Lisa joined CommunityAmerica in 1995 and during her tenure has overseen nearly every function of the Credit Union. In her first five years as CEO, she has advanced the organization to more than $2.9 billion in assets and launched a series of new business divisions and strategies helping members achieve true financial peace-of-mind in their lives.
Lisa is one of three Kansas Citians to be recognized in 2019 among the ‘Top 100 Financial Executives’ by the national Business Journal network, and has been selected as a ‘Power 100’ honoree by the Kansas City Business Journal every year since becoming CEO. She’s been featured on the ‘Ingram’s 250’ list for multiple years running, and most recently, 435 South Magazine named Lisa among its ‘50 Most Powerful People in Kansas City.”
Lisa is incredibly passionate about and invested in Kansas City where she’s lived her whole life, supporting Kansas City’s civic, business and philanthropic organizations through a variety of leadership positions. Lisa serves on the Board of Directors for the Kansas City Area Development Council, the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, City Year Kansas City, Rockhurst University, St. Michael the Archangel, and the Advisory Board of the 15 and the Mahomies Foundation. She is also committed to the credit union movement at a national level, serving on the Board of Directors for the Credit Union National Association.
Under Lisa’s leadership, CommunityAmerica was recently named a ‘Best Place to Work’ in the Kansas City Business Journal, as well as the Nonprofit Connect ‘Business Philanthropist of the Year.’
Lisa and her husband Barry live in Lee’s Summit, Mo. A native of Independence, she continues to be active in the Jackson County community where she was raised. Lisa enjoys spending her free time with her family, including three children, nine brothers and sisters, and her granddaughter Ava.
Brad Burrow: Hello, this is the In a World with Real Media Podcast and I’m here with Lisa Ginter. Lisa, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. I was thinking about when we first met, I don’t know if you remember that, but it was the Go Red shoot. Do you remember that?
Lisa Ginter: Yeah, that’s right. I do. I do remember that.
Brad Burrow: So there’s a couple of things that have really struck me from that. We donated a lot of work and we love to donate our services to people. I think that’s a really, really important thing to be doing, and everybody needs a video. So we donate a lot. So we donated that, but you came in that day and we had been wanting to work with CommunityAmerica for a long time. And I don’t know if you remember this, but I won’t ever forget it, you walked in and I didn’t know who you were. I was like, “Hello, I’m Brad. And who are you with?” Do you remember that?
Lisa Ginter: Yes.
Brad Burrow: And you said, “Well, I’m the CEO of CommunityAmerica.” And I said, “You are?”
Lisa Ginter: I’m surprised I even said, “I’m CEO.” I don’t like throwing that title out, but-
Brad Burrow: Yeah, maybe you didn’t. Maybe you just said, “I’m with CommunityAmerica.” And then I think I said, “Oh, that’s great. I’ve really been wanting to work with you guys for so long.” And then Pam came in, Pam Berneking-
Lisa Ginter: I remember that.
Brad Burrow: … and she was part of the same Go Red event. Next thing you know, we’re working together. It was like it was meant to be.
Lisa Ginter: And that’s funny. The irony there is, so we started working with you and then shortly after I hired Pam Berneking, because Pam wasn’t working for me at that time.
Brad Burrow: She wasn’t?
Lisa Ginter: No, she was not. So she’s involved at the regional level on the board for Go Reds, but I knew Pam from Women Who Means Business. So anyway, so it’s the irony in both of that, but I’m working with you and I’m working with Pam.
Brad Burrow: Well, we’re very thankful that that happened. Yeah, that was awesome. So Women Who Mean Business, what year were you?
Lisa Ginter: 2010.
Brad Burrow: Okay, so I would have interviewed you that year probably.
Lisa Ginter: You did.
Brad Burrow: I think I did it for 15 years. I did it every year, Joyce Hay House involved.
Lisa Ginter: Yes, you did. I came here for the interview for-
Brad Burrow: You did?
Lisa Ginter: Uh-huh(affirmative).
Brad Burrow: Okay, so you had been here, and that’s really interesting. All right. So I’m looking through your background. You’ve been with CommunityAmerica since 1995. So we started in ’97 and that’s 22 years, so 24 years.
Lisa Ginter: Long time.
Brad Burrow: Amazing. So you really … What were you doing? I want to get into a little bit of your career. Where did you go to school and how did you kind of build up to that?
