MSUB Alumni selected as 2016 40 Under Forty

Cathy Grider

BSBA Management 2006

 marketing officer, Billings Federal Credit Union


Cathy Grider

Cathy Grider’s involvement with Billings Federal Credit began more than 20 years before she started working there.


Her parents were customers and sometimes stopped by the office. “One of the loan officers remembers me crawling across the desk when I was about 3 years old, so I’ve had a passion for this place for a long time,” said Grider, who is Billings Federal Credit Union’s marketing officer.


Soon after graduating from Montana State University Billings, Grider went to the credit union to apply for a car loan. She also learned that they were looking for a marketing officer. Not only did she get the loan, she got a job.


Grider says the credit union goes a step beyond the idea of providing quality customer service. “We take the time to sit down with someone who was maybe told no by a different lender,” she said. “Often we can really tell that they’re trying. They may be working two jobs. They may have gone through a divorce and had thought that their spouse was paying the credit card. So, being able to sit down with the customer and getting the big picture instead of just looking at a credit score can make a difference.”


Grider is also president of Billings Advertising and Marketing, a club for professionals who work in advertising, marketing and public relations.


BAM provides an opportunity for professionals to network and stay connected on the latest industry trends. “Things are always changing in the marketing world, and you have to learn how to do it right in order to be effective,” Grider said.


In addition to bringing in experts and speakers, BAM does public service work by providing marketing assistance to selected nonprofit organizations.


“It’s a great way to give back to the community,” Grider said. “For an entire year, an organization gets free marketing services from various people within the club. They can be TV spots, radio and print. It’s an awesome thing for a nonprofit.”


What’s the biggest challenge you face in your job? Letting people know what a credit union is and the many great products and services we offer. Often, we have higher rates on savings products and lower rates on loans than any other financial in town. We are very competitive.


What’s the best business advice you have received? Be the tortoise, not the hare. Slow and steady wins the race. The tortoise wins every single time. Business success is much the same. The tortoises start slow, plan carefully and work their plans. The tortoise in the fable did not merely stand still. He slowly crept toward his goal, the finish line. Entrepreneur tortoises work hard, but more importantly they work smartly and consistently.


Who gave you that advice? Dave Ramsey.


Here’s what I’d like to do to improve my community: Teach more people about budgeting and saving, particularly kids. When it comes to teaching kids about money, it is never too early — especially when it comes to the importance of saving. Teaching kids the significance of saving and budgeting at an early age will lead to lifelong habits.


Outside of work, my biggest passion is: Time with my family whether it’s enjoying a meal, traveling, playing at the park or snuggled up under a blanket watching the Broncos on Sunday afternoon. The best thing about memories is making them.


Which living person do you most admire? My grandmother, Marie Mahaha. She grew up in an orphanage, then became a nurse and owned an A&W. She is a testament to the fact that you can do anything you set your mind to. Greatest of all, given her childhood, she taught us the value of family. Our extended family is very close and for that I feel very lucky. 


Aside from profit and loss, how do you measure success in your job? By improving the quality of our members’ lives by delivering sound financial solutions. 


What do you consider your greatest achievement? Having a solid work-life balance. Achievement in my career and enjoyment at home with my husband and kids are both valuable to me. 


I’m happiest when I’m… getting to use my creative side. I am right-brain dominant, so being creative is my comfort zone.


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Article & Photo credits: Billings Gazette


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