[MUSIC PLAYING] BRANDI GOMEZ: Hi. Welcome to our podcast, MakingCents, brought to you by Navy Federal Credit Union. I'm one of your hosts, Brandi Gomez, and I'll be taking your questions to the experts to help you make cents of your money. Pun intended. Welcome to the making cents podcast. It's Military Appreciation Month, which means we're here to celebrate and honor our members, the military veterans and their families.
And I'll be chatting with one of our Navy Federal leaders about how commitment connects us to our mission of serving and extends our commitment to caring for our members, our team members, and our communities. So welcome to the show, Dottie. We are so excited to have you.
DOTTIE DAY: Thank you so much, Brandi. I'm excited to be here.
BRANDI GOMEZ: As I shared, May is military appreciation month, and I know you're a veteran and a military spouse. So tell our listeners a little bit about you, your time in the military, and also what's your role here now at Navy Federal?
DOTTIE DAY: Absolutely. Well, I served almost seven years in the United States Navy, and I'm really grateful for my experience while I was on active duty. I was able to meet my husband. We were able to build a family, and my time in the Navy and my time as a military spouse-- my husband served 27 years in the military-- was actually what brought me to Navy Federal. I currently serve as the Vice President of our Winchester Operations Center as well as Vice President of Contact Center.
BRANDI GOMEZ: Amazing. I want to say first, Dottie, thank you for your service to our country. And as a military spouse, I really want to thank you for your service because I know firsthand what it takes to hold down the fort at home. And all of our listeners certainly connect to that as well, so thank you so, so much. Well, I want to kick things off by taking a little bit of a trip down memory lane. Think about your first years in the service or your time as a military spouse, and what advice would you give yourself?
DOTTIE DAY: I think when I first joined the military, I really saw the Navy as the land of opportunity. I was able to grow and learn and experience a lot of different things through three or four duty stations very early. I would say that if I was to give my younger self some more advice, it would be to say yes. Say yes to every opportunity that comes across. Be willing to learn, and don't let fear stop you from taking on those new challenges because I think that was one of the things that I learned a little bit later on as I was getting ready to transition out of the military. But I definitely take that advice and applied it in my career at Navy Federal.
BRANDI GOMEZ: I love that. I was actually just telling one of our interns here today, she was saying how everyone has something that they bring to the table. Everybody has something to offer, and sometimes it's just getting in the room and meeting people that could lead you on a whole different adventure. So it sounds like you have found a lot of purpose after serving, and I know that this is something that I talk to my husband a lot about. He serves in the Marine Corps Reserves.
He's been in for about 13, 14 years, but I realized that one day he's going to have to retire. And he wants to find something that's fulfilling. So, Dottie, you've been with the credit union now over 20 years. So I have to imagine you have so many stories when it comes to just how our branch team members and your time and branch have just gone above and beyond to serve our members.
DOTTIE DAY: Before I worked for Navy Federal, I was a military spouse transitioning from overseas station in Okinawa. And I can tell you the experience that I had when I walked into a branch at Naval Station Oceana really does epitomize what our team members do to serve. I walked in to cash a check just like any other normal member would. I shared with the team member that we were just coming back from an overseas tour, and we were getting reacclimated to stateside. And the member service representative did more than just cash my check.
She went on to tell me where the nearest ATMs were. She gave me a list of all the commissaries. She told me what exchanges to go to. She told me about what neighborhoods and what schools were in the area. She even went on to talk about the parks that were nearby that we would want to take our kids to. And that's more than service, right?
She did more than just take care of the business that I came in there for. She genuinely cared about my ability to feel comfortable and transition back to a normal, stateside life. And that was a moment where I really realized that there is so much more than just walking into a branch and feeling familiar. I really understood at that moment that that team member wanted me to feel comfortable, wanted me to feel welcome and really be a part of the community. And that was a moment-- that was an aha moment for me, I think.
BRANDI GOMEZ: And so special, and it almost sounds like what she did truly aligns with your own personal values, which I think is so important after you serve and where you choose to bank. You need to make sure that who you're banking with and who you're showing up to work with every day aligns with your values, and it sounds like that member service representative truly lived into our values of service and commitment. So what an incredible reflection.
DOTTIE DAY: Yeah, it was a wonderful experience, and really that was what sealed the deal for me to make sure that I wanted to come work at an organization that cared about their members in the way that team member cared about me in that moment.
BRANDI GOMEZ: I love that. Our member service representatives are just incredible human beings. I've had a few opportunities to shadow alongside them and hear how they're able to truly care for our members in such a unique way. And I think that even as an employee at Navy Federal, I certainly feel that every day. Similar to your experience in the branch, I found myself-- my husband was deployed. We were expecting our second child, and at this point, I'm just doing everything I can to waddle my way to work every day.
