Gary L. Easterling has been serving as president and CEO of the United Federal Credit Union since 2007. He has more than 30 years of credit union experience, most recently as CEO of Century Credit Union in Cleveland, Ohio, and Wright-Patt Credit Union in Fairborn, Ohio, where he held leadership roles in almost every functional area. He holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, as well as an M.B.A. from Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana. His certifications include the CUES Institute’s Certified Chief Executive designation and CUNA’s Management School—Part I and Part II.
1. How do you define success?
Success is bringing your best to the game, the meeting, the event, the role, and the mission.
2. What is the key to success?
Aligning your opportunities with your skills. Stretching beyond past performance without stretching beyond your capabilities. Achieving your personal best.
3. Did you always know you would be successful?
There are no guarantees, but I have always been optimistic. Success is the journey. There are as many challenges ahead as there are behind. Making a difference every day is living a successful life.
4. When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
I don’t like losing, but more than that I don’t like letting people down. I usually am in roles that impact the lives of others. These people depend upon me. The prospect of letting them down and causing harm to them keeps me pushing forward regardless of the adversity.
5. What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
It can be found in the Serenity Prayer. Learning to discern what I can change from what I can’t change and then summoning the courage to change what I can.
6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Reading, walking, golf, fishing, and most of all—time with family.
7. What makes a great leader?
Vision and humility. Having the vision to energize others and the humility to allow them to succeed and receive the accolades.
8. What advice would you give to college students about entering the workforce?
Take people with you on your journey. Help them succeed and let your contributions highlight themselves. Don’t get overly focused on getting credit. Don’t be lured into a battle for the spotlight. Those who can be the greatest positive influence in your life will see the truth; they don’t need your help. Stay true to your faith and values. No shortcut is worth it. There is no right way to do a wrong thing.
This interview is an excerpt from Success: 30 Interviews with Entrepreneurs & Executives by Jason Navallo.
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This interview was conducted for research purposes by author Jason Navallo for his upcoming book, Underdog.
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