How one credit union VP finds purpose in lifting others up
Rachael Singleton begins each day with a Chinese flower tea latte, a deep breath and a fire in her belly to serve others.
Singleton, vice president of operations for CASE Credit Union, oversees each of the managers of the credit union’s six branches, contact center and resolutions department. Her role includes big-picture thinking for the organization, but it also focuses on employee development — one of Singleton’s strong suits.
“I really love seeing my employees develop and pouring into my staff,” Singleton said.
Through regular one-on-one meetings with each of her employees, she learns how they are hoping to grow in their current position, what their ultimate career goals are and how the credit union’s leadership can better support them. Singleton collects all this information into a career development binder for each of her employees that lays out how they can achieve in their career and sets them on a trajectory of success within the credit union. Singleton’s binder system proved to be so effective in improving employee growth and office culture, it is now in use across the entire organization.
“I’m like the mama bird,” Singleton said, laughing. “I give them all the resources they need and then they fly away.”
Singleton attributes her passion for helping others to her upbringing. Though both of her parents grew up in poverty, they worked tirelessly to give Singleton and her siblings a better life. They taught her the value of hard work and putting others before yourself. Singleton is grateful for the early financial lessons her parents taught her, but it wasn’t until she started her first job at a credit union in 2005 that she realized how many financial resources were available.
“I love how credit unions help people,” she said. “It’s not just an institution that wants to get your money. They actually educate their members.”
Fourteen years later, she’s filled almost every role available at a credit union — from a teller, to collections, to management, to her current role in senior administration. Her diverse experiences and her exponential career evolution have given her a unique perspective on how to be a creative and supportive leader and help her employees thrive within the organization. What’s more, she gets to be on the front lines of helping credit union members achieve financial success.
“People really don’t know what is available to them through credit unions,” she said. “They have financial counseling that teaches you how to budget, how to build a savings account. You can meet with a financial adviser and learn more about investments and 401(k)s.”
Singleton fills the margins of each working day supporting her employees. How does she refill her tank? Family.
“The thing that motivates me each day is my husband,” she said. Not only does he support her professional pursuits each day, but he keeps her grounded and encourages her to shut off her email during the evening hours and recharge. “He’s such a good support for me, and I always want to be able to support him in the same way.”
The couple has two daughters, ages 4 and 7.
“They look up and watch everything I do,” Singleton said. “Because I know they’re watching me so closely, I want to be able to give a good example. If you work really hard you can get what you put your time into. It’s ok for you to have a family and to have a fulfilling career.”