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James Robert Lay: 

As ancient wisdom teaches, people are destroyed because of a lack of knowledge. That's because a lack of knowledge leads to a lack of perspective or put away leads to a lack of vision. And once again, as ancient wisdom teaches, where there's the vision, the people perish. This, unfortunately is the dark path many incumbent financial brands are on right now. And many believe that technology is the magic pill, it's the cure, that's going to save all of them. But that couldn't be the furthest thing from the truth. The good news is a commitment to ongoing training to ongoing education provides a clear path forward to help people see things from a different perspective. And when people see things from a different perspective, they begin to think differently about the future about future growth opportunities. But how do you create a space? How do you create time to see and think differently when you feel like you're already so busy and stuck doing just simply trying to survive and keep your head above water? Well, let's find out together on today's episode of the banking on digital growth Podcast.

 

Greetings and Hello, I'm James Robert Lay, and I'd like to welcome you to another episode of the banking on digital growth podcast. Today's episode is part of the digital growth journey series. And joining me for today's conversation is Natalie VanderVegt. Natalie is the member Outreach and Engagement Manager at slough credit union. And she recently just wrapped up learning alongside with the rest of our team in the digital growth University. And today, we're going to explore how an ongoing commitment to education provides a path forward to create exponential growth opportunities as an individual as a team, even as an organization. Welcome to the show, Natalie, it is good to share time with you today.

 

Natalie VanderVegt: 

Thank you so much for having me. Absolutely.

 

James Robert Lay: 

Before we get into how ongoing training and education provides further growth opportunities, just you know, for for people, as an individual for a team for an organization, even just your own personal experience here, what has been going well for you what's good in your life right now personally or professionally.

 

Natalie VanderVegt: 

You know, professionally, I'm having a lot of fun, really dipping my toes into more projects at work. And instead of taking an operational stance in them really taking a consultative approach. And so coming up with great ideas, deciding maybe a direction that we want to head or thinking about some things that might go wrong, and not necessarily signing up for every task to complete the project. And so I'm having a lot of fun consulting on a lot of different things that are moving forward in our organization right now.

 

James Robert Lay: 

It's the thinking, it's the thinking that is providing that direction, that guidance. And it's interesting that you lead with that, because I know that you recently posted on LinkedIn, that it's been seven years since you had and I'm going to use your words an extraordinary opportunity to lead your very first training workshop on member experience. And you said that this this workshop where McCoach you quote, marked a turning point for me igniting a deeper passion for creating exceptional member experiences. It pushed me to become a better communicator, a more empathetic leader and a proactive problem solver, which is why it's kind of interesting that you're leading with this idea of strategy and consulting. I want to come back to this post though. Were you reflecting on the past seven years in this workshop as a turning point? Why was that a turning point for you and just your own journey of growth.

 

Natalie VanderVegt: 

I've always been obsessed with the member experience. Even working in the mall, I've always tried to find a purpose in what I do. I worked at Claire's and icing piercing areas. And I remember being obsessed with the idea that I was helping young women, especially in icing by costume jewelry that didn't look cheap. So they could feel like working professionals and feel confident at work. And I loved helping put an outfit together so that people with a smaller budget could go out and feel good. So I've always had a purpose even even working at at icing. When I started working in in banking, I did a lot of you know telling I did service manager but I always was directly in sales. And I controlled my member experience with my member. And what I realized when I started training others is that I could create 10 of me. Maybe they're each a little different. But I have 10 times the power. And I can create a little army of people that are going to go out there and provide exceptional life changing member experiences for people in the financial world without me having to have every conversation because I can only go so far. And so that was really where it turned for me was where I saw the lightbulb moment of I can train other people to do this and I can make a bigger impact. If I'm not trying to be the one in the driver's seat every time.

