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This feature was originally published in Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly on May 28, 2024.

Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly Feature on Jessica Davis

EMPLOYER: Fort Financial Credit Union, Vice President of Member Experience

EDUCATION: Bachelors in Psychology and Bachelors in Accounting

COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS: I am board president of a nonprofit organization for individuals with Down Syndrome called, Gigi’s Playhouse Fort Wayne.

HOBBIES: If I’m not spending time with my family, you can find me at Gigi’s Playhouse, at the gym, or designing and completing home projects.

WHY ARE YOU IN NORTHEAST INDIANA? I’ve lived in a smaller community in northeast Indiana since I was 8 years old. I love the small-town atmosphere and close-knit community that’s all within driving distance of the city life. With a slower pace and less traffic, it’s a safe place to raise children, so I’ve stayed in the area as the benefits of this area are too great to leave.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT YOUR PROFESSION THAT YOU ENJOY AND WHY? The instant a member connects with Fort Financial, whether they walk in, call, or utilize our online/mobile avenues, an experience is created and it’s my job to make it the best experience it can be. Behind the scenes, I’m creating a culture of accountability and ownership in which our employees understand and feel a connection to their role in the mission of the credit union. So, while our ultimate goal is for every member to have a positive experience with the credit union, I’m also seeking to ensure our employees have a positive experience within their roles. My role is truly all encompassing for both the member and our employees.

WHAT DOES SUCCESS MEAN TO YOU? Success isn’t about accomplishing a goal. Success is the journey towards accomplishing a goal. The journey shapes your characteristics and qualities of leading and living a life of fruitful relationships, a career you’re passionate about, and a life you’re proud of.

AS A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP? Throughout my childhood and into my high school years, I aspired to be a lawyer.

WHERE DID YOUR FIRST PAYCHECK COME FROM AND WHAT WAS YOUR JOB THEN? My first paycheck came from working at a car wash while I was in high school.

WHO WAS YOUR BIGGEST SUPPORTER WHO HELPED YOU ADVANCE IN YOUR CAREER? There have always been people within my jobs that encouraged me along the way, but the biggest supporter behind the scenes has always been my dad. He’s always pushed and encouraged me to go further, expect more of myself, and aim higher. As each advancement opportunity presented itself, it was him that gave me the gentle nudge I’d need to keep moving forward.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT THUS FAR IN YOUR CAREER? Successfully, creating roles and departments from inception to launch while also integrating a new internal company culture has been my greatest accomplishment thus far.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST MISTAKE THUS FAR AND WHAT LESSONS DID YOU LEARN FROM IT? Professionally, the greatest mistake I made was applying for and accepting a position that did not fit my overall professional goals or personality. Because of that mistake, I learned to ask the right questions during the interview process and stand firm in only accepting positions that aligned with my overall professional goal. That specific mistake led me to where I am today, for which I am forever grateful.

WHAT ARE YOUR CURRENT PROFESSIONAL GOALS? My current professional goals are to master the intricacies of my role to equip myself with and maintain industry knowledge to one day serve as CEO.

HOW DO YOU REMAIN CURRENT/RELEVANT IN YOUR PROFESSION? The financial industry is always changing so keeping up with regulatory requirements, industry happenings, and upcoming changes is a must. Attending Indiana Credit Union League events, round tables, conferences, webinars, and subscribing to area and industry chat forums and newsletters are great resources to remain current and relevant. Outside of that, it’s important to engage with your members and future members by being visible, making branch visits and being involved in community events.

HOW DO YOU BALANCE YOUR CAREER, FAMILY, LIFE AND COMMUNITY SERVICE? As a working mother to four kids aged 20, 14, 4, and 3, the greatest balance is simply showing grace to yourself. You can’t be everything to everyone all at once. There are days my career takes me away from my family, there are times my kids’ needs and activities take me away from my career, and there are times when I volunteer at events that take me away from both my career and family. The pendulum is always moving too far one way or another. Compartmentalizing and prioritizing can be challenging, but wherever I’m at and whomever I’m with, it’s important to me that they get my undivided attention.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO RELAX? My physical and mental health is what allows me to keep up with four kids, a career, and being heavily involved at Gigi’s Playhouse. Because of that, I place a high priority on diet and exercise, so I find relaxation in working out throughout the week.

WHAT BOOK DO YOU RECOMMEND? “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” by John C. Maxwell.

BASED ON WHAT YOU KNOW NOW, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR HIGH SCHOOL SELF? As a senior, graduating with academic honors holding a 6-month old baby, I’d tell myself everything will be OK. I had many people telling me I should settle for a mediocre life and I’m thankful I never listened. Being a teen mom didn’t define me. In fact, it was the catalyst of proving to those that said I should settle wrong. I’d firmly grab my shoulders and repeat, “Everything will be OK.”


Jessica Davis

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