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Paula Morgan

First Impressions—No Second Chances

Paula Morgan, Senior Vice President, Human ResourcesToday, since much of our interaction with each other occurs via email, text or through social media channels, when should we be concerned about the impressions we’re creating?

Well, one place for certain is when applying for a job.

Most employers are advertising their job openings via the Internet and social media, and as a result, job applicants are expressing their interest in job postings through these same channels. It’s important to remember that your application and resume, and occasionally cover letter, remain your first opportunity to create a positive impression with a prospective employer—regardless of the channel being used to deliver them.

The cryptic messages we so comfortably use to communicate with friends and family rarely demonstrate our command of the language at the level necessary to compete in the job market. So put your best foot, or in this case, words, forward. And, there are a few more things to keep in mind when you’re applying for jobs.

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Are you an “A” Player?

Paula Morgan, Senior Vice President, Human ResourcesWhen I talk about looking for A players to join our team here at Mission Fed, I realize that the expression could stand for A in all the traditional ways that might come to mind: “A” reflecting the best attitude, aptitude, achievement and accomplishments. But when you consider today’s rate of change in the business environment, “A” could just as easily stand for adaptability.

Mission Fed, like other organizations, is dealing with constant change from many different sources, internal and external. To manage the pace of change and to thrive in a changing environment, it makes sense that we look for employees who excel at not only coping with the change, but can often see it coming and make the most of it. In my own life, I learned a lot about adapting to change from traveling. As much as I plan, something always happens that changes the itinerary. Often those “required adaptations” turn out to be my best and funniest travel stories, and become helpful reminders when I’m back at my desk.

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Get Engaged—At Work!

Paula Morgan, Senior Vice President, Human ResourcesHere I sit daydreaming of an evening just a year ago. It was a warm night in a quaint restaurant near the Spanish Steps in Rome, Italy. The crumbling brick walls and steep staircase set the stage for my imagination to run wild with visions of ancient times in the Eternal City. It was a lovely night with family, great food and lively conversation that ended with a surprise marriage proposal. Yes, I became engaged on that warm night in Rome.

No, this isn’t an ad for European travel, an online dating service or your local diamond store. It’s a story of engagement in the most personal sense. A bond or promise between two people to spend the rest of their lives together in marriage—a commitment. It was preceded by a period where we got to know each other, found that we had similar backgrounds, goals and aspirations, and ultimately, that we wanted to “team up” to bring our shared dreams to reality.

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Finding a Personal Connection to Your Community Outreach

Paula Morgan, Senior Vice President, Human ResourcesWe do our best at things we are passionate about or have a personal connection to.

Mission Federal Credit Union is very proud to give back to our community as a presenting sponsor of the upcoming Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Saturday, October 22 at 8am in lovely Balboa Park. (Yes, that’s a hint to save the date.)

As we plan for this event and prepare for the sale of “Forget-Me-Nots” in our branches in September and October, I’d like you to have more background why Mission Fed is involved with this cause and some information on this disease that affects more than 5 million people and 11 million caregivers.

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From FYI to ROTFL

Paula Morgan, Senior Vice President, Human ResourcesI can’t help but smile when I look back at the time I first joined Mission Fed. I was truly overwhelmed by the number of acronyms referenced—and the ease with which everyone around me used them—in meetings and in daily conversation. Even though I’d been in the financial services industry for over 30 years at that point, I understood that, like most businesses, Mission Fed employees have their own language. I actually sought out an informal glossary that had been created by another Mission Fed employee so I could bring myself up to speed. We work very hard to avoid acronyms in all of our member communications, but our language here in the office with our “internal members” tends to take short cuts.

Now that I am a more seasoned employee of Mission Fed, I try to be conscious about how our language impacts newly hired and newly promoted employees. I attempt and encourage others to minimize the use of company-specific acronyms without providing an explanation. This is a tall order, though, especially when we’re constantly surrounded by all kinds of business and personal acronyms and abbreviations—even at home.

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Be the Type of Coworker You’d Want as a Colleague

Paula Morgan, Senior Vice President, Human ResourcesEvery morning, I stop to listen to my team interact as the workday begins. Today, like most days, they greet one another as they arrive and make small talk about the events of the previous evening; I hear caring voices and snippets of laughter. It makes me smile.