 

James Robert Lay: 

That's such a great point. It's this idea of exponential and creating an exponential value. But you said something that's key whether it's icing or Claire's or working within financial services. You touched on this point around purpose and purpose is something that I've written about in banking on digital growth. I'm also writing to that in banking on change. Audrey and I just recently discussed a book that was written back in 2002, called the new agreements for the workplace. And purpose was also brought up in that conversation. Why is purpose so important? on a journey of growth, whether that be personally or professionally, what role does purpose play for for us as individuals, teams or organizations?

 

Natalie VanderVegt: 

I think a lot of it just a little bit have to do with I hate to say it, but I'm a millennial. And millennials, they aren't trying to necessarily work in the same place for 20 years, and then you know, retire with a pension they want, they really, and I say, Me, as one of them really want a reason to be there, there's got to be something I'm doing, there's got to be something driving me. And it can't just be to come home and get my paycheck. And so that purpose for me is my my reason for doing what I'm doing. I want to feel like I'm doing good. And if I feel like I'm doing good, then I'm going to be more engaged in my work. And I'll go further in my career, if I'm engaged. And so purpose for me just gives me a purpose and drive to keep going to work every day and be excited to go to work and make it feel like a career and not just a nine to five.

 

James Robert Lay: 

That's such a good point. It's more than just a quote unquote, J, OB, but I'm glad you brought up the perspective to that you're a millennial, I'm a I'm an ex lineal I'm kind of bridge that gap between Gen X and Gen Y, or the millennials. And then behind us, we obviously have Gen Z, which is, you know, very characteristic as well about this idea of, of purpose. And so what I look at what the opportunities are in financial services, it comes back to a getting really clear of what our purpose is as an individual, and then be helping to facilitate that throughout the organization, and does our personal purpose align with that of the organization. And if so, we've we do have an exponential growth opportunity there to where we perceive we're growing personally and professionally at the same exact time. And that's why I want to come back to this this workshop. You know, you mentioned member experience. And you're thinking about this, even you know, it's your time in the mall, how was the idea of member experience, customer experience, everyone a frame that transformed most for you just particularly over the past seven years, since you facilitated this training session, in your own organization.

 

Natalie VanderVegt: 

I think when I was trying to do the member experience, I've always tried to make it perfect from start to finish. And I really can't recall where I learned about it. But I kind of learned about the idea of if something goes wrong, you actually are going to create a more loyal member, because you have a chance to fix something that went wrong. And so instead of having this idea of perfection, from start to finish, every conversation being perfect and pleasant, getting getting comfortable with being uncomfortable and having a more difficult conversation, maybe prodding in a place where people don't want to talk about it, or fixing a problem and facing it head on. If they're ever okay with us, they're not going to be the person that's going to talk to their friends about us. But if they have a crisis, or if I poke just enough in a place that's a little uncomfortable that they've been avoiding. And then I take that to the next level, or I really take ownership over their issue, and I fix it quickly, efficiently. And I explain what I'm doing while I'm doing it so doesn't happen again, they're going to be a promoter, they're going to go out and be loyal for the rest of their life more so than anybody that never had a problem. And I really learned that by letting go and letting other people take the reins, because they're going to create issues. And then I guide them on how to fix those issues. And that's where you really create that that loyalty with your membership.

 

James Robert Lay: 

That's a great point is to let go to grow and where the idea of not just education or quote unquote training comes in, but also coaching and empowering other peoples on their own journeys of growth internally, I want to come back to the point that you made around, you can transform a negative into a positive and why progress is far better than perfection, I think a lot of us are, are striving for perfection to the point to where we sometimes we might not even try something new because we're afraid that we're going to fail and mess up. What would your recommendation be for others who could be stuck in a cave of complacency? Because they're just fearful to go out? And maybe it's fear of the unknown fear of change, fear of failure? What would your recommendation be to help them come out of that cave of complacency with courage with confidence and really try something new and on their journey of growth?

