Thomas P. Novak
Thomas P. Novak is a vastly experienced financial services leader. Today, he is AVP/Digital at Visions Federal Credit Union, where he is directly responsible for the digital strategy of the organization and overseeing all digital banking, digital payments, and the operations of public and secure digital platforms.
Novak has been at Visions for nine years, but, across his entire career, digital transformation has been a consistent narrative. It gives him a unique perspective into what lies at the heart of a successful digital financial services leader.
“I’ve had 12+ years in a leadership role, both in the banking environment and, more recently, in the credit union space,” he explains. “Leadership is important, of course, in terms of delivering products and services to an end user – in our case, a member – but, as digital transformation has increased, it’s become more about culture and mindset. A good digital leader is charged with cultivating and advancing the organization across several fronts.
“This has become even more important with the COVID-19 crisis. The spotlight has been put on ‘digital’ even more. And, because that’s guided by a human-centered approach, a leader must also have empathy and be able to balance what's best for the business with how that impacts consumers, members, and the entire ecosystem.”
At Visions, unlike his work in banking, Novak is focused on implementing technology for a very defined and singular purpose: the member. It is a unique proposition that, unlike some digital leaders, means that any technology adoption or consideration must be centered around the individual. “In the credit union space, we solely work on behalf of our members, regardless of how much money an individual has. Our products and services are based on a doctrine of fairness. That fundamental difference really drives how I move forward with digital transformation.”
“It's very different recruiting people for something you're building from scratch, compared to recruiting for something that is already running.”