Grow Financial Federal Credit Union
Graphic of woman holding a megaphone with "Women in Leadership" text overlayed
April 2, 2021

Grow Hosts Women in Leadership Panel During Women’s History Month

Women make up 69% of the Grow workforce and 56% of our leadership. With such talent and experience in-house, the Grow Diversity Committee wanted to provide the opportunity for anyone in our organization to learn from one another and have the opportunity to ask questions of our female leaders. So, in recognition of Women’s History Month, they hosted their seventh annual Women in Leadership panel. (More about our past panels here.) This year’s panel was titled “Authenticity and Wholeness: How to Find Success While Being True to Who You Are,” and was hosted by Katelyn Napier, HR Manager, and moderated by Chantel Negron, AVP of Asset Protection. Panelists included Grow leaders Eva Johnson, Sheree Kimani, Anita Murphy and Kelly Quintero.

About our panelists

Eva Johnson, Regional Sales Director
Johnson began her career with Grow in 2010 as an account manager for the Dealer Service Center where she currently serves as Regional Sales Director. She’s proud to share that she was the first college graduate from her family to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree, was a 2014 Grow President’s Club recipient, and is a mother to five wonderful children. In her free time, she enjoys deep sea diving, kayaking, boating or any other kind of water sport. She is an avid nonfiction reader, and you can often find her reading multiple books at one time. So it’s no surprise that the Gallup strengths she identifies with most are learner, maximizer and positivity.

Sheree Kimani, Agile Product Owner
Kimani started her career with Grow in 2020 as an Agile Product Owner. She took a leap of faith leaving a career in the healthcare industry but admired Grow’s culture and the value placed on honoring our past and innovating for the future. She has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and is a certified Project Management Professional, Scrum Product Owner, Scrum Master and Team Kanban Practitioner. She enjoys spending time with her children, reading mystery novels, and event design and planning. She identifies most with her learner strength as she enjoys opportunities to enhance her skillset and sharing what she learns with others.

Anita Murphy, AVP Regional Executive
Murphy is currently the AVP Regional Executive for our South Carolina market and began her journey with Grow in 2013 as a Relationship Specialist. Prior to her career at Grow, she worked in retail in Columbus, Ohio. She moved into the roles of Branch Supervisor, then Market Manager, and she was promoted to AVP in August 2016. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Ohio State, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. She was a 2014 Grow President’s Club recipient and placed third in the 2017 Innovation Challenge and first in 2018, and she spends her free time making memories with her three-year-old and six-month-old children and quilting for fun. She identifies with her responsibility Gallup strength the most and prides herself on following through on her word.

Kelly Quintero, VP Financial Planning and Analysis
Quintero began her career at Grow in 2018 as the VP of Financial Planning Analysis. After becoming interested in Grow from passing our headquarters building every day on her commute, she saw an opportunity in finance and connected with Napier, HR Manager, on LinkedIn. The rest is history. She is proud of developing a career in a country that she chose to live in and in a language that is not her native, being born and raised in Colombia. She has a bachelor’s degree in Economics, an MBA in Finance and a master’s in Accounting. She completed an IronMan race in 2015 and will be attempting a second one this year. In her spare time, she is learning Italian and enjoys participating in marathons and triathlons. She identifies most with her restorative Gallup strength as she enjoys finding solutions to problems.

Q&A highlights

The panel was attended by over 200 Grow team members! A recording of the event was also shared internally by our Internal Communications team to allow any team members who couldn’t attend the Women in Leadership panel live the opportunity to watch if they’d like. We’ve captured just a portion of the wonderful thoughts expressed by the panelists to share below.

Overcoming imposter syndrome

“Imposter syndrome is a barrier if you let it control what you do and how you do it. It gets better when you start managing expectations. Perfection doesn’t exist; it’s okay to make mistakes. You just need to own them, fix them and move on. You have to make a conscious effort to acknowledge that you did a good job and that’s why you are where you are. Also, it helps to have a good team around you that you can trust so you don’t have to be the expert on everything.” – Quintero

“I had a lot of responsibility, so I wanted to do everything perfect the first time. As much as people kept telling me, ‘You’re doing a great job,’ I had to decide to believe it. Can it be a barrier? Absolutely, if you let it.” – Murphy

Leading as an introvert

“You don’t need to be talking all the time or be the loudest person in a group. You just need to make sure you can effectively communicate your message every time you speak. You don’t have to be loud in order to make things happen.” – Quintero

“[The measure of] my success is now the goals I have placed for myself and my standards, not necessarily what other people think. It’s true to me.” – Kimani

Retaining your authenticity

“Being authentic does not mean you’re not open to growing or not open to change. It’s just knowing at the end of the day you’re still staying true to your values. I have found during my career, where I have struggled the most, is when I try to be somebody that I’m not. I try to emulate a leader that I admire and try to make their style mine as opposed to being who I am and leading in my authentic way.” – Murphy

“To be authentic, you need to be very self-aware of your strengths as well as your weaknesses — and be comfortable with showing both. “ – Quintero

Balancing work, home and sanity during the pandemic

“What I found best to manage through all these situations is prioritizing what was important in that moment. Prioritize, slow down and take time to ask the people around you how they’re doing and pause for that answer. Focus on what’s important today and your deadlines, but also focus on the people behind them.” – Johnson

“For me, the key has been communication — with my team members, with my leaders and with my husband at home when we have childcare things or other things we have to figure out. Just being open and real.” – Murphy

Sharing advice for aspiring leaders

“Quality of work is not the same thing as perfection. I just strive to be 1% better every single day, and if I do that each day, I’m going to be lightyears ahead next year or five years from now. That’s given me the opportunity to have grace for myself as I continue to learn and grow in my career.” – Murphy

“You have the confidence to change your environment or your situation. I like the saying ‘You’re not a tree, so move.’ Pour into other people and support them as well.” – Kimani

“When you have a chance, pay it forward. Mentor somebody and be mentored. Look beyond the words because you never know what someone else is going through. Be of value to someone else.” – Johnson

Thank you to our panelists, moderator and host for another wonderful event. We’re already eagerly looking forward to next year’s Women in Leadership panel!

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