UFIRST FEDERAL CREDIT UNION, LENDING MANAGER
Hometown: Morrisonville, New York
Education: Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, SUNY Plattsburgh
Community Involvement: Plattsburgh Sunrise Rotary, New York State Credit Union Young Professionals Commission Member, Making Strides, Real Men Wear Pink team member, Ride-To-Remember volunteer
Eric Mcdowell went to work at UFirst in Plattsburgh in 2006. When he realized he wanted to grow in the organization, he went college to earn a degree in Business Administration. Attending school full time and working full time was tough but rewarding. Currently Eric is pursuing his certification from CUNA (Credit Union National Association) and when that is complete, he hopes to join UFirst’s Senior Management Team.
When Eric isn’t working, he can be found remodeling the home he shares with his husband and their dog. They enjoy travel and camping. “I really don’t think the importance of being happy at work can be overstated. I love my job and the people I work with. I can’t imagine spending all that time somewhere where you weren’t content,” he observed.
What are you doing to make a difference in your profession?
I believe it’s important to build strong relationships with your employees. By taking the time to listen to their ideas or struggles, it shows that I am here to offer support and that I care about what’s important to them. When employees feel heard and respected, it helps create a more positive work environment and that benefits both the employee and the entire organization.
What is the single most important characteristic for success?
Open mindedness. I believe you always have to be open-minded when it comes to working with your employees, members, supervisors, and even your friends and family. Being open to change and listening to other people’s ideas will only help you to grow as an individual and as a group. When your company is successful, you reap the reward from that as well.
What important lesson have you learned in your career?
Don’t be afraid to fail. Sometimes, when you stumble, you learn a valuable lesson that might make you stronger in the end.
What can the North Country do to make this region more appealing to a younger generation?
I think as the North Country continues to become more developed, we need to focus on attracting businesses to the area that will have young professionals wanting to stay here. The North Country is such a great place to live and has so much to offer in the way of outdoor activities and our proximity to Canada, Vermont, Lake Placid, and Albany. We just need to tap into all the things that make it great so young professionals see the potential of staying here.
How do you contribute to the culture of your company?
I am very enthusiastic when it comes to my job. I am committed and dedicated to the credit union movement and I believe that sharing my experiences and knowledge with our staff helps feed their passion for the movement as well. Our members come first and having passion for what we do comes out in our service and contributes to the success of UFirst.
What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
About six years ago I made a large shift in my career at UFirst. I left my position as Senior Accounting Clerk to become a Loan Officer. I essentially moved from a position with little to no interaction with our members to working face to face with them. This pushed me outside my comfort zone and was the best move I ever made. The opportunities that have been afforded to me over the last few years have been nothing short of amazing and it has gotten me to where I am today. I’m very thankful that the risk paid off for me.
Write a note to your younger self…
When it comes to your career, never be afraid to take any opportunity that comes your way. You may not intend for it to be your forever job but the knowledge you gain and the opportunities it opens you up to is setting you up for future success. Always be open to learning more because it can make you a better person. And try new things, both in your career and your personal life.