplet boys who give my life meaning,” said Roberts.
Get to know Cornerstone League President/CEO Caroline Willard and your Young Professional Advisors for a coffee chat. Caroline will share industry updates and insights, as well as some personal anecdotes about her career and leadership. A can’t-miss event.
Coffee with Caroline
Nov. 1, 2023
9–10 a.m. CT
The YP Virtual Meetup is FREE to Cornerstone League Young Professionals.
Questions? Contact Sarah Bowman at 800-442-5762, ext. 6423.
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