Success for your credit union depends on this one mindset

Guard dog licking barb wire fence
Junkyard dogs worry about accomplishment. Show dogs worry about appearances.

This year there are only two types of credit unions: junkyard dogs and show dogs. The difference?

The junkyard dogs of the credit union community are those misfits and mavericks, renegades and rebels, innovators and improvisors who believe that traditional wisdom is more tradition than wisdom. There’s no room for “that’s what way we’ve always done it.”

Lee Iacocca – after being credited with introducing the Mustang to the world – was fired from Ford and happily went to work at Chrysler where he rescued the company from extinction by introducing the US and the world to the minivan. Years later, he continued his junkyard doggedness by asking Chrysler’s head of engineering to build a prototype LeBaron convertible to use in a TV ad. The “show dog” engineer told “junkyard dog” Iacocca just how much work and how many months it would take to design one. A true dog of the junkyard, Iacocca smiled and said, “Just get a LeBaron and cut the top off. I need it tomorrow.”

A few months ago we were all forced to be junkyard dogs. When the time came for many credit union CEOs to close their branches in a matter of 24 hours and figure out how to serve members, innovation and problem solving were forced upon credit union leaders.

But what do you do when it’s not a forced? If you had scheduled the strategic planning session for your credit union and I suggested you had to close all of your branches with 24-hour’s notice and figure out how to serve you members, I guarantee the majority of credit union leaders would play the show dog and talk about how difficult it would be and how many months or years it would take to accomplish this. Yet, you did.

Focused on outcomes rather than process, junkyard dogs are messy. Junkyard dogs worry about accomplishment. Show dogs worry about appearances. When the weather is calm and the water is smooth, the show dog owns the show. But when the storm is raging and it’s sink-or-swim time, the junkyard dog is the one you want – your credit union needs – steering the ship.

The wild ride of 2020 continues, and if you’re not in junkyard dog mode, preparing for the unthinkable, and pivoting your messaging, service channels and product lineup, the junkyard dogs will eat your lunch. As messy as the process might be, outcomes are the objective – they’re trained on them.

Dive deep into these concepts during your strategic planning journey. Adopt your unique junkyard-dog mentality.

Need a starting point? We’ve developed a free resource, Ask A Freaking Question, to help you ask the right questions at your credit union’s next strategic planning session. Fill out the form below and download it today to share it at your next leadership meeting.

Download our FREE resource to help you ask your credit union's the right questions in your strategic planning session.

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Reh Harvey

Vice President of Digital Strategy

Reh Harvey, our Vice President of Digital Strategy, leads with diligence and fervor. Having previously been a member of Team YMC, he is excited to return to such an amazing culture and even more amazing people (his words)! Through his experience in the marketing world, he’s found the key to success is to stay on the cutting edge and to always keep evolving.
Although originally drawn to marketing for its lack of math, Reh now finds himself doing more math than he would’ve bargained for. But his self discipline and positive attitude make it easy for him to laugh and take it in stride. Hoping to one day visit Japan and enjoy some premium Sushi, Reh lives life by his creed: Be a good human. Do good work. And above all, just keep going.

Hailey Madej

Graphic Designer

As YMC’s in-house Graphic Designer, Hailey possesses an eye for detail and a drive to innovate. It’s no surprise though since being creative runs in the family! Inspired from an early age by her mom’s work as a Graphic Designer, Hailey is a seasoned expert whose talents bring vitality and accessibility to every project. As a UX/UI designer, she expertly blends the intuitive and the creative for all to enjoy.
In addition to the occasional freelance project, Hailey also lends her abilities to supporting art initiatives within her community, such as the Belleville Mural Project. Her favorite aspect of joining the YMC team is the friendly, uplifting culture and breadth of design tasks. When it comes to marketing, she believes in pushing boundaries and maybe breaking some rules to capture her audience’s attention. Her advice to those just starting out? “Always seek quality over quantity.”

Dexter Ochoa

Development Assistant

When it comes to blending logical thinking and creative problem solving, Dexter’s abilities are undeniable! Beginning his career as a Web Developer, he’s no stranger to the wide world of Marketing and Advertising. Calling Biñan City in the Philippines home, Dexter has a burning desire to visit the Alpine peaks and valleys of Switzerland. While that journey may be far off, he is still no stranger to international travel. While visiting Japan, he was able to enjoy his favorite delicacy: Sushi and Sashimi. He also learned unexpected facts about Japanese Yen, specifically that it has special markings for the blind to know its value!

Living life by his motto to “Do good even if the world is unfair,” Dexter would also advise his younger self, “It’s hard, but you’re doing good!” Whether he’s enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning or the occasional Pale Pilsen in the evening, Dexter is eager to work with the talented professionals of YMC, and we’re just as eager to add his talent to the team as well! His marketing words of wisdom? “Be creative, and just do what you want!”

Andrew Wyche


Hailing from the NC state capital (that’s Raleigh if you didn’t know), Andrew is YMC’s Copywriter extraordinaire. That’s why he knows that “The verb form of ‘reconnaissance’ is ‘reconnoiter.’ The former is, strictly speaking, a noun.” Seriously, he knows his words and he’ll use those words to get bold and weird (in a good way) with his copy. Fuelled by a love for pasta, shellfish, a good single malt, or a meal consisting of all three, Andrew navigates life with a motto engraved in his heart: “Choose kindness. Always.” It is this guiding principle that has led him to explore the realm of marketing, driven by a desire to connect with people in meaningful ways. As he continues to chase his dreams, one bucket list item stands out above the rest – a pilgrimage to Scotland. With his heart set on adventure and his pen poised for creativity, Andrew’s journey is far from over.

Alex VanHaasteren

Senior Web Developer

Alex is YMC’s Senior Web Developer and, as the title suggests, she is an absolute pro! While she initially started in graphic design – working long and hard to expertly bring concepts to life – she also felt drawn to technology and applying her natural ability to problem solve. Web Development proved the perfect blend of her creative passion and technical savvy.

When Alex is out with friends – including her YMC colleagues – she’s up for Greek cuisine or some good pulled pork BBQ washed down with Diet Coke. Or an Old Fashioned, if the occasion demands. Someday, she hopes to go to Africa on a safari. Hopefully she’ll see a giraffe in the wild, because – as she’s pointed out – its neck is too short to reach the ground!

When she isn’t jamming out to T-Swift, she’s happy to impart some marketing words of wisdom, “Aim to create something unforgettable.” For day-to-day inspiration, she would remind you of two fundamental truths: You decide your happiness, and Ice cream is its own food group—not just a dessert.

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