 

Natalie VanderVegt: 

It's hard because I'm such a change maker and I love change. So when we talk about the 10% of people or the five percent of people that say, OK, let's do it, that's me, I'm going to jump in immediately. And I'm going to be a champion of change. But I recall, and I can empathize with the way other people feel, when it comes to change, I think the biggest thing is, is not to strive for that perfection, you don't have to have a solid plan, it's okay to be flexible and adaptable. And maybe just take a small step in one direction and try it out. And be okay with reviewing the steps that you made, adjusting and redoing, adjusting and redoing, it's not always about having a plan, ready to go from start to finish. If we try to do that with technology, now, we're never going to update our website, we're never going to update, you know, you're utilizing AI for predictive text. So we can write the perfect complaint response, we're never gonna get there, because we're looking for the perfect program. Instead, just try these little steps one at a time and be okay with not having a plan. In the end, you don't have to know what your two to five year vision is. Every second, you're not the CEO, you are even then be okay, with a couple of money steps.

 

James Robert Lay: 

Well, I think that's where this idea of the 90 day growth methodology comes in, you have a vision, you have some clarity into where you're going, but you know, to have every step mapped out along the way, that's also an opportunity to not think, well, how are we going to do this, but who do we need to collaborate with? Who do we need to learn from that could provide us with that path forward? I think, you know, historically, within financial services, and I think of one specific leader, particularly who I know, just loves a good plan. And then whenever COVID happened, the best laid plans of mice and men, they really did go awry, to quote Hemingway on that. So when you look at at that idea of the plan, letting go to grow once again, but also, being a lifelong learner. You know, you mentioned you, you're one who, when it comes to the five to 10%, of people who are all about all in on change, not everyone is that way, you're very empathetic to that fact, just as I am, I know you and your team, y'all just wrapped up the digital growth University, where you're learning core banking on digital growth principles and methodologies. And, and as I've always said, sometimes you're the teacher, other times, you're the student, but either way, that there's always something to learn through the experience, what what, uh, what's been the experience for you, what's been the big insights that you've learned from your time in the digital growth university with your team?

 

Natalie VanderVegt: 

I think one of the it was earlier on, but we were learning about, you know, storytelling, and it really comes back to purpose. When people are uncomfortable with technology, I think at the very beginning, I was thinking, Oh, if the company's not on the same page, if the organization if the if our senior team or a CEO is not on the same page, but I think the biggest risk is not having your frontline staff on the same page. They're afraid of automation, there's fear of being replaced. And what I've learned through this class is that they're not being replaced, they're being augmented, they're being they're getting the resources, they need to do their job well to quote Gallup, but they're getting the basic building blocks of what they need. And then we're building on that. And so what I've tried to do with my team is prepare them for a lot of the changes that are about to happen, because I'm ready to go on the changes. But what I've learned on these classes, is that I need to get everybody on the same page, so they don't get in the cave of complacency. And in order to do that, I use storytelling, I've used purpose to try and bring them in. And also just, you know, talking to get the chance to do what you do best every day at work is what you do best filling out a spreadsheet. Now. So let's look into technologies that are going to help you automate these spreadsheets and help you take all that data and put it together for us and read out a report with some thoughts and feelings about what those what those data points could mean without you having to sit there and do it yourself. So you can spend your entire day selling talking to people about saving money changing their life. I know their HELOC conversations are one of their favorite conversations of all time when they could sit there and talk to somebody about saving $1,000 a month. They don't have time to do that if they're filling out a spreadsheet. So it's really just about getting them to the point where they realize that technology is going to augment, not replace.