Lisa Ginter: Interesting. So I went to school, I’m home grown Kansas City girl through and through, grew up been a big family. We went to private schools through my elementary and high school years, and then ended up just staying in town, in Kansas City, and went to Rockhurst University. So graduated there with an accounting degree, and my first job out of college was to work with a CPA firm, a regional CPA firm based out of Wisconsin, but they had an office here in Kansas City and it specialized in auditing credit unions. I had no clue what a credit union was. Not a clue. And so-
Brad Burrow: That was fate, wasn’t it?
Lisa Ginter: Yeah, it was, It was a blessing in disguise, because I actually wanted another job that I ended up not getting. So they made an offer to me, I took it and quickly learned about the whole guiding principles of credit unions, which is people helping people and it really spoke to my heart. And so when I got in there, I was like, “I really love what this industry is about.” And two and a half years in, started my family, didn’t want to travel as much and landed in a credit union, that straight from my CPA job into a credit union as their CFO. So I was a pretty young CFO in a small credit union and I loved it. I knew this is where I was going to be for my entire career, because just the values, everything aligned with mine personally.
Brad Burrow: So one of the things that I notice about you and in, for the listeners that don’t know this, we’ve been able to kind of do some things for your family and some different things like that, which were really cool to see. But your family’s is an incredible family. I mean, I was blown away about how close even your extended family and it’s really cool to see. I can see that in the values of how you run the credit union. Would you agree with that? I mean, that whole approach is amazing.
Lisa Ginter: Yeah. My parents, I give them a lot of credit, because family, the values of your family and you have everything around you. But what really matters obviously, is your faith in your family and then your friends, but my parents were great role models for us. And so, we’ve just always … Like there’s 10 of us. So I’m the second oldest of 10. Ironically, 10 minutes may be the longest distance that we live. We live around each other. My kids, we live-
Brad Burrow: Still today that’s the case?
Lisa Ginter: Still today. I live in Lakewood. I started it and then all of them came to Lakewood. My kids, I have three kids, and two of them moved in to Lakewood. So it’s kind of sweet, but I feel like I’m doing something right, following in my parents’ footsteps because keeping that family close, you know you always have this big support team around you.
Brad Burrow: Yeah, and that was evident when your daughter had her baby and just seeing everybody. I know we don’t want to get into that, but it was just cool for me to see that, and see everybody there and the waiting room. It was like a movie.
Lisa Ginter: that’s one of the things that we’ve put in place in our families, that when everyone brings a new … My middle name is Haggerty. But when a new Haggerty comes into the world, it’s celebrated by everybody there. So all the big family comes, we stay even if it’s 4:00 in the morning, and so when they come out and say, “The baby and it’s a girl,” everybody cheers and that was exciting.
Brad Burrow: What a neat thing. That was really cool. I see that and then I see CommunityAmerica Credit Union, and I see some of the things that are happening there, and it’s kind of that same approach, right? I mean, very much a family atmosphere, everybody, a lot of awards, giving presence to people. They’re getting accolades on LinkedIn. I just think really cool.
Lisa Ginter: Well, thank you. Excuse me. No, I look at my career, my job, I didn’t even look at it as a job. I look at CommunityAmerica and everybody that’s part of CommunityAmerica as an extension of my big family, and I say that a lot, but I really truly mean it. And so if you walk that talk, if you want to do good things for them, and you … Like, I love celebrating with them every day. We are like a family. So when somebody is going through a difficult time, or dealing with cancer or chemo, we’re taking them to chemo. It’s a beautiful thing. And so when you live with your purpose and you lead with your heart, I think all things are possible, and it’s what I described about my family, my immediate family. We don’t want to be apart from each other. We want to stay close and we rally with each other. We cry with each other. I look at the family at CommunityAmerica, and I don’t see it any different.
Brad Burrow: Yeah, that’s awesome. And I even think so. So in all transparency we’re a vendor. I kind of feel like part of that family, which is really good.
Lisa Ginter: I’m glad. You are.
Brad Burrow: I mean, we do. We want to do great work, we love being around everybody. We love being a part of the successes and take pride in things that are happening. So it’s really cool.
Lisa Ginter: Thank you.
Brad Burrow: Yeah. So we’re learning a lot from watching you.
Lisa Ginter: Thank you.