We're building the crib on the weekends, and next thing I know, my team here at Navy Federal completely surprised me, blindsided me with a virtual baby shower. And I just-- I think about that as one of my most cherished memories here because they didn't have to do that for me. That was beyond what they had to do for me as an employee. So I very much reflect on that and appreciate those kind of aha moments where we know we're meant to be somewhere.
So let's talk a little bit more about, really, your involvement with the military community still today. I know that we recently launched a Military Community Network, an employee resource group. Tell us a little bit about that. How did it come to be?
DOTTIE DAY: So it's interesting. We have a lot of, obviously, service connected team members. So whether that be a military spouse, a veteran or retiree, maybe a child of an active duty or retiree or veteran, and maybe even just an ally, somebody that feels very passionate about our military community. And we really wanted to find a way to bring this community together, to give them resources, to provide education, to find a shared space where they can collectively come together and feel like they belong part of the group.
And what we are finding-- what we found was when we launched this military community, we were unsure about the engagement that we would get. But not surprising at all, because this is our culture, what we did find very quickly were team members were engaged from across all parts of the organizations and all business units. We have remote team members, team members in the field and in branch. We have team members that are at campuses, and they're connecting with one another.
They're sharing their experiences. They're sharing their previous duty stations. They're sharing what it was like to live on military bases and/or raise children. They're also sharing the hardships in terms of what is it-- what does it look like when I have to PCS and I have to take my job with me or try to take my job with me? So we're really pouring into this community to find the resources that they need. We are sharing volunteer opportunities, opportunities for them to come together and be of service to one another.
And it's been a really, really great first employee resource group at Navy Federal and I'm just so proud of them and the connections that they make, the networking that they do. The mentorship that is naturally happening within this organization and within this group is really inspiring.
BRANDI GOMEZ: I know I really-- I love that. I've really enjoyed seeing just the camaraderie that this employee resource group has created. It really allows our employees to feel even further connected to our mission of who we're serving. And then there are just a few that I'm like, oh, wow. I didn't know they served. So I'm learning something new about team members, and I think in this hybrid environment, it is truly connecting us.
I feel as if it's a space where all of us belong and can be connected through the military service. So-- and something else I really wanted to talk about was about our branch operations. So you mentioned a little bit about your former time in branch ops. I'd love to hear more about that. Certainly know that I think it's like 45% of our branch operations team members have some sort of direct tie to the military. So tell me a little bit about your journey in branch ops, and how do you feel like our branches are truly connected to the community?
DOTTIE DAY: Absolutely. Our-- for me, I started as a part-time member service representative. So I sat in the seat of our MSRs across the desk from a member, veteran, retiree, family member working through a solution. So I understand how challenging that can be. And so our team members within our branches really do become the face of Navy Federal.
And what I find is that when a member walks into a branch, they see all of Navy Federal in that one MSR. They see checking. They see savings. They see security. They see fraud. They see mortgage. They see everything that we offer at the credit union through that MSR. And it's a little bit of a big responsibility for our MSRs to be able to take care of that member, to understand their needs, and to really find solutions for that member.
What I really love about our branch team members is they are incredibly resourceful, and they know they have an entire credit union to support them. So they know where to reach out to others when they need help. But they really want to find a way to say yes to our members and to really serve them and meet them where they are. So whether they're there for a challenging situation like a recent tragedy in their family, or whether they are there to open a new credit card or maybe a new checking account for their college bound students, so they're there for the good times and for the bad times. And it really takes a very special heart of service to be able to do that, and that's what our branch team members bring.
BRANDI GOMEZ: That's perfectly said. I know that for some of our members, it's part of their daily routine, stopping by the Navy Federal branch to see the member service representative who they get to catch up with while also going to cash a check. So I am so inspired by the service that they provide our members and truly being there, as you said, through the highs and the lows. And they also serve in a really unique position in that I find them to be our-- they're our boots on the ground support.
They are that true connection to the local community that I myself might not necessarily have, but they're going to know who's in the community. Who are those nonprofit partners that they get to work with so that they can truly champion community together and provide that volunteer service going beyond banking, if you will, to be there for our members? So tell me a little bit more about the community aspect. How are we appreciating our members through volunteerism or giving back in philanthropic giving?
DOTTIE DAY: The interesting part of our branch team members and even our team members within our campuses, service gets translated a little bit differently. I think that when you have a heart of service and you kind lead through that space, you are consistently going to find ways to pour into and to give back to the communities in which you live and work. So our team members at Navy Federal do a really great job of understanding the needs within their community and connecting those resources to one another.