Once those friendly greetings take place, the team quickly gets to work on their to-do lists for the day. I could go on and on about their interactions and their many accomplishments, but that’s not the point. The bottom line is that we get the job done and we enjoy each other in the process, which is a great combination to have at work—besides, we do spend at least 8 hours a day here!

What are some of the qualities and characteristics you want your coworkers to display? Dependability, positivity, being knowledgeable, passionate and committed to producing quality work, friendly, considerate and fun? A recipe for success! We can sum this up and say that we all hope to work with coworkers who are engaged—not in the diamond ring sort of way, but rather in an employment sense. What exactly does being engaged mean?

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It’s a Little Cluttered in Here

Paula Morgan, Senior Vice President, Human ResourcesNow that the holidays are behind us, we face the prospect of a new year, including the joys—and challenges—it’s bound to bring. Like most folks, I look at each new year as an annual rebirth; a time to start on projects and promises that have been lost along the way. My focus is to simplify—to get rid of the clutter and reorganize both at home and at work. For me, this is a means to gain control and restore some semblance of sanity to my life.

As in previous years, my 2012 attempt began in the garage (better known as the black hole) where—for the previous ten to twelve months—I had moved all the things that were without predetermined space elsewhere in the house. I am also challenged by my Scottish upbringing that prevents me from discarding anything, for fear I might need it at some point in the future. I tease with friends and family, calling myself a closet hoarder, but the truth is that I can still recall the Lean Years and hear my beloved grandmother’s voice in my head chanting, “Waste not, want not!” Truly, I think my garage has become my rendition of the backup drive, a place where I can store my past and review it at my own pace. But I’m not single any more, and I’m getting helpful reminders from my loved one to purge some of my stuff—or at least, get it organized.

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Are You Prepared to Act on the Answer?

Paula Morgan, Senior Vice President, Human ResourcesOne of our strategic objectives for Mission Fed is Employee Optimization. To support that, we conducted an All Employee Survey this past December. Our goal was to better understand the engagement level of staff and to address any issues surrounding our goal of creating an environment where our employees love to come to work and our members love to do business.

When you send out a survey, you have to be open to the results and ready to take action. Obtaining the information is the very important first step, but what’s done with the information is even more significant. You can’t just ask for input and then not do anything with it—you have to create an action plan. What does a good action plan look like? Something like this: Share the results. Celebrate our successes. Develop action plans to improve where opportunities exist. And—most importantly—Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.

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Be Prepared—for Life and for a Wedding

Paula Morgan, Senior Vice President, Human ResourcesBe Prepared. That’s the Boy Scout Motto.

“Be prepared for what?” someone once asked Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting. “Why, for any old thing,” he replied.

What does this have to do with me? Well, I’m preparing for my upcoming wedding and my fiancé is a former Scout who still lives by the famous Scouting motto. My fiancé and I are older (I’ll leave the definition of older to your imagination—according to my mom, it’s 20 years older than she is at any given time). And so we are covering the expense of the event ourselves.

As anyone who has ever been married knows, preparing for a wedding is a lot of work. Oh, the decisions that must be made! When, where, big or small, guests, flowers, food, who will perform the ceremony and the list goes on (and on). Every decision has a financial element: how much to budget and how to pay—cash or credit?

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Embracing Change—the Only Constant

Paula Morgan, Senior Vice President, Human ResourcesGraduation season is upon us once again—I can’t believe how fast it arrived this year! For graduates, it signifies the completion of one phase of their life and the beginning of another—a new beginning. The word graduation is often used interchangeably with commencement, which refers to a beginning. And beginnings present opportunities for growth.

Whether it’s an elementary or middle school promotion or high school, college or grad school commencement, graduates of all ages share the same feelings: excitement, accomplishment and trepidation, just to name a few. Graduation can bring a real sense of accomplishment, a great relief and is typically accompanied by a heightened sense of fear about the future. However, the one overarching theme, regardless of age, is change—and graduation is a turning point that will always be followed by change.

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