Brad Burrow: That’s awesome. So talk a little bit about your career at CommunityAmerica. So 1995, I mean, you’ve got to be one of the longest tenured people at-
Lisa Ginter: Oh no, you’d be surprised. No, no, we’ve got 40, 45 tenured people. We were formerly the TWA Credit Union, and so now I think there might be two or three that precede me in … No, maybe more than that in tenures. Yeah, CommunityAmerica is one of those special places when you start working there, you just don’t want to leave. So a little bit jumping back in my career. So 1995, I just had my third baby and I was doing some consulting work with credit unions, and I worked very well. I have a great relationship with our regulators, and they reached out to me and said, “CommunityAmerica was looking for an internal auditor.” And so at the time I was like, “I don’t know if I want to be just specialized in one area.” So the CEO at the time, Dennis Pierce, who I’ve become very good friends with, but at the time, I didn’t know who he was. And so he came, I was running a couple of little credit unions and we needed to get them merged out. And so anyway, he came and that’s when I first met him.
Lisa Ginter: So he reached out to me about doing this internal audit job. So the funny story there is I actually turned him down four times, because I said, “Look, I’ll come help you get it up and running, but in 90 days, I can move on and I’ll get you somebody hired in there.” And so, he was very persistent. But what he wasn’t telling me was he was really looking to help elevate his leadership team. At the time when I got there, they were pretty plain vanilla. They did deposits, loans, and then they just were starting to dabble with checking accounts.
Brad Burrow: Really? Wow.
Lisa Ginter: Yeah, so he knew he needed to really elevate his leadership presence. So within six months, I was … So I accepted the challenge and I did my homework on him, so I knew he was a family man and just a good person through and through. So I felt like an immediate trust, but I didn’t know him enough to fully trust him. But I took a leap of faith with him, and boy, he was just a great individual to work with, to work for. And so yeah, within six months I was elevated to the executive team, and I think I won about every hat at CommunityAmerica. But when you love what you do, it doesn’t matter what job you take on, you take it on with excitement and-
Brad Burrow: Yeah. You love accepting challenges, it sounds like to me. That seems like something that has happened a lot in your career.
Lisa Ginter: Yeah.
Brad Burrow: Is that correct?
Lisa Ginter: I love solving problems. So when something comes up, I want to jump in and I’m a fix it kind of person. So I love jumping in and I don’t … I mean, I can jump in blind and figure, get to what we’re trying to solve for and then you learn along the way.
Brad Burrow: And those things tend to stretch us, right?
Lisa Ginter: Yeah.
Brad Burrow: I feel like that too. It’s like “Man, am I really going to do this ?” And then you do it and the next thing you know, “That wasn’t as hard as I thought it was maybe,” and you’ve learned something new.
Lisa Ginter: That’s right.
Brad Burrow: Is that the same way with you?
Lisa Ginter: Yeah. Absolutely. 100%.
Brad Burrow: So you started out as an auditor, is that correct?
Lisa Ginter: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Brad Burrow: And have moved up through the ranks, then all kinds of different things.
Lisa Ginter: Yes. I laugh about that. I give internal auditors a lot of hope, because-
Brad Burrow: Yeah, you can move up, right?
Lisa Ginter: You can. Absolutely you can.
Brad Burrow: Yeah, they see your career and it’s like, “You could do this too,” right? Yeah. That’s amazing. So moving up through, one of the things that … So I did some work for TWA back in the day and we’ve been in business since ’97, and gosh, the CommunityAmerica, the credit union has to have changed. I mean, do you look back at that and say, “Wow, that’s really …” From where you started to where it is now, it’s just got to be amazing to see that.
Lisa Ginter: I mean, do I look back? Yes. And where we’ve come it is pretty amazing. I like to look in the past to learn from where we want to go moving forward. But today, I think financial institutions today are so radically different than when they were … I mean, almost 25 years ago, when I started in ’95, I look back and it’s like, gosh, banks and credit unions are totally different today, and the environment and the competitive landscape has changed so dramatically. So there’s a lot of shifts and course corrections, I think in a regulatory environment, we have to make that we didn’t have to 20 years ago or 25 years ago.
Brad Burrow: Which is out of your control too, right?
Lisa Ginter: Correct.
Brad Burrow: You have no idea what Congress is going to do or how that could change, and you have to be ready for those things.
Lisa Ginter: That’s right.
Brad Burrow: Does that mean you have to have a staff really, that’s dedicated to watching what’s happening from that standpoint?
