Class of 2015
By Vicki Ikeogu
Originally published: January 3, 2016
If you would have asked Jed Meyer during his college years what he wanted to do after graduation, his answers would be completely different from his current reality.
"I really wanted to originally be a criminal psychologist," Meyer said. "It was kind of a goal of mine."
But as life happened, Meyer's goals and career path changed. Meyer said psychology would require a master's degree, and at that point in his life he was not sure if that was right for him. It also did not help that he had accepted a job with Norwest (now Wells Fargo) shortly after attending a career fair.
Since starting with Norwest in the late 1990s, Meyer has worked his way around the for-profit and not-for-profit financial sector with institutions such as Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union, Wells Fargo and SharePoint Credit Union.
Two new career goals soon formed for Meyer. The first one was to help people. The second one was to become a chief executive.
At 39, Meyer believes he can cross those two goals off his list. As president and CEO of St. Cloud Federal Credit Union for almost two years, Meyer has made a conscious effort to further involve the credit union, its employees and its 18,500 members in initiatives to better the St. Cloud area.
Because of this, Meyer has been selected for the 5 Under 40 Class of 2015. He recently sat down with the Times to talk about his latest accomplishment.
Question: What are some of the daily challenges, either positive or negative, that you encounter in your work with St. Cloud Federal Credit Union?
Answer: We are an ever-changing industry. Our industry might change more in the next 10 years than it has in the last 25. A lot of virtual technology is changing the way consumers want to do business so that’s both an opportunity and a challenge, right? Because from a challenge perspective, how do we as an organization continue to give our members what they’re asking for while at the same time not investing in fleeting technology? But it’s also an opportunity. And I think we look at it in both ways and continue to navigate and really try to keep pulse with our members and what they’re asking for.
Q: You seem to really pride yourself on the innovative work you are doing at the credit union, especially with financial education and literacy programs for youth. Why are these programs so important to you?
A: I have to run a financially strong organization. I have to do all of the things that people do while running an organization, but as a not-for-profit cooperative, if you truly understand the history of the cooperative structure of people helping people, of putting people above profit, there’s so much opportunity within that, not only within the community but with your membership and with your staff. That, for me, that’s why I aspired to be a CEO, so that I could try and push the envelope there and really do what the cooperative structure has the ability to do. It’s maybe the maximizer in me but, that’s why I do those things. Not because it’s easy or because I want self-accolades, but because I know the possibility’s there.
Q: What is your motivation, your driving force that keeps you going?
A: I’ve been blessed with a beautiful family that I work hard for every day. But I just love life. I think too often we all have the opportunity to do more and we regret when we don’t, so I’ve always been someone who’s tried to capitalize on the opportunities that are in front of me. I’m inspired by people underneath me being passionate about what they do in my organization. To me, there’s such great possibility and opportunity in what we can accomplish as a collaborative group. That’s what drives me every day. It’s like, let’s get back to the focusing specifically on the opportunity that exists in front of us to do something for somebody else.
Jed Meyer, CEO of St. Cloud Federal Credit Union, talks Friday, Dec. 11 in his office. (Photo: Kimm Anderson, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Q: So who in your life has been an inspiration to you, and what makes their qualities so special?
A: My grandfather (Tony Meyer) was as blue collar as they come. Grew up on a farm in Central Minnesota, eighth-grade education. But just was the hardest worker you’ve ever met. He and my grandmother were foster parents for Hennepin County for well into their 70s. I grew up with foster kids all around. But just what a precedent that he set for giving back. He's always inspired me.
Q: What advice would you give to other professionals, especially to young professionals who are starting out on their career journey?
A: The first thing that I would say to them is what are your core beliefs and what inspires you? Because if you are working in a world where you have strong beliefs and you're inspired, you're going to automatically inspire others. And I think that's a beautiful place to be. Not only as an individual but also in the way that you can impact others as you move forward. So go find something that you love to do. And when you don’t love to do it, find something different to do. There’s responsibility and pressure in life, but those things become much easier as you go after what you love.
Occupation: President and chief executive of St. Cloud Federal Credit Union.
Family: Wife, Sara; sons Mason, 13, and Nicholas, 10; daughter Olivia, 5.
Education: Bachelor's degrees in psychology and communication management from the University of Minnesota Duluth.
Community involvement: Member of the Sartell Baseball Association, member of the Rotary Club of St. Cloud. Meyer also volunteers his time as a baseball coach.