Welcome Tobi Weingart, Education Program Manager
The Foundation’s newest employee has seen a lot in her career, working in credit unions and associations in frontline and back-office positions. Now she’s ready for a new challenge, and we are so excited to have her.
OK, let’s start with the basics – tell us a little about yourself.
So first of all, I am a spouse to Will, and I’m a mother of two young daughters. I take my job as mom very seriously, it’s the biggest honor of my life. We live outside of Atlanta, Georgia, and I’ve been in credit unions for over a decade now.
Like a lot of people’s credit union stories, it really started off by accident. I took a teller job but I wasn’t fully sure what a credit union was. What I saw was that there are so many different ways that credit unions support their communities, ensuring people have access to services and equity, and those are values that I hold dear. It’s really what’s kept me involved in the credit union movement.
A lot of people are passionate about credit unions, but you seem to really embody the mission.
Throughout my career in Credit Union Land, I’ve really found a passion for helping people. That’s always been a part of who I am and what I enjoy doing. We do this work because it is truly about people helping people. And that’s not trite. It is really about meeting people where they are coming to them with empathy and compassion, to ensure that they can live their best lives and what my best life looks like is different than what yours does, and that’s okay.
It’s recognizing and respecting what everybody’s best life looks like, and then meeting them where they are. That may mean that credit unions have to go against the grain of conventional finance. But because we are member-owned cooperatives, there’s a beauty in that ability to see the person across from you, not just as a credit score or a number, but as a person who lives in your community or goes to your school or your church, or whatever your field of membership is. That’s an important differentiator for our industry.
Is that what inspired you to look for a role at the Foundation?
I’m from Southwest Georgia, a little town, very rural, agricultural, no major employer. When you live in a part of the country that maybe doesn’t have as much access or is not necessarily treated with as much equity as larger cities or states that have more money flowing through them, you become aware at a very early age of the haves and the have nots, and I see working at the Foundation as an opportunity to build some equity between the two.
You’re a few minutes into the job now, so you must have some big plans. Tell us about them.
There are a few things I’m excited to start working on. Continuing to evolve and innovate on the DE program; to grow and foster a sense of community around the DE group and the credit union movement in general.
I also hope to bring curiosity. Let’s explore how can we enable the movement to grow and to flourish; how can we better understand where we are going so that we can bring not just best practices, but next practices. It’s honoring our past so that we can have a better future.
And lastly, tell us about the impact DE had on you.
I graduated DE in the fall of 2013. I was probably one of the youngest in that class and from my perspective, I was surrounded by a group of leaders that I could look up to. I learned so much from that group. And then I had the honor and privilege of going over to Liverpool for the DEU program in the summer of 2015.
It is such a delight when you’re in a meeting with someone and they say: “Oh, I’m a DE,” and you’re like, “Yes!” We have that common understanding, that grounding behind why we are doing what we’re doing.
It’s just a wonderful opportunity to compare and see how our credit unions operate differently, depending on where we are in the world. But we all still have fairly common roots. I’m looking forward to the community of DEs rallying behind that so that we can make change happen across our larger cooperative movement.