CU Changemakers: Women On Work – Brandi Stankovic & Susan Mitchell
Anyone who’s a part of the credit union world knows it’s a close-knit community, very much like a family.
But what happens when an actual mother and daughter commit themselves—heart and soul—to the CU mission and movement? In the case of Susan Mitchell, (CEO of Mitchell, Stankovic & Associates) and her daughter, Brandi Stankovic (COO of CU Solutions Group)… it’s a whole lot of amazing.
We were thrilled to sit down with these two powerhouse women to hear all about their journeys—this week on CU Changemakers: Women On Work.
Susan and Brandi’s backgrounds in the CU movement.
As someone who was “born into the movement,” Brandi believes strongly in what credit unions do and how they support people. As she says, “I bleed credit unions.”
Susan agrees that Brandi was born into the movement, adding, “I gave birth to bringing her into it.” For them, it’s a family thing.
Interestingly enough, for the first 10-15 years of Brandi’s impressive career, they didn’t tell anyone they were related. It was important for Brandi to create her own path, and it was important to Susan—who has done extraordinary things in her 30+ years in the CU world— that Brandi establish some individualism and confidence as a woman in the industry.
Who has influenced them in their careers (and why).
Aside from the great respect they have for each other, our two experts share a whole lot of wonderful names, stories, and initiatives (including Susan’s “SHE movement”) that have influenced them in their careers.
In Brandi’s words, “There are so many inspiring women. Anybody in this industry that is working hard, that’s working forward, that believes in feminism—in the true definition of feminism, and that’s believing in women and working hard for women—is inspiring.”
Current projects these two are tackling together.
Top of this list? The Underground Movement, established in 2007, continues to evolve and thrive with the overarching goal of creating an intimate environment for leaders to have authentic dialogue to serve as a catalyst for change.
Brandi’s podcast, The Strategic Hotbox.
Brandi’s podcast—which pushes to have those edgier conversations she feels should be brought to light— just celebrated 5 years, and it’s been quite the journey for her. “The Hotbox has been an opportunity to learn, love, and kick ass,” she says.
Susan is a big fan of the show. “It is SO appropriate right now,” she adds. “Hotbox, to me, is an opportunity to really hear those conversations about leadership that we’re not hearing.”
The evolution of leaders (and leadership itself) in recent years.
Both ladies share some awesome insight here, and you’ll absolutely want to listen in for details. Suffice it to say, for these two, so much of good leadership comes back to being intentional, as well as dedicating time to personal health—both physically and mentally.
“I urge women to love their body enough to take care of it,” says Brandi, “And for all of us to stop covering up pain, whether it’s with alcohol or a smile—to start addressing that by sharing, by nurturing, by releasing—and to make ourselves a priority, scheduling self-care, celebrating self-care, and admiring it within our organizations vs. burning out and overdoing it.”
Susan and Brandi’s top tips for women, both in and out of the CU world.
Again, you’ll want to listen and lean in for the fantastic advice they offer. But, in a nutshell, Brandi’s top tips come down to this:
- Volunteer to the top
- Know your value
- Create your own narrative
- Be fiercely financially independent
Susan emphasizes, “The independent focus is not selfish; it’s profoundly necessary.” And she adds to Brandi’s list:
- Look for champions in your life
- Have allies
- Be an ally