‘The detour is the way’ | 2020-11-05

When Vernice “FlyGirl” Armor recalls the chaotic details of a mission during the Iraq war as a fighter pilot for the US Marine Corps, she asks the participants of the virtual conference of the CUNA Lending Council to determine the most important success factors.

Among the suggestions were teamwork, trust under pressure. But Armor, America’s first African-American female fighter pilot, says her flight schedule was the main reason for her success.

“Our plan gave us the framework for when things hit the fan,” she says. “We could bend over, adjust, get back on track, and complete the mission. Right now it’s all about flexibility and adaptability. “

She says credit unions are in a similar situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We don’t know what today – let alone tomorrow, next week or in a year – will look like,” says Armor. “Credit unions are a direct link to our communities. We need them more than ever. “

She recalls how the Navy Federal Credit Union provided vehicle and home loans, as well as personal service, on her personal financial trip.

As the first African American female fighter pilot in the US armed forces, Armor also faced numerous challenges on her professional journey.

“We all have challenges and obstacles,” she says. “Some are more unique than others. The key is to acknowledge the obstacles but not give them strength. “

As her mother once told her, “suck it up, dry your eyes and get back to work.”

“That’s bending and fitting,” says Armor. “The detour is the way. We’ll get back on track and complete the mission. “

Likewise, in chaotic times like the pandemic, credit unions have to “agree to their uncomfortable letting things unfold,” she says.

“Your friends, your families and your members depend on you.”

Click here for more conference coverage from CUNA news. Learn more about the CUNA Lending Council, a member-run professional association for credit union executives, at cunacouncils.org.

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