Lisa Ginter: Yeah. In today’s world, you need a mix of all kinds of talent, and you don’t want to surround yourself with people that are just like you. You’ve got to have the compliant driven individual, but you have to have the caring … I mean, the core values have to be the same. They have to align with that of CommunityAmerica, but yeah, you have to take a look at a full spectrum of what we’re responsible for, then you start to think about cyber attacks and fraud, and all of that. So we just have to keep layering the talent into the mix, because everything we do is for the sake of our members. So if it could harm our members in any way, we want to make sure we’re providing that level of insurance for them.
Brad Burrow: Yeah, more today than ever it’s-
Lisa Ginter: It’s scary.
Brad Burrow: It is. I’m sure there’s daily attacks to the system happening, right?
Lisa Ginter: It’s crazy that the number of attacks, crazy.
Brad Burrow: Yeah. So your security people have to really be on top of it, don’t they?
Lisa Ginter: We’ve got the best. Yes.
Brad Burrow: Yeah. Your staff is amazing. I’ve seen you really put together an incredible staff and talk about your senior team. I mean, I love talking to every one of them. I’ve been around them a lot, and you’ve really attracted a great team.
Lisa Ginter: Yeah. I mean, so the interesting thing … Well, first, I have to say it starts with a great board of directors. So I have a great board of volunteers that believe in me and the abilities to really take CommunityAmerica to a completely different level. And so, I like to go through the community, and I love to find people that have a great vision and believe in what we are wanting to do, and obviously have to look at their skill set. But even if I didn’t have the position, if there’s somebody that I see that I think could bring great talent to the credit union, I go get them.
Brad Burrow: Yeah. And then is that a gut instinct? Are you a gut instinct person?
Lisa Ginter: Complete gut instinct, complete.
Brad Burrow: So you kind of can discern talking to somebody, maybe meeting them that this is somebody that would be good for my team.
Lisa Ginter: Yeah. And it’s interesting because when I’ve not followed my gut, it’s turned out to not be the outcome I wanted, and I always go back and reflect on that. It’s like, “Why didn’t I just follow my gut?” So I’m starting to make decisions more … I mean, obviously I validate it. But yeah, so if my gut tells me it’s a good call and this person should be … Or a decision about the organization should be made based on my gut sprinkled with some validation, then I usually make it.
Brad Burrow: Are you to the point now where you can recognize that’s happening?
Lisa Ginter: Yes.
Brad Burrow: Because I think some people have a gut instinct, but they don’t realize that their gut’s telling them something.
Lisa Ginter: Yeah, and I coach people on that too. I mean, you can have great critical thinking skills, but sometimes that’s your intuition and you should follow your intuition, especially if it’s putting up flags.
Brad Burrow: Now from a faith standpoint, I think that’s a God given ability. Would you agree with that, that being able to read a situation or no?
Lisa Ginter: Well, I don’t know. I mean, maybe so, maybe it’s another gift that I get from God, but-
Brad Burrow: Yeah. I just think being able to see somebody and have a feeling that, “Yeah, this is the right direction,” maybe that feels like it to me.
Lisa Ginter: Yeah, maybe so. Yeah, but I feel very good. We do have a great staff, so thank you for telling me that.
Brad Burrow: I love it. I love it. So you are kind of seen as a trailblazer in the space that you’re in a little bit, and I remember, I wanted to ask you about this. I remember when CommunityAmerica announced, “Okay, we’re going into commercial lending,” and that kind of caused an uprising a little bit, and uprising is not the right word. But I remember there were some articles saying, “Why is CommunityAmerica doing commercial lending?” But for you, that was a great move. I love it too. What did you think about that decision? I was just curious about, is that … Because not too many credit unions were in commercial lending at the time, or are they still?
Lisa Ginter: Well, credit unions do commercial lending. They don’t offer the full suite of commercial banking, and to back that up a little bit, I mean going back, you have to come back to, what is your purpose and driver in what you’re doing as a financial institution? So when I look at myself, I don’t look at myself and distinguish between a credit union and a bank. We have two totally different models but we’re serving the same purpose, which is helping people, and I look at what we do at CommunityAmerica, is we’re helping people navigate in their journey in life.
Lisa Ginter: And so, when you think about from cradles to grave, which I don’t really like that expression, but we’re all on this journey and we have pivotal crossroads, and we have junctures in this journey that we have to make decisions. And so when I think about CommunityAmerica, we’re founded on the principle of people helping people, we just have to help people navigate in life. So that could be a basic savings and loan. It could be a member starting a business, and so we have to be able to help meet their needs. So it made sense for us to do that. And then, ironically, shortly after when I became CEO, we had an opportunity presented to us with the Kansas City Chiefs. So that was another driver too. Part of our negotiation is, “If I’m going to do this, you’re going to give us this.”
