Liz Pilbean worked the third shift at UPS while pursuing her accounting degree at the University of Louisville during the day. It was an exhausting schedule, but ultimately, the long hours were worth it: Through UPS’s Learn and Earn Program, Liz’s tuition was essentially paid for. After graduation, she worked as a teller at a large commercial bank, but wanted to advance in her career and put her degree to better use. A job search brought her to Farm Credit Mid-America.
“I was looking to build a career at a company where I could make a difference,” she says. “Many of my colleagues at Farm Credit knew about the company before they started working here, because it was a part of their communities. It wasn’t a company I was familiar with, but I wanted to work at a place where I could get experience, learn, grow and develop. Farm Credit far exceeded anything I could have wished for.”
Stepping up to leadership
Initially, Liz worked in Farm Credit’s loan accounting department, then transitioned to a role in systems support. About six years ago, she moved to the credit side of the organization, working as a loan processor, credit analyst and leader of the loan processing team. Now, she is director of the consumer credit operations team — a new group that manages consumer loan requests.
“Working in several different departments at Farm Credit has been very beneficial, because I’ve been able to build strong relationships along the way,” she says. “I’ve also had the opportunity to work alongside really great leaders. So as I became a leader in the organization, I had many good, solid examples from mentors about how to lead and how to work on the areas I wanted to improve.”
City meets country
Liz was born and raised in Louisville, and has lived in an urban environment her entire life. But she doesn’t view her non-farm background as a hindrance to pursuing her career at Farm Credit. She has been on numerous farm visits, and has met and talked with many Farm Credit customers to hear their opinions about the company firsthand.
“One of the things I love about Farm Credit is that it does a great job of showing you how to align with the values and purpose of the company — even if you don’t have an agricultural background,” she says. “Farm Credit’s mission, to secure the future of rural communities and agriculture, is just as relevant to me as it is to anyone else in the organization. It’s what unites us.”
At Farm Credit, staff training doesn’t stop after the on-boarding process. Rather, opportunities for continuous improvement remain throughout the time staff members are employed there. “Over the past 11 years, I have had multiple training and development opportunities,” says Liz. “They are definitely available; it’s just up to each person to see how far he or she would like to go. In every department where I’ve worked, I’ve felt that leadership has always been there to help me get to the next step in my career.”
Perks come in many forms
Liz certainly appreciates the numerous perks of Farm Credit employees, such as tuition and fitness reimbursement, and a wellness program. Those are all tangible things that are great to take advantage of.
But it’s really the less-tangible elements of working at Farm Credit that Liz is most thankful for. “The people here are wonderful to work with, and I believe we all help each other succeed,” she says. “We have a common theme of helping each person become the best version of themselves, which is at the core of our coaching culture.”
“We recognize and celebrate our differences, but at the same time, we all work together to achieve the shared goals of the organization, whether you have a farming background or not.”
To learn more about careers at Farm Credit Mid-America, visit our careers page.