 

James Robert Lay: 

And I think that's a key lesson that anyone can can take away who is watching or listening. There are four distinct steps for human transformation that I've identified. And a lot of times when we think about whether it'd be historically quote unquote, digital transformation, or now the the soup du jour the word de jour is AI. It's all the same thing. It's technology. And when you think about digital transformation, and I think that's going to be the same is going to be true with AI is 60 to 85% of these initiatives are going to either fail or fail to meet expectation, not because it's bad technology, but because of the people that are having to implement this. There's a lack of awareness. There's a lack of clarity. There's fear, if you will. And so the first happen human transformation is to help people see things from a different point of view, and look at it just very objectively. And when you see different, you're going to think different. And when, as I've asked leaders many times before, well, what happens next? When you see and think different? What are you going to do? And they're like, Well, I'm gonna act if I'm gonna be different, like, are you? And they're like, Well, yeah. And I said, Well, how many times you know that you know that you need to do something right now, but you're not like, Oh, I've never really thought about that before us. And so to bridge the gap between thought and action comes down to feeling and emotion. And then the feeling the emotion, the desire to now act due to be different is greater than the desire to remain the same. When you think about your thinking, and learning through this experience, not just yourself as an individual, but also as more of a as a collective as a cohort. What did you learn from others through this experience together, because you were learning by yourself, and you're doing some reflective thinking and writing, but then once a month, we would come together, and have a conversation and get to go into different groups who might not normally have get to have this type of a conversation? Where did your thinking maybe transform because of the thinking or the perspective of others through cross pollination of ideas?

 

Natalie VanderVegt: 

Certainly one of the biggest ones is that we have more technology than we realize, I think I, we grew quite quickly for many years. And we were privileged to do that. And our credit union is still very, very strong. And I'm really proud to work here. But we also grew at a pace where we had a lot of great ideas and the resources we needed to make those ideas happen without having some kind of system to say, Well, where else could this be used in a really thoughtful way. Or maybe instead of getting this marketing tool, that's number one to the marketing team, maybe we take a look at maybe something that would help also the business services team and our retail team and our back office. And maybe it's number two to the marketing team. But it also helps all these teams, as an example. And we have plenty of technologies we've adopted in retail that we didn't consult with, you know, another department. And certainly we have project managers that help with that. And that's gotten a lot stronger over the last couple of years. But prior to that, we would adopt some technologies without really talking to each other. And that would create these silos, and also just lack of awareness of the other technologies that are out there. So when we start to look at a program, we go, oh, we already have something like that. Well, we could have already been tracking this part of your sales automatically. And we have a program that can do that, in this other department. What? Right, so it's really just been about communication with each other. And then kind of bringing it back to center, we grew quickly. And now let's bring it back to center and how can we adapt the technologies we already have. And then when we're looking at future technologies, I think one of my biggest changes in myself was not solving for now. But I'm like picking a technology that's going to grow with us, that's here for the long haul, that's not just a flash in the pan. And that's going to suit our future needs to not just our immediate needs. And so working with other teams, it's all been about embracing what we already have. And then when we look elsewhere, talking to each other.

 

James Robert Lay: 

It's bringing the future, if you will, into the present moment based upon not just gaining awareness, but also maybe more importantly, alignment as well. Because back to your point where there's a lack of alignment, there's also a lack of clarity, where there's a lack of clarity, there's confusion, where there's confusion, if we're in that constant state, then there's conflict and chaos. I know that you know, the digital growth University, it's not just an investment of dollars, but even more. So it's the investment of time time for yourself time for your team. You mentioned this even that when you're growing quickly, it's almost like you get stuck in the doing. This creates a forcing function to break free from doing just for a bit to perhaps do some review and reflection to obviously learn to then think about how you can do even better. I'm curious though, because your group, your organization, there's definitely I could see early a growth mindset there. But that's not always the case at other organizations, when it comes to things like learning and thinking. What is it that might hold either individuals or teams, perhaps even organizations back from making a commitment to ongoing learning? I mean, you've done a lot of education to yourself internally. But what is it that holds people back from making a commitment to ongoing learning, which obviously the result is ongoing growth of reactive mindset.