Lisa Ginter: So we needed to have a robust platform to be able to serve all of their needs. So the good news is, we have built that. That platform is solid and it serves the Chiefs today, and it can serve anybody in Kansas City. And I have a lot of banker friends, so Kansas City, it’s a pretty saturated market, but there’s a lot of business to go around. And so, we will focus with our members and where their niche is, and they’ll focus where they are.
Brad Burrow: I think what you said resonates with me, because we’ve been in business a long time, but we’ve had … Excuse me, we’ve had our loan for our building has been with the National Bank. My banker was on the West Coast, couldn’t really talk to him easily. Just a lot of things and we’ve done lots of different things over the years, but now we have our personal banking with CommunityAmerica in the building. It’s really great having every everything in one place for us, and that’s … I think what you said is right. We love the fact that I can get on the phone and talk with somebody right now, if I need to talk to somebody about a problem or an issue or whatever, it’s great. So I think that’s the model.
Lisa Ginter: Yeah. And the fact that we’ll forever be Kansas City, so we’ll forever be local. And that’s the other thing is, credit unions can’t be bought or sold and so we’re here to stay. And so, we want to provide that value add to consumers, regardless for whatever their needs are as they journey in their life. So we’re excited about what our offerings have been.
Brad Burrow: One of the really neat things I think that you’re doing too, not to get into the weeds too much, but I love the college program.
Lisa Ginter: Thank you. I love it too.
Brad Burrow: Yeah. So I have a freshman in college playing baseball, but it’s really helpful to have somebody … I mean, it’s unheard of that you can go to the bank, and there’s a staff that is dedicated to helping you navigate getting loans, finding out the right place, finding out financial-
Lisa Ginter: Scholarships.
Brad Burrow: Yeah, all of that. Amazing.
Lisa Ginter: Well, and that goes back to again, we’re helping people navigate, and where are some of those painful, stressful pivotal points-
Brad Burrow: Well, that’s a big one.
Lisa Ginter: And it is, because like going back in when my kids were at that age, and I remember my oldest, I was clueless. And I still to this day remember, we went down … So she was learning about Greek life and I went over to the financial aid, and I knew I didn’t qualify for financial aid, but I inquired about, were there any scholarship opportunities? They told me, “What is she going to major in? Put her name on a list and give me her email.” And by the time we got in the car to head back to Kansas City, she’d received a $5,000 scholarship in the School of Business for just asking.
Lisa Ginter: So for me I thought, if I can do that as uneducated about this process, why can’t we offer this service to all our members, and it’s a free service if you’re a member of CommunityAmerica? It was kind of a no brainer. So it’s an expense to us with the advisors, but we’ve got a Youth Advisory Board now that’s working in our innovation lab, that’s coming up with tools that these young kids can begin to use and their parents, to help them in this stressful point in their life.
Brad Burrow: And we just don’t know what we don’t know as parents. We look at this and think, “Well, my kid would love to go to Stanford and I can’t afford that.” Well, maybe you can afford that.
Lisa Ginter: Yes, you can. Yes.
Brad Burrow: There’s ways that we don’t know about, so having a team that’s dedicated to helping me as a parent figure that out is so big.
Lisa Ginter: I think the next big opportunity for us, is really reaching into those pockets in the community that don’t believe, A, they didn’t save enough for college or that they can’t afford to go to college. So we want to help those low income areas in Kansas City, really believe in and get these kids, get them through school, but then get them whether it’s a college, a university, or a trade school. So I have to make a relevant point there because this is not about four years of college or two years. There’s a plethora of opportunities in trade schools as well.
Brad Burrow: That’s becoming a really big issue these days, is that trade schools as college isn’t necessarily for everyone.
Lisa Ginter: That’s right.
Brad Burrow: And that’s pretty-
Lisa Ginter: But it’s appealing to that kid and understanding, it’s not just what mom and dad wants, but it’s really the passion of what is it that you want to be, and let us help you and help with your parents navigate that next stage.
Brad Burrow: Yeah. Talk about City Year. This is a good transition to City Year. What a great organization. We’ve done a little bit of work with them as well, but that fits in right with the heart of CommunityAmerica.