So whether that be time, talent, or treasures, whatever that is that they're donating, it's really exciting for them to get involved and be a part of that. And what I find, too, is that when our team members work together in philanthropic giving or spend time volunteering for a charitable event or organization that means a lot to them, they are uplifted themselves. It fills up their cup. It makes them feel connected to their teammates and to their community, and it deepens those relationships.
So when they come back to work, they feel good about what they're doing. They feel good about what they're doing within the community. And those are the experiences that I think that we've seen over and over again played out in our field units and our branches and in our campuses.
BRANDI GOMEZ: Definitely. You are like making my heart sing over here with what you're saying. I have been able to see everything that our team members do, whether it is through Toys for Tots or hosting mock interviews through some of our nonprofit partners, helping those service members transitioning to get their resume ready for job applications. Or it could be a local supply drive. I think our employees are so special, and actually, why Navy Federal is so special is because we are just so giving.
As a not-for-profit credit union, I think it's just part of who we are to serve and to take care of those around us. So I love all of that. And I want to circle back on a few things about your time transitioning out of service. We mentioned a little bit about purpose and how important that is, and I think sometimes when you're reaching that transition period, it might be a little daunting to think about what's the next chapter? So talk about a little bit of what are the opportunities here, or what are skills that are easily transferable from the military that you see yourself using?
DOTTIE DAY: I think when we think about either transitioning service members or even military spouses that are looking for employment, very often the jobs and roles that we have within the community are pretty linear to their particular MOS or their type of field that they're working in. But what we tend to take for granted is that team members that transition from the military to Navy Federal or as military spouses to Navy Federal bring with them a lot of resourcefulness. They are resourceful.
Very often they are bringing leadership skills. They are bringing resiliency and understanding of teamwork. They are also bringing an ability to articulate and to communicate goals and objectives in ways that sometimes other roles do not. So very-- specifically, when we think about those types of skill sets, it's really a point, and you mentioned earlier like resume writing.
We recently held a workshop for military spouses and for veterans that walked through what their job description was within the military, and what are those skills kind of translate over into a corporate environment? And we found that, again, a lot of leadership opportunities, a lot of opportunities to really highlight teamwork and the ability to work on projects, multiple work streams, things along that nature that would align more with kind of project work or project coordinator work that they didn't see themselves in. And that happens-- that is true also when we have military spouses that are volunteering. They bring with them a lot of skill sets like organization and documentation and leadership that they wouldn't normally apply to a regular job environment.
BRANDI GOMEZ: It's true. And I will say, before I came to Navy Federal, you don't really quite think about all of the roles that are here. It could be anywhere from grounds keeping to working in our mortgage lending department to-- I mean, I'm in corporate social responsibility to leadership. I mean I think that-- really, the possibilities are endless here. Tell me a little bit about the roles that you're hearing that we might be really trying to recruit for.
DOTTIE DAY: We have a lot of roles, and specifically here at Winchester, we are really looking to continue to grow our workforce here. We're at about 2,700 people, and we have an opportunity to add another 1,500 people or so. We have a lot of member service roles, obviously, within Contact Center, within branch. But we also have roles within HR. We have communications specialist roles.
We have our roles ISD which are more technical based roles, computer based roles. We also have roles within real estate lending, lending, credit cards, membership. There's a lot of roles that are hiring very specifically here at Winchester and I know across GPO as well as headquarters. And it's exciting to see the growth opportunities that we have at Navy Federal.
What I have found, and I just said this during a new employee orientation class this morning. There is a lot of opportunity at Navy Federal. And when you join an organization that invests in your ability to grow and develop and know that our careers are not necessarily always linear, right? They can go they can go all sorts of different directions. There's lateral moves. There's enrichment assignments. There's realignment moves that really help you to continue to develop and grow and offers you deeper job satisfaction because you're going to be able to find a position that you feel passionate about, that you feel that you're contributing to the organization as a whole and really keep you growing and enjoying your job every day.
So that's what I have found, and I've been fortunate to have a lot of jobs at Navy Federal moving from branch to Contact Center to strategy to training and support. So there's a lot of opportunity with the Navy Federal. And I think that when you look at the job roles that are out there, you can see that there is a wide breadth of opportunity at our organization.
BRANDI GOMEZ: And I just have to say, I mean, we make it so easy online. If you go to navyfederal.org, you can see all of the positions that we're hiring for. So really I encourage if you're looking for purpose after service or if you're a military spouse really looking for the next opportunity, take a look at our website. I would highly encourage you to check that out.
It is military appreciation month, and we do appreciate our military community all year long. But diving into the commitment that connects us with our members, how do you feel as if we go beyond banking to support them? I know we have what's called deployment checklists. So you mentioned a little bit about being part of that first hand. What other ways do you feel like we support and appreciate our members?
