NAFCU Journal January February 2022

40 THE NAFCU JOURNAL January–February 2022 EXECUTIVE SPOTLIGHT Q: What led you to the credit union sector and to OAS FCU? A: I came to the credit union the same way I believe many others did: by accident. I was not familiar with credit unions and after college my second job landed me at IDB-IIC FCU; that led me to U.S. Postal FCU. During those years I worked on various roles with increasing levels of responsibility. I became very familiar with the credit union philosophy and started to see the difference credit unions make in people’s lives and on the economy. I became a convert of this sector, so to speak. I came to OAS FCU when the CEO position became available, and I took what I consider a very daring shot. I felt that I could make a positive difference at the helm of this credit union—not just because of my experience, but also because of my background and belief in the credit union movement. Furthermore, in my case the cultural match with OAS FCU was very strong, since I come from an international background and grew up in several different countries, just like most of our members. Q: What’s your leadership style? How do you lead an engaged team? A: I like to be engaged both in the internal and external environment of OAS FCU. Internally, everyone here knows that my door is always open, a personal choice that can make for very long workdays sometimes. I am in constant communication with members, staff and volunteers. With them, my strategy is laid back and open. I don’t hover; I try to listen and suggest when asked. I ask questions and let people find their own stories, and once they have chosen what works for them, I help them on their paths. Q: Why is community service and philanthropy important to you and OAS FCU? A: Those two ideas are the heart of the CU movement. As an individual, I believe we can all make a difference in our own world; each one of us, our deeds and our voices, count. In the case of the credit union, our own philosophy and principles provide a strong foundation emphasizing that our contributions, actions and deeds extend to the communities we serve, live, work and act. We make it go forward! By taking this concept forward as a credit union, our very daily work helps support our communities. Before we even start speaking of direct involvement, by the very nature of our mission at OAS FCU, we already work serving the community. That’s because by helping our members prosper, we make a positive impact in their communities and economies. Q: How do you prioritize diversity and inclusion, both within your credit union and in terms of the community you serve? A: OAS FCU has always been a diverse credit union. We recognize our membership and pride ourselves in reflecting it in our own staff, management and volunteers; we’re people from all walks of life and from all over the world. Additionally, OAS FCU has a strong female presence including in leadership roles throughout the institution. We also employ several people with disabilities and work to adapt their job responsibilities to suit them. Everyone is part of the same team. Something that has helped us greatly is working closely with our sponsor organization’s inclusion department to ensure that everything we do is inclusive for members, prospective members, employees and volunteers alike. It works wonderfully. Q: In what ways, if any, has the coronavirus pandemic altered your member experience? A: When isolation rules first took effect we were shocked, just like everyone else. However, we realized quickly that in reality only 25% of our members use our physical offices. Just about every member has worked with us remotely at some CARLOS CALDERON President and CEO of OAS FCU