Lisa Ginter: It does. I didn’t know anything about City Year when I was first approached about the opportunity to maybe serve in a capacity with City Year, and the Chiefs, and Jayden. I mean, there’s a big group of them that support it but I had no idea, and boy, when I learned what their mission and purpose, and it’s these core educators going into the schools … I mean, these kids, just amazing the work that they do with trying to keep kids in school, helping them through whether it’s personal, whether it’s some stuff going on at home, or academically, they are their advisor to give them the confidence and give them the tools, to be successful through high school and on into the next stage in their life. It’s amazing.
Brad Burrow: Isn’t it amazing what just paying attention to somebody will open up things for them? I mean, just having somebody pay attention and breathe life into somebody that’s never had that before, and all of a sudden they blossom.
Lisa Ginter: Yeah. Our goal is, at City Year we want to get into even elementary schools because we think it even starts at such a young age, where they experienced those struggles. But the confidence of what you see, we CommunityAmerica sponsors North Kansas City, the middle school and into the high school, and just the success that they’ve had, and we hear the principal talk about the successes that they’ve seen with City Year presence in their school. So we want to get the word out about City Year, because I think it’s a best kept secret and it cannot be kept secret. We’ve got to get everybody aware of what they are contributing to the success of our kids in Kansas City.
Brad Burrow: Yeah. That program needs to grow a lot, doesn’t it?
Lisa Ginter: Yes, it does. It needs corporate and private sponsorships.
Brad Burrow: Do you talk to other CEOs? They really need to get involved in this.
Lisa Ginter: Of course, yes, we do. I chaired the Red Jacket Society trying to get personal donors, and I’ve held multiple breakfast. We did our first big gala last year in May and was a huge success. And so, the more we start combing through and getting businesses involved, the more aware that people are like, “How do we sign up?” So we’re seeing some early successes that I think are going to yield big returns.
Brad Burrow: You guys get involved in a lot of different things. We were just out shooting at the Veterans Community Project, the lighting ceremony. This was really a neat thing to see, and it’s pretty cool being involved in those types of things and helping people. That’s a big part of what you do every day probably, isn’t it?
Lisa Ginter: Yeah, it is. And again, just taking a look at this great city, and our goal is to help people thrive, and whether it’s that transitional living for our veterans who gave their life for our country and offered up time away to go do something, and then they’re trying to come back into the workforce, that’s something that we should be giving back to and helping them, whether it’s these young kids trying to figure things out and maybe have a stressful home life, giving them an age appropriate consultant there, that advisor that can navigate them through that, to get them on how to high school and on to the next big step in their lives. So for me it’s, I love what this city represents, and we want to continue to help people in Kansas City be on a path to thrive.
Brad Burrow: So let’s talk about the Chiefs a little bit more.
Lisa Ginter: [Le Ma 00:29:06] Chiefs.
Brad Burrow: Yeah.
Lisa Ginter: AFC West champions.
Brad Burrow: I know. So we’re recording on Monday morning after we beat the Patriots, just so everybody knows. We’re all a little excited this morning about what happened last night, although it was a little scary at the end there. I’m like, “Come on guys.”
Lisa Ginter: That was the repeat of the championship game last year, coming down to the final wire. But yeah, it was awesome.
Brad Burrow: So were you always a big Chiefs fan?
Lisa Ginter: Always.
Brad Burrow: Okay, so you’ve always followed them and stuff. Well, it’s pretty cool what CommunityAmerica is doing with Chiefs? I mean, you’ve got a whole corner of the stadium now. Is that correct?
Lisa Ginter: Yes, and then we have the whole club level as well this year.
Brad Burrow: Pretty great time to be involved with the Chiefs, isn’t it?
Lisa Ginter: Yeah. No, it’s great. It was a little bit of a risk when we signed back in 2016. We were the sponsor and then went into the official banking partner in ’17. Yeah, we are their official banking partner, and I will tell you … Again, you called yourself a vendor. I don’t look at people that fit the values of what we do a vendor, I look at you as a partner and an extension of the family. I look at the Chiefs the same way, and I will tell you, what a great organization. From the hands on down, they make you feel part of the Chiefs’ family. It was a perfect union for the Kansas City Chiefs and CommunityAmerica, and it has been a great ride. And we’ve got Patrick Mahomes as our spokesperson [crosstalk 00:30:48].
Brad Burrow: Before you took off too, right? I mean, he was-
Lisa Ginter: Yes. Yes,
Brad Burrow: Because I remember the first year, he wasn’t even starting. He had just been drafted, so that was a risk.