 

Natalie VanderVegt: 

If you're constantly reacting to what's happening and needing to fix what you're dealing with, you're not going to have time to be proactive and learn about something else. The the hardest thing to do, especially if you're working on a high, high volume place like a branch and every day in day out you have a line out the door and you're trying to help that line. How long world do you schedule one of your people off for a full day training to to further their skills and help members even more and make the weight worth their while? How do you take them off the floor for that time to go do that training? How do you stop things that are already in motion to take time off, and you have to realize that you're only ever going to be reactive, you just keep reacting and reacting, you're not fixing some of the other problems. And so the most simplest way I can put it is that that branch mindset of Guess you take that teller or banker off the line, maybe you lose a whole day, maybe you're short staffed that day. But I promise you the months following not, things are gonna go smoother, because you have somebody who's fully trained, and who is excited, and is learning and testing new skills. And so if you take that further, you're taking people in our positions where we have a lot to do every day. But yeah, you're going to be a little behind, because you're taking time off to to learn something, but it's going to be better in the long run.

 

James Robert Lay: 

It's almost like, we could look at this through the lens of financial services, you're you're making a deposit an investment in the present moment, that it doesn't feel like you're gonna get anything right then and there. Just like when you make an investment into a CD or an IRA, or any type of you know, investment account, you're not going to get anything back immediately. But we know the time value of money, it's almost like there's a time value of education, that will yield dividends within the weeks, months, and even the years to come. Because you do focus on education, around member service around member experience. Where do you see, you might be able to take what you've learned, and integrate it into your own training. It's almost like what you shared with me, you're training people, teaching people, educating people to multiply yourself and what you know. And now you'll be able to do that with the perspective that you've gained through this experience here, what might be one thing that you can take going forward and apply to continue to optimize and make the member experience even that much better throughout the credit union.

 

Natalie VanderVegt: 

You know, I'm not certain if this directly relates to what you're saying. But I did have the thought popped into my head. And I've mentioned it before in our classes, automating some of my training or creating a replicable training program. And so it doesn't have to be even me who's doing the training, that's recently something that I've really handed the reins off to, to a couple of supervisors and seniors, of having them lead some of the different trainings that we have in our in our credit union and creating coursework, manually to have them do that as a lot of work. But again, looking at the future, if there's technology I can embrace, or even just creating videos, video content, and video bytes, this could be stuff for internal or even for our members, but finding ways to make the training process something I can hand off to the next person, even if training isn't something that they're great at. And they're still learning, but still have it be effective training. And, of course, I could do that by sitting down and handwriting a lesson plan. But what I've learned is that my time is quite valuable. And I can get a lot done if I can automate as much as possible. And so finding ways to to do that is probably my biggest takeaway going forward, when it comes to training.

 

James Robert Lay: 

Do you mind if we co create on this here, because I think you just said something. And that's why I really appreciate these podcasts because it's always challenging my assumptions. It's challenging my thinking, and I'm, I'm learning just as much as someone who was watching or listening is learning. And when you talk about this idea of curriculum development, perhaps going into something like chat GPT and having a dialogue with chat GPT. And a lot of you know, there's a lot of fear about chat GPT and I'm like, listen, just play with Okay, so you're so here's like, it's prompting, it's like, you know, you are a trainer or an educator at a community financial institution. So you have to prompt it, give it the perspective in the context. I want to develop a curriculum around improving the member experience with these particular criteria. This is the purpose of our organization and really get the more clarity that you can provide to the large language model, the better the output is. And I think that's where a lot of people get frustrated with, you know, large language models or chat GPD whatever the AI is, it's because they're not providing enough clarity. It's like, we got to think about this, like almost, and then just sounds kind of odd, but another quote unquote human being, even though it's not, because if we don't provide clarity to a human being, they're going to be left with confusion. The same is true here. But then that's a shortcut. And then from there, it's a matter of just capturing it ie with video. But thinking about the the make up a word here, the replicability Do you have it so that it's almost like you do it once, but then it creates value over an extended period of time. So this is a interesting thing that I'm probably a lot more thinking,

