“The MBA program and the content helped me understand that there is so much more in the leadership of organizations than managers and employees. My program of study helped me clarify that I wanted to be in a leadership role where I could be helping people, developing others, and learning from other people as well.”
John Iglesias MBA’01, the president and CEO at Northwest Community Credit Union, is a go-getter, with his eye on a Ph.D. in Leadership, while moonlighting as an affiliate faculty member and executive in residence at Bushnell University. In all his roles, a theme emerges—Iglesias thrives when helping people develop their best selves. In the case of leading a cooperative credit union, that development comes in the form of how the organization can best serve their community.
John Iglesias is passionate about people.
“I really enjoy constantly pushing myself to learn new things and stay busy,” he says. “But above all, the 'People Helping People' ethic is a driver that just keeps energizing me to unlock the potential of our employees, our products, and our services to meet real needs of families today. And it’s truly never a dull moment because the things you do daily are critical for people’s financial wellbeing.”
Earning his Master of Business Administration degree with a focus on finance and marketing at Saint Martin’s helped prepare Iglesias for the senior-level position. In addition to real-world application of strategy and statistics, marketing, and other business operations, Saint Martin’s helped Iglesias discover the heart of good business—the people.
Iglesias pursued his MBA degree after his mentor at Bank of America, Maija Eerkes, suggested it was a good step prior to seeking a higher position in banking. “I was privileged to have Saint Martin’s professors Paul Patterson and Riley Moore, who cared about me and gave me clear advice,” he shares. “The program and the content helped me understand that there is so much more in the leadership of organizations than managers and employees. My program of study helped me clarify that I wanted to be in a leadership role where I could be helping people, developing others, and learning from other people as well.”
Iglesias’ foundation includes his faith and his military career, and he appreciates the accessibility of Saint Martin’s extension program at McChord Air Force Base.
“This was very convenient for working professionals,” he says. “I was in the Naval Reserves and my wife and I were finally having a baby after 12 years of trying. I was also employed in banking working long hours and needed some flexibility. I attended courses on nights and weekends on base and at the university.”
Iglesias has a lot of good advice, including looking to mentors throughout the course of your career navigation. He also encourages taking the step out of your comfort zone and toward your education.
“If you want to advance in your career to levels of executive leadership, whether in the military or a civilian career in business, then a master’s degree is a very good thing to have. It’s also a worthy goal to pursue a field purely for knowledge,” he says.
“I think of my education as a personal toolkit: whatever you can learn, whatever you can gather in terms of tools for your life, you put into your professional toolbox,” he continues. “I grew up on Guam in a large family with very little. My mom encouraged me to never stop learning because no one can ever take away your education, and when you least expect it, it could be invaluable to you, and you don’t know it until you practice it.”