Lisa Ginter: It was a risk. But before I took that leap with him, I said I wanted to meet with the kid before … He wasn’t even on the field yet, and I said I wanted to meet with him just to understand his values, and when we met for some appetizers down at the Power and Light, first thing out of his mouth, he starts talking about his little sister Mia and his brother Jackson, and his family. And I’m like, “Okay, I like this kid.” So I knew he was someone special.
Brad Burrow: He’s very genuine, isn’t he? I mean, you can just see it. I think people are taken back
Lisa Ginter: Yes. He is everything he puts out there. It is him through and through and he’s not scripted. It is genuine. It is from the heart. He’s got a big heart and he’s just amazing. And it’s not about him, it’s about the team. If you ever hear him talk, it’s about his teammates.
Brad Burrow: Yeah. So I heard through the Grapevine that he has a name for you.
Lisa Ginter: Yeah.
Brad Burrow: Can you tell us about that at all?
Lisa Ginter: We just got done with his 15 and the Mohomies, the Mahomes Foundation, which was a huge success and-
Brad Burrow: Their gala or something like that?
Lisa Ginter: Yeah. It was the foundation Gala. I had my family there and my board, and he was really sweet, and again it came from the heart, but he said, “Lisa got to know me as a person before I was anything on the football field, and I consider her like a second mom.” So I’m mama [G 00:32:35].
Brad Burrow: Mama G.
Lisa Ginter: Mama G.
Brad Burrow: That’s pretty awesome, isn’t it?
Lisa Ginter: Yeah, and I love his girlfriend Brittany and his brother Jackson, his family, his little sister Mia. I’ve gotten to know them really well and are just a great, great family.
Brad Burrow: They couldn’t fit better in the value system for CommunityAmerica, could they? As far as … I mean, they really are the epitome of what you’d want in the spokesperson and the family.
Lisa Ginter: Completely. Love that kid. Love that whole family.
Brad Burrow: So what’s it like watching him play? Do you feel … I mean, getting to know somebody that well and then really seeing them, you’re almost kind of his mom.
Lisa Ginter: I do. I’m prideful, and then I get worried when like that horrific scene where-
Brad Burrow: The knee.
Lisa Ginter: Yes, where at Denver game and when I saw him wincing on the ground, I mean, I’m texting his mom and Brittany. So I was immediately concerned and then just checked on them. And so, I don’t look at him as this … He is a great athlete, but he’s this person that does great things. He uses his God given skills, but then I see him take that on off the field and doing great things for kids. He’s amazing.
Brad Burrow: We shot footage of him at the Veterans Community Project-
Lisa Ginter: That’s right. Yes.
Brad Burrow: He came out and he was so humble, and I interviewed him, probably one of the … I was most nervous for that interview ever, because there are so many people around watching the interview happen. That’s never happened to me before quite like that. But he was so humble, so easygoing about it, “What do you need? Just …” I mean, he made it easy and I just thought, “This guy really gets the whole things.” And I wonder if it has a lot to do with his upbringing and growing up around professional baseball, and some of those things, but he just put’s people at ease.
Lisa Ginter: Yeah, he’s a natural.
Brad Burrow: It’s got to be great for his team too, right?
Lisa Ginter: Yeah.
Brad Burrow: In those situations-
Lisa Ginter: You can see the respect that they have for him and vice versa.
Brad Burrow: So tell me … We’re going to wrap up here pretty quick. Future, what’s the future look like for CommunityAmerica for you? I mean, what would you like to see happen?
Lisa Ginter: Oh, my gosh. I think there’s so much that’s possible still, and I think the one thing that I’ll always speak from my heart is that, we really are wanting to help more people, and whether they’re in a great position from a financial needs perspective, or those that are struggling to make ends meet. I look at myself or the credit union, I’m a very visual person. So I look at, when you think about this market and people have choices for sure, and if you’re doing an aerial view and there’s just lots and lots of buildings, and everybody’s trying to chop up beyond the shoreline to get everybody’s to dislodge the business.
Lisa Ginter: And what I want to create and what the organization wants to create, this board is, we want to be seen as this destination of hope for people. So when you’re looking off in a distance, that you see this turquoise water, pristine, this bridge that’s being built to get to the island, is this destination of hope for people and their families, and what sits at the center of that island is CommunityAmerica. That’s what I want to build and to deliver with my team, and my team as well, and my board of directors. We want to be this destination of hope for people, no matter what stage in their life they’re in, what their income is, whatever it is, we want to be there for them.
