Q&A with Whitney Anderson-Harrell

Recently Whitney Anderson-Harrell, MSU marketing graduate, sat down with Jason Archer, director of the MSU Strategic Communication Online M.A. program, for the Level Up Webinar Series. While she was at ComArtSci, she also answered a few questions about her career and new role. She has recently begun her tenure as CEO of Elements Financial, a credit union located in Indianapolis. Previously, she was chief community development officer at MSUFCU. 

You will be the third African American woman to hold the position of CEO of a large asset credit union in the United States. What does it mean for you to have this role?

I feel a strong sense of responsibility for being the third African American woman to be a CEO of a large asset credit union. And I think from that perspective, I'm really excited. I am really inspired by those who came before me and hoping that I can just do just as amazing job as they have done. 

What would the Whitney of today tell the Whitney who has just started out in the industry?

I would definitely say to trust yourself, and to continue to work hard. Follow your dreams. One of the most amazing things about your your life and career is that you don't have to limit yourself with what you're capable of doing.

If you could describe your leadership style, in three words, what would it be?

My leadership style: authentic, loyal and innovative. 

In your experience, what makes a good leader?

You have to be willing to take some calculated risks in order to be a good leader. You need to stay relevant when whatever your industry is. You have to be okay with change. You have to challenge yourself. I think it's, it is so important to as you think about leadership to be empathetic, to have a great vision and mission and stay true to who you are as a person in order to really lead an organization in the right direction.

Check out Anderson-Harrell's Level Up Webinar