DOTTIE DAY: I think what Navy Federal does better than most organizations, even those that support veterans and active duty service members, is we understand that our members journey through life in very, very different stages. So we are very intentional about finding ways to meet the needs of our members where they are. So whether they are early in career and they really need to understand, as you stated, here's your deployment checklist. This is what you need to be able to prepare yourself to deploy.
Or whether it's they're coming back from an overseas tour, and they need to get acclimated. Or maybe this is the first time they're buying a car. Maybe this is the first time that they're preparing to buy a house. Maybe they're preparing to send their child off to school.
So we want to give them resources at every single step of their journey. And it's not about a product and/or service that we are giving them, but it's about helping them make good financial decisions all the way along their journey. And so there's things that we do. Like we do like we talked about the pre-deployment checklist. We also do transitioning checklists, so when they're getting ready to leave the service, whether they're retiring or whether they're transitioning out, to help prepare them for what that looks like.
We also do retirement seminars to help them as they're preparing for retirement. We do home buying seminars to help prepare someone to make good decisions about buying a home. Those are all areas that we spend a lot of time preparing and educating our members to help them make good decisions no matter where they are in their journey.
BRANDI GOMEZ: It reminds me a lot of what Mary McDuffie our president and CEO when I first started, she was communicating a lot about the show me you know me. Make it simple. Do it for me, and tell me what's next. And I feel like Navy Federal is committed to that, is committed to living into that and making sure that our members feel like we're always going to be there for them, wherever they're at along their financial journey, especially. Something else that we're doing here soon is-- and I'm really excited for it is our team members here at Navy Federal are rallying together for military appreciation month.
We're partnering with Operation Gratitude to put together paracord lanyards. and thank you cards for deployed service members and veterans. And I cannot wait. Those are my favorite events of the year because our team members just feel excited to be here. They're connecting. Tell me a little bit more about how we are getting hands on to serve our members through community volunteerism.
DOTTIE DAY: Absolutely. I think it's interesting that you bring that up. I just recently talked to a team member who shared that being able to come together with their team to do activities like the paracords or when we're signing our Valentine's Day cards or whatever the case may be, it gives them an opportunity to really connect to the members that they're serving. So they start to see, and they start to imagine what it's like to be deployed, to be away from their families during the holidays, and/or to miss special events. And it really gives them a deeper connection to our mission and to our members and understanding the sacrifices that our members are experiencing every day while they're serving on active duty.
It also really gives them an opportunity to connect to one another. They share in service together. Our team members get to share those experiences and really understand what each other are doing and really value that time together. We're getting ready to prepare for a veterans dinner here in Winchester, and we are really excited. We're excited to bring all of these retirees together in celebration of all of their years of service and thank them for their time while they were on active duty.
And we're really excited to bring in a guest speaker. We're bringing in a Master Chief who's coming in. She's active duty right now, but she's going to share a message specifically about service and about what her role is serving while she's in-- while she's active duty and what she plans to do when she transitions out of the military and gets ready for retirement, how she continues to serve or how she plans to continue to serve. So we're really excited to bring that message, and we're excited because we know that we're going to be able to bring our team members together with these veterans. They're going to be able to share a meal together, and they're going to be able to have time, network, and really showing appreciation for our service members. So we're excited about that.
BRANDI GOMEZ: I can hear the excitement in your voice and how all of this just is so fulfilling and I'm sure rewarding, too, knowing that you did-- you are a veteran and a military spouse, and we just appreciate you so much, Dottie. Is there anything else you want to share with our listeners today?
DOTTIE DAY: Only that I just know that Navy Federal has really offered me an opportunity to continue to serve in a different capacity, but it's been equally fulfilling. And I think that when team members are able to align their personal passions and their personal purpose or sense of purpose specifically with their employer of choice, and for me that's Navy Federal, it does bring a lot of job satisfaction, a lot of job fulfillment. And so I feel good about the work that I do every day. I feel good about the people that I work with every day. And that is really something that is special and unique and I'm just glad to be a part of it.
BRANDI GOMEZ: Very perfect way for us to close out today. As we shared, it's military appreciation month. So whether you're a member deployed listening to this podcast or you're one of our members visiting us in one of our branches around the world or calling our contact center 24/7/365, please know we are so appreciative of you. We are appreciative of the families that are holding down the fort at home and for everything that you do. We are so grateful.
ANNOUNCER: Navy Federal Credit Union is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration. This podcast is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax, or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial professional for specific information on how certain laws may apply to your individual financial situation. References to and participation with the military community does not constitute organizational endorsement. Navy Federal is an equal housing lender. Navy Federal Credit Union, our members are the mission.