Brad Burrow: Do you think as a credit union you have a unique ability to do that, as opposed to other banks? It seems like you can do that differently than other-
Lisa Ginter: Well, I think anybody can create whatever they want. But I think it comes back to the fabric of who you are, and when I look at my fabric, and you said it at the very start of the show, I look at our fabric as something you can’t break unless you cut a scissors through it. And so it’s just a continuation culture, trumps everything, and if you have a great culture that believes in what you’re trying to do, which is help people in this journey in life, everything is possible. So I don’t know if it’s necessarily that credit union or a bank, I think a bank can do that too. I’m just saying, we already have the foundation laid, and it’s just building up and continuing to add those offerings, and add great talent to deliver this destination home.
Brad Burrow: It seems like to me it’s the opposite of most approaches though, when you’re focusing on people first. I mean, a lot of people say it, but to really do it is amazing. And I don’t see that so much in the financial industry. It’s more driven by bottom line profit, those things which are important, but it’s like if you do what you do first, that’s going to come.
Lisa Ginter: That’s right. So if you flip it and it’s about people, it’s the people that’s going to help you execute on what your mission and vision is about. And if you take care of the people, that bottom line becomes a direct outcome of that. I will never waver from taking care of people. That is what we’re about. That’s what I represent. That’s what I’ve witnessed with my mom and dad, with what they’ve done and the sacrifices they’ve made. We will continue to focus on people.
Brad Burrow: Do you feel like you will always continue kind of pushing the envelope, on what banks can do or what credit unions can do, as far as helping people?
Lisa Ginter: Well, I’ll always push the envelope, Brad.
Brad Burrow: Yeah, I know. That’s a softball question. But really, I mean, like the college thing and some of the things that Anita Newton’s working on, that are really, really cool and out there and in new, I could see you guys really continuing those directions.
Lisa Ginter: We don’t know what we don’t know. We don’t know today, what’s going to be delivered tomorrow. But it’s always exploring and finding out, and the best people to ask is where our future is represented, which is in the youth. And so we’re learning new things every day, and we’ll deliver what they think is what they’d like to see and we’ll help them. They’ll help us build that.
Brad Burrow: Okay. So this is the last question. I just want to have you comment on somebody that’s maybe starting their career, is listening to this. You are a really good example of how somebody can take the next step, move up. A lot of it has to do with attitude, I would think, but what would you say to somebody that maybe is starting out their career in a bank, or maybe CommunityAmerica even?
Lisa Ginter: Yeah. Well, gosh, there’s so many things I’ve learned over my career in my lifetime. Couple of things I would say, patience is everything. You don’t want to get from A to Z in a matter of a short time, because there’s so many learnings that you’re going to experience along the way. I mean, I’m one that has stumbled and it’s how you pick yourself back up, but learn from your past but keep moving forward. I would also say, don’t sweat the small stuff, what you think is a really big thing today is really not, and stay focused on really what your purpose and driver is, and where you want to get but be patient in that journey. And then my final thing would be, just don’t stop learning. Always continue to grow in your learnings because at some point, while you think things are going great, the organization can swallow you up if you’re not pushing yourself and raising your hands, and taking personal risks. Take that leap of faith.
Brad Burrow: That’s something I think is great advice, is be willing to take some risks in your career. Would you agree without?
Lisa Ginter: Totally, totally. And then the other thing, final thing I would say because it’s so near and dear to me is, I think our youth has an opportunity to really find a way to give back and to get involved, which is also great leadership lessons. So if it’s raising your hand to serve on a gala or committee, or something in the community for a nonprofit, you really see firsthand how you can start something from start to finish, and it also feels good. So don’t be afraid to get involved and give back.
Brad Burrow: And you really promote that within the organization, don’t you?
Lisa Ginter: Yes.
Brad Burrow: I see a lot of people involved in different charities and events, and things like that.
Lisa Ginter: Right. It’s not about the big check. It’s about what you do with your heart and your hands, and really putting forth the work to make great things happen.
Brad Burrow: Awesome. Well, Lisa, thank you so much for being on the In A World with Real Media podcast. I have to ask you to say it though. Yeah, you got to give me the movie voice.
Lisa Ginter: Well, thanks Brad. And I love being in the Real World with the Real Media.
Brad Burrow: That is awesome. That’s awesome. Thank you so much. This is In A World with Real Media podcast. Again, we’re on iTunes, Spotify, all of the major podcast platforms. So check it out, share it, be sure to subscribe so you can hear all the great content coming. Thanks.
Lisa Ginter: Thank you.