THE CHOICE BETWEEN VOCATION AND AVOCATION
BY MICHELLE MACDONALD
A person’s vocation may not always be related to his or her avocation. As children, our parents would always ask: “What would you like to be when you grow up?” We may respond by saying: “I want to be a police officer” or “a lawyer,” or “a doctor.” Sometimes, after becoming what we want to be, we find ourselves in solitude, asking: “Have I chosen the right field of endeavor? Am I happy doing what I am doing now?”
In the case of David Lanphear, president of the Envision Financial division of First West Credit Union, he found his vocation but pursued his avocation instead, as we learned during a recent interview with the local leader.
Q. Please tell us about yourself, education, etc.
“First and foremost, I’m married to my beautiful wife Wendy and have two children Matthew 11 and Megan 8. I’ve always made it a priority to be as involved as I can be with my kids and have been fortunate to coach my son’s hockey team for the past six years.
I’ve been with the organization for 19 years. My journey became in 1998 when I started on the frontline as a financial services officer at our Hope branch and from there quickly progressed to the role of Financial Services Manager and then Investment Advisor. Since then, I’ve held some senior positions. I was the vice-president, Retail Banking and Insurance, assistant vice-president, Investment Services; assistant vice-president, Insurance Services and vice-president, Commercial Banking and Insurance and finally, to where I am today, President of the Envision Financial region of the third largest credit union in B.C. Basically, my journey has been from frontline to president.
I’ve completed the executive leadership program at Queen’s University, and I’m Lean Greenbelt Certified by Lean Sensei International. I’m also a graduate of the Criminal Justice Program at the University of the Fraser Valley and a Certified Financial Planner.”
Q. When did you start your career with Envision?
“April 1998 as a Financial Services Officer.”
Q. What ignited the spark in you to choose financial services career?
“Well, that’s an interesting question as I didn’t have a desire to begin a career in financial services. My original plan was to go to law school and become a litigator, so I have a degree in Criminology. However, I’ve always been interested in stocks and bonds and did some of my buying and trading as a hobby; I guess you could say. It intrigued me, so I started taking courses in wealth management and securities, which made me realize that I wanted to move in that direction.”
Q.Did you work in any other organization before joining Envision?
“Yes, I started at the Bank of Montreal as a summer student while going to university.”
Q.Why did you choose Envision?
“I think it’s more like Envision chose me actually (laughing). Once I got it in my head that I wanted to become an Investment Advisor, I romanced the idea of a big corner office in Vancouver. I wanted to go straight to the big leagues. There I was at the young age of 24, submitting resumes to the big investment firms in Vancouver. Of the 25 resumes I sent out, I only heard back from two of them I think – by letter, basically thanking me for my application and advising that I didn’t have enough experience to qualify. When my mom approached me about a role at the local credit union, I didn’t even really understand what a credit union was; all I knew is that it wasn’t a big corner office that I aspired. My dad gave me some great advice. He said, “Okay son, I understand you want to work for a big firm in downtown Vancouver; however, there have been no job offers from them, and there’s a job for you at the credit union. Maybe you should think about getting the experience you need.”
Q.What mindsets helped make you successful?
“A Positive attitude and not being afraid to take risks and not being afraid to go where I or others haven’t gone before. I ran all of the business lines without being the practitioner of those lines of business. It provided me with an excellent opportunity to try different things and to learn parts of the business I didn’t fully understand. I also pride myself on living each day as my authentic self. Whether you meet me here at the office or in the comforts of my home, you’re meeting the same Dave.”
Q. Do you believe there is some pattern or formula to becoming successful?
“One of the lessons I learned early in my career is that no matter what position you aspire to, the best chance you have of getting there is to be the very best in the position you are in today. Only crush it in the position you have right now and the opportunities that will bring you to the next level will come. Maybe people, often to their detriment, are too focused on where they want to be that they right look past the job they are currently in.”
Q. What does success mean to you?
“As a leader, I live by a personal motto—I want my teams to achieve things they thought were not possible while having the time of their lives doing it. Success to me is seeing this transpire.”
Q. Who has been your greatest inspiration?
“My dad. He’s my hero. His guidance shaped a big part of who I am today. One thing he taught me at a young age, was to be the hardest working person on the team. He would say: ‘You might not have the most talent, skill or depth of knowledge but hard work and willingness to go where others won’t shows courage.”
Q. How do you find people to bring into your organization that seriously care about the organization the way you do?
“ It comes down to finding individuals with similar core values and a high level of passion and bringing those people along with us on the journey.”
Q.What would you say are the top three skills needed to be successful in the Financial Services Sector?
1. Ethics: we’re in a trust-based business. A high degree of ethics is a top priority.
2. Expert knowledge: We are here to make a real difference in the lives of our members. The ability to provide expert advice and exceptional service is imperative to our success.
3. Innovation: The world is changing at such a rapid rate. The financial service sector is no exception. With the increasing number of FinTech companies entering the economic landscape, we must evolve and adapt to the needs of consumers by providing innovative solutions to our members to be successful.”
Q. What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
“I’m passionate about our members receiving exception service and expert advice. It’s my job to ensure my teams are equipped to provide a high level of service and guidance to our members and are confident in their ability to do so. My fear would be letting my team down, so they are unable to deliver the promise we make as a financial institution.”
Q. What is your involvement in the community?
“I have always had a desire for helping children in need. I guess this comes from a longing to give back. I was a very fortunate child who was blessed with amazing parents and was provided many opportunities. I understand that not everyone has the same advantages that I had. Recently, I joined the Canuck Place board; and previously, I’ve served as a big brother and board member of Big Brothers (Big Sisters for five years and the Abbotsford Community Foundation). It’s the number one reason I’m so proud to work for this organization; a credit union, a cooperative, which was created to serve and fund the communities in which it operates. I’m lucky to work for an organization that has given back within its DNA.”
Q. What sacrifices have you had to make to be successful?
“I do work a lot and spend many hours at work. I’m usually out of the house before my kids are up and often home late and away from many evenings. However, I try to be as involved in my kids’ lives as I can—I never miss a Christmas concert or dance recital, and I coach my son’s hockey team alongside my dad. Thankfully, my wife is amazingly supportive. I acknowledge it’s a sacrifice but everything I do, I do it for them to give them the same type of life I was fortunate to have and to be a good role model for a strong work ethic and hard work and what it can accomplish.”
Q. In one word, characterize your life as a President of Envision.
About Envision Financial
Envision Financial is a premier provider of banking, investment and insurance services for residents and businesses throughout the Fraser Valley, Lower Mainland and Kitimat regions. As a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.’s third-largest credit union with 54 branches and 38 insurance offices throughout the province, Envision Financial brings innovative products, an extensive branch network and local decision making to the banking experience. Visit envisionfinancial.ca for more information.