 

Natalie VanderVegt: 

I use it all the time. I love it. If the danger, anything that people have with it is that they take it, they use it as a Ask Jeeves, I've just dated myself quite a bit, but they use it as an as cheese, they copy and paste, and then they don't, their output isn't great. The response isn't great. People can tell it's a computer written thing. They, they, they're done. But if you use it as a tool that you can build into, and then whatever your output is, that's where the human comes in, I'm not going to take whatever my output is, and just copy and paste it. I'm going to that's where my expertise comes in. My human experience comes in, I'm going to craft whatever output I got. And then at that point, I'm utilizing the technology to build something better.

 

James Robert Lay: 

I appreciate the Ask Jeeves, that that that's that's really good. And you're right, though it's we we have to take the output and then provide the additional human oversight. The the editorial perspective, I think about so my son, he was running for class president, and then now he's running for National Junior Honor Society president. And he had to do a speech. And I said, okay, and he's starting to, and I think it's about you just train the mindset. So he knew exactly what we're going to do from past experiences, we're gonna go into charge GPT. And we're gonna start prompting it. And it's, you know, I'm trying to just teach him how to just think prompts. First, he's in eighth grade. Because I think if you develop the skill set, now, it's much easier, because as we were talking, before we hit record, I asked when you were born and your late 80s, I was early 80s. So we're still coming from a similar context of time. But that perspective, you know, growing up in the 80s, growing up with the internet, being around 1994, when it launched is going to directly influence how we're thinking today, versus someone like my son, who's in a completely different mindset. to Now he's thinking, Okay, well, I can go to chat GPT. And we prompted it to write literally a speech around his campaign. So his purpose, if you will, and then the output was, it was good, it was a good start. But but we took that and honestly took about maybe 20%, of what the output was, but it was enough to get us going, instead of just having to stare at a blank piece of paper. And where are we going to begin with that? Right?

 

Natalie VanderVegt: 

So a lot of teachers, there's a lot of talk right now in education about, what are we going to do about Chapter CBT, and cheating and all the different things that they have to look at it and say, like, is this jack Chappies TBT? Or is this just somebody who has great grammar? Did they use this phrase? Because they use chat TPT as a tool? Or did they copy and paste the whole thing? And instead of being afraid of them using chat, GBT, it'd be really great if they started teaching it just like you did with your son and say, Okay, I want you to write an essay. And now I want you to edit that essay. And it, we could be doing the same thing in the financial world. But there's just nothing happening yet with that, if there were classes that could teach you how to use chat TPT, it would be amazing and tools out there later that can help them quick example of that, if I'm helping a member who's upset because they were making a payment, and they didn't realize we don't front load the interest, then they still had interest do. And that's frustrating, cuz they think, Oh, they're charging me extra interest. But I need to explain to them the difference between daily interest and front loaded interest and how not for profit institutions actually in their favor. I could sit there and write a whole essay on that. I worry about being condescending, not having enough clarity, I pop that into chat TPT and say, explain simple interest in three sentences. And I have now something that can pop into my email that explains it clearly. And then all the human around that is me, empathizing, yes, we can happen next. But I use that tool to build it.

 

James Robert Lay: 

That's such a practical example. And I'm glad you brought up education. Because, you know, going out and working with other teams, other organizations, other senior leadership, executive, even boards of directors, one of the things that I'm asking right now and I really identifying these patterns, because if I think back to the work that I was doing in the early 2000s, which was still kind of the dawn of the internet, we were discussing, like, well, you know, have you ever used instant messaging? Have You Ever Have you ever been in a chat room, for example? And a lot of the times the the answers were no, and then you go from the early 2000s to you know, 2008 910 1112 then the Have you ever used social media? What do you know what that is? No, I've never done that. Okay, we'll go try that. And then it was like, you know, 2014 2015 16 Have you ever opened up an account or applied for a loan at a FinTech or neobank? Well, no, no, I have it. We'll go try that and tell me what that experience is like. And then here we are, again, and the with this whole chat GPT large language model. And it's almost like history is just repeating itself. And I'm asking the question, well, have you ever just played with it and I I would say 70 to 80%. Have not. And I think that is the scary thing, because that's limiting the future growth potential. But what's driving a lot of that is the narrative, if you will, in the quote unquote, mass media. Because when I asked the executive team, well, what's your perspective on chat GPT, it is literally what you just said, they're hearing that, oh, this is what students are going to use to cheat on their test. And I'm like, No, this is just the next kind of like iteration of a calculator.

