“I Never Thought I’d Have This Much Fun at a Bank” – Washington Federal’s Brad Goode: Repurposed Journalist

Posted: March 19, 2018 in employment
img_0282.jpg

Brad Goode – Washington Federal

Try keeping up with Brad Goode. It’ll leave you out of breath. He’s part man on a mission, part kid in the candy store. For the past year and a half, the former TV anchor (KOMO 4, CNBC, KING 5) has been Senior Vice President & Director of Marketing/ Communications at Washington Federal in Seattle. And while for some, the September, 2016 transition to life after the newsroom could have been tough, for this repurposed journalist, the career move to the finance industry is paying big dividends. Brad Goode is still using the same storytelling muscles he did when he met a daily deadline and got up before the crack of dawn to deliver the morning news.

In an energetic, non-stop interview at Washington Federal headquarters in downtown Seattle Goode talked about making the leap from journalism to banking.

BG: “It’s a little bizarre, I’d been looking to transition for maybe six, eight months, just saying, “I love business. I’ve covered business for years in news.” And I just thought the time was right to jump to a business that may need the skill set of a 30-year broadcaster, in terms of marketing, communications, community relations with the time that I’d spent here in Seattle. And after interviewing with about a dozen companies with their executive teams, lo and behold, I come to find that this bank, Washington Federal, that’s been around 100 years, had not done much marketing or promotion of itself or its products. And I come walking through the door saying, “Hey, I’m looking to do something like this. I’ve got an affinity for covering business news.” And they said, “Well, we’d like you to help us out.” And after about six or seven interviews and lunches and I was starting to wonder, “When do you get a job offer in this banking business if things are going so well and you’re meeting with the CEO?” And then finally they said, “No, we would like you to run our marketing communications department.” I thought, “Wow. Well, that’s a big step.” But they embraced what I was able to bring. I’m unlike anybody else in the building, obviously.”

IMG_0284

Goode at Washington Federal Downtown Seattle Headquarters

BG: “I say that because I walked in the door saying, “This institution has a great story and somebody needs to tell it. Nobody has told the story of this 100-year institution that survived Wall Street crashes and the recent great recession, and that we’re still here and that we’ve helped keep people in their homes. And we’ve helped build businesses not only here in Seattle but in eight states now.” And they said, “We do need help with someone telling our story.” I said, “I got it.” And then they said, “Can you help us improve our internal communications?” I said, “Well, what do you have? They said, “Well, the CEO just kinda talks into a camera.” And I said, “Well, yeah, give me that, I’ll make that into a weekly newscast.” “Great.” And that thing’s taken off.”

BG: “I fondly call it, “What’s up at Wa Fed?” And so I give shout outs all over the footprint, on what people are doing. In this week’s episode, I showed all of our branch employees from our Yuma, Arizona branch, out in the middle of the desert, taking their part in the highway cleanup, collecting 12 bags of trash in their community to clean up the highway. We just show what everybody’s doing out there in their communities. And it’s been so much fun. And it’s galvanized these 2,000 employees, ’cause they feel all attached, ’cause they get to watch what everybody’s doing within their company thousands of miles away.

JY: “So when you were in the newsroom, your purpose was to put stories on the air and inform the public. What is your purpose now?”

BG: “Well, now the purpose is to communicate and educate our employee base, 2,000 of them, internally. And then outwardly market our brand. Some of that’s community relations, and you understand that ’cause you do some of that. Where can we position what we do? We found financial literacy is a big part of what we do. We have found that supporting low income housing, since we have been doling out home loans for over 100 years, is a big part of what we like to do. And marketing some of our new… Our checking accounts, our credit cards, typical things that banks have, but why you should go with Washington Federal. And a lot of that boils back to our story.”

JY: “Do you miss it at all? I still see that you’re on KOMO TV on a regular basis. You’re still doing things.”