 

Natalie VanderVegt: 

This is just a tool, just about to say that it's, it's just like statistics, you can have when you take a statistics test, you get a whole page of cheat sheets, because it's all formulas that you have to know how to read. It's an open book test, but you still have to know how to use the book. Right? So the chat GPT is in no way cheating, because it's a tool that you have to know how to use.

 

James Robert Lay: 

Yes. Well, I did have an executive at a workshop telling me once though, you know, well, that's a bad analogy, because they said that, well, I don't have anyone who works here. And he was high up executive, I don't have anyone who works here, who knows how to calculate simple interest. And I kind of popped back and I was like, Dude, I don't even know how to do that. And I've been in the industry for 20 some odd years. If I need to calculate something, what am I gonna do, I'm gonna go to Google and just put it into Google and let the CAC like, I don't need to think about that. Because that's the tool is there. It's like, give me a, what's a good analogy, give me a shovel, or give me a backhoe and tell me to go dig a hole in the ground? Well, if you want to use a shovel, that's fine. I'm gonna go take the backhoe and be done in about five minutes, and you'll still be digging that hole. So I don't know what it is that holds people back from wanting to learn. It really, this is like this is kind of my existential crisis right now. Because I'm very passionate about just education. Always have been, because I feel like there's a lot of Socratic knowledge. That is, you know, two 3000 years old that stood the test of time. You've got Socratic discussions, you've got Socratic Socrates defining his wisdom, as I know, I know nothing. And now it's like, we have truly the the knowledge of the entire human race at our fingertips, and they can have somewhat of a conversation even through a GPT model. But that guess is the question and I just don't have the answer.

 

Natalie VanderVegt: 

Well, wait, they're waiting. They're waiting for a vendor who says we can do all of this for you, who's using the same technology, but they're waiting for it to be put in this pretty little package. You know, we're gonna have so many programs out there soon that are going to help us do things like automating member experience, response letters, that's going to be a thing, we're going to have click and drag member education tools, we're going to have you know, we already do it with chatbots. That's a package chat GPT right there. So it's already there, just waiting for the technology to be packaged in a way that's I guess, more digestible, but it's alright, we have the raw code, we can go right to the site and use it.

 

James Robert Lay: 

That's a good point, we have the raw code. Harvard Business Journal just released an article did a release one that sounds so bad, they just published an article in it because I get the physical magazine. And I have a collection of them, but just published an article on basically how we are all programmers now and how you have GUI or graphical user interface and the ability to just drag and drop and build things. But what that comes back to is almost how we started this entire conversation. It's the ability to think and to think critically, and to come back to first principles and putting people at the middle of that the center of that thinking and more, more specifically, the purpose of why we're doing what we're doing to begin with in the first place. Because if we lose sight of the people, and if we lose sight of the purpose, that kind of what's the point at that point? So my question to you as we wrap up here, as you look out towards the future, what do you feel most hopeful about? What are you feeling most excited and energized about when it comes to the future of member service and member experience,

 

Natalie VanderVegt: 

I am really excited about that, the technology that's out there that we can embrace. I'm also excited because I feel like we're at this turning point right now, where we're about to get a lot of really new cool stuff that we can't even imagine. And so I'm really excited to see how those are adapted in the financial industry. I'm also excited because I feel like I'm in a company that's just the right size and the right the right mindset to start embracing some of these early and having a lot of fun with them as they come out and try new things. And I'm because I love change. I'm excited to learn about all these things and see how I can implement them. And I'm also at a point right now in my my career where I get to be, you know, making some decisions and deciding Do we go here or do we go there, and which ones do we pick first? And so I'm just really hopeful for all the different things that are going to come out. And also embracing some of the stuff that's already out right now. Next week, I'll be at the max conference in Spokane, for the credit union Association, and I'm excited to see what the vendors there have right now.