BG: “Now I get to just play in TV. But it’s not the full time gig. And I enjoy going back into KOMO and at least delivering twice a week the franchise (Goode 4 Business) that I developed six years ago now, and which is similar to what I did on CNBC. And now it’s sponsored by us, Washington Federal, so it’s kind of a neat little thing that we get to do, but it’s fun to go do that for TV and radio and then leave. And I feel like I’m more involved in something than I’ve ever been. And I would say that is satisfying. It’s surprised me to a certain degree. This bank and it’s executive team have embraced my madness. [chuckle] And we’re having a lot of fun, and I’ve created things that they never thought they would do before. But we’re seeing some success and results which makes me feel great.

JY: “What kind of muscles as a reporter are you using now?”

BG: “Oh my goodness, every day. Seriously, countless every day. Decision making, timelines, communicating with people, deadlines of course. Nobody understands deadlines, I believe, in the corporate world like we did in the media world. ‘Cause we were up sometimes (meeting deadlines) several a day. Here deadlines are a week, two, a month, six months out, which kinda drives me crazy a little bit. [chuckles] So I find I’ve had to manage time differently, but I found that what I learned in reporting and anchoring and being part of a news team really helped me transition into this team a lot easier than I thought it would be, even though it was a completely different industry. But I find that it certainly helps to know how to ask questions and dig a little bit deeper, and you have to be humble in saying, “I don’t understand that, I need to hear that again.” Because as we learned in news, if I don’t understand, how can I communicate it to the greater public? So now it’s just a different thing where I have to understand it, because now I have to make sure that what I’m marketing and communicating out, our clients and costumers will understand and adopt.”

JY: “Is there a cause now that you might have? I mean, just set aside the commercial part of this organization, which I can tell from your passion it is. But where is the cause now?”

BG: “Well, I think because we’ve committed so long ago that, as you point out, most people are not financially literate, unless they went to school and studied that, or they’ve worked on Wall Street or become a banker, they don’t understand it. So we said, “Well, how can we be a conduit, if you will, to education for financial literacy?” Because I think, as most people know, financial stress is a huge problem throughout the world and here in this country. In fact, it’s one of the leading causes of suicide, I’ve come to learn, is financial stress. It didn’t just happen in the Depression or the Great Recession. People are stressed out about finances. Why? Because they don’t have a clear understanding of what they should be doing. So as a bank, we made the decision decades ago that we need to be a partner with people whether they bank with us or not. What we can give back to the community is some financial literacy.”

JY: “Why are you so passionate about it?”

BG: “Jeez. I really need to get on the decaf. I mean, I really needed. I needed my little peanut butter bar to get me through the day, just ’cause I needed some more energy.”

JY: “No, you are so passionate about this, Brad. I mean, that’s what’s fun to see. It’s just like you really enjoy your place in the universe. It feels like you’ve landed at the right place, and you don’t have any problem being passionate about this organization.”

BG: “I talk to my wife (former TV anchor Dina Napoli, President of Napoli Communications) about this all the time. I feel pretty lucky that I landed here. It was like it was meant to be. I’d been interviewing with a lot of cool companies. I met with the leadership teams at Zillow and Alaska and Holland America and Tommy Bahama. A lot of cool companies, right? I never thought I’d be at a bank. But once I got to know these folks and what they were doing, and learned their story and how they kept 3,000 families in their home during the Great Recession, ’cause we owned the loans for everyone, we re-modified them for people. I was blown away. I was like, “That’s a real business story.” For some, that’s a life-and-death story. And we know in news, we’ve covered our share of those. And it just seemed like they had the need, I was ready for that, and it was a perfect puzzle-piece fit, if you will. So I feel… They’ve said to me in the past, they said, “Jeez, thanks for taking a chance on us, Brad.” And I said, “Well, I’d argue you took the chance on me, I never thought I would have this much fun at the bank.”

JY: “Is there anything I haven’t asked you that you feel like you’d like to include?”

BG: “My gosh. No, but you sure make this fun. Yeah, I think it’s just like anything else. Find what you love to do and throw yourself into it. It is still telling a different story every day, it’s just kinda managed differently.”

JY: “And there’s a bottom line.”

BG: “Oh, that’s right. There’s a bottom line. [laughter]”

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s