 

James Robert Lay: 

Yes, yes. And I think that's the thing, when you look out at the future, with hope, with optimism, that's what you're gonna find. You're going to your perspective of the future right now in the present moment, will directly influence the decisions, the actions, the thinking that you're doing in the present moment, which will then be the path to the future that you go and create. And, and so it's this role of why knowledge, why education, why mindset is so critically important. One final question to send those who are watching or listening off on their own journeys of growth, with just something small that they can do to move forward to make progress when it comes to just we'll just call it it's one of our four principles for exponential growth here, it's to commit to be a lifelong learner, what would be the one thing that you would recommend someone watching or listening to do just that?

 

Natalie VanderVegt: 

It's a tough one. Although I kind of feel like after our conversation, I might say, Try chat, GPT, go in there and play around with it. I just, I think it's such a fun tool. Just go in there and ask it for a homemade face mask recipe. Or say, you know, I'm trying to make cookies, and I don't have butter and just see what it says. And just learn how it can learn you and have fun with it. It doesn't have to be used as a career tool. It's just a really fun tool. And I think the more you get to know it, the less you'll be afraid of it. Yeah. And that's going to open it up to a lot of other possibilities of how that can be used.

 

James Robert Lay: 

The more you get to know the first step. Yeah, the more you get to know it, the less you're going to be afraid of it. And that's where, you know, it can be fun. And it doesn't have to be personal or professional. It can be personal, I think about when when right when it came out. Korean cast Cassidy the block where it's texting back and forth with them, and it was cocktail recipes. And it was just like just learning new ways to think about how we can change and do even better going forward into the future. Natalie, this has been such a wonderful conversation, what is the best way for someone just to reach out and say hello to you connect with you? Based upon the discussion we've started here today.

 

Natalie VanderVegt: 

I'm on LinkedIn, and I'd love to meet new people. Like I said, we'll be at max in Spokane next week. And yeah, I think LinkedIn is probably the best way to reach me.

 

James Robert Lay: 

Connect with Natalie learn with Natalie grow with Natalie. Natalie, thank you so much for joining me for another episode of the banking on digital growth podcast. This has been truly a lot of fun today. Thank you. Thank you, as always, and until next time, be well, do good. Be the light.

 

 

Brief Summary of Episode #338

In this episode of the Digital Growth Journeys series, James Robert Lay and Natalie VanderVegt, Member Outreach and Engagement Manager at Salal Credit Union, discuss the importance of continuous learning and adaptation in the financial industry, amidst digital transformations.  

Through engaging in Digital Growth University, Natalie’s team found that technology augments rather than replaces human capabilities, encouraging a culture of learning and problem-solving.

Their discussion highlights that investing in learning is crucial for long-term growth, similar to making a financial deposit for future returns.

In enhancing member service at credit unions, Natalie and James Robert explored the intersection of human expertise and technology.

They propose creating replicable yet personalized training programs, possibly facilitated by AI tools like Chat GPT, to uphold a high standard of member service while improving operational efficiency.

Through this blended approach, they foresee a promising path toward addressing challenges and leveraging digital tools to better serve members and foster a culture of continuous growth.

 

Key Insights and Takeaways

  • Augmenting vs. replacing when it comes to automation and AI. (13:32)
  • Training and education for bank and credit unions leaders. (19:29)
  • Using AI language models in education and finance. (25:08)