Employee Spotlight – James Guild
This month, we are doing a special Leader Spotlight! James Guild is Co-Founder and Managing Partner at CU Engage. He and Jenn Addabbo started the company when they recognized the need for a new breed of consultants as credit unions faced transformational opportunities. Thanks to the support of industry leaders, they took the plunge and in 2014 formed CU Engage. James is now a proud leader of a team that has grown from two to 26 people over the past 6 years!
No Longer an Outlander
James grew up in Yorkshire, England. When he was 19, he took a vacation to Longboat Key, FL and knew at that point he wanted to come back. He did come back; he was 22 and had $200 to his name. He planned to stay until that money ran out. Luckily for us, it hasn’t run out yet and he is still here! James and his lovely wife Bettina now call Treasure Island, FL home. Their daughter Alyssa lives in nearby Orlando and works for an amazing company.
When James isn’t working, he loves to travel. Antarctica is the only continent he hasn’t set foot on, and he has only four states in the USA that he hasn’t visited (yet!). His wife grew up in the Philippines, and he has family in England, New Zealand, and South Africa. James has always loved sports, particularly tennis, rugby, cricket, golf, Formula 1 Racing, and English football. When not traveling, James enjoys spinning and cheering on Leeds United. In addition, James is an early riser and enjoys taking in the sunrise-his favorite part of the day- from his paddleboard. Being surrounded by water is one of James’ favorite things about living in Florida. He can’t imagine being without it. He says, “it’s like a fuel to happiness.”
There is so much more to learn about James! So, read on, and as James’ personal brand statement says, “Make the most of every opportunity! Live and love life to the Max!”
Q & A with James
Q: Is the glass half empty or half full? A: Yes! ?…. It’s both. I always see the opportunity yet in a cautious and purposeful way.
Q: Do you have a motto or a mantra? What is it? A:Work Hard, Play Hard. We only get one shot at this life! Things are not done until they are Done-Done. No regrets.
Q: Are you messy or organized? A: Organized.
Q: What are your top three life highlights? A: Marriage to Bettina, the gift of a great Daughter Alyssa, Friends and Family around the World.
Q: Describe CU Engage in 5 words or less: A: Passion, Fun, Results, Team, Opportunity
Q: If you were the newest crayon in the box, what color would you be and why? A: Pink – Sensitive & different.
Q: What chore do you hate? A: Gardening – so I don’t.
Q: Are you a hunter or a gatherer? A: Definitely a hunter.
Q: What is your favorite 90’s jam? A: Summertime – Will Smith
Q: Do you have an office nickname? A: I’m sure I do but don’t know what it is…. The old guy? (Writers note: Kody affectionately calls James “Jameson Guildington.”)
Q: What is the best vacation you’ve taken? A: A trip for our 30th Wedding Anniversary with my wife. Three weeks off (those that know me know that is tough for me!) We went to Singapore, Bali, Ko Samui, Bangkok…amazing experience!
Q: If you could pick one theme for CU Engage to turn into a book about the company, what would you choose? A: Follow your dreams and Go for it!
Q: What is on your bucket list? A: Monte Carlo Grand Prix, Northern Lights, Grandchildren
Q: What makes you laugh? A:Dad jokes! That is for you Chassidy! Always trying to see the lighter side of things and humor can be such an effective tool in challenging times.
Q: Have you ever met anyone famous? A: The Queen and Arnold Palmer are top of my list but also several other sports personalities.
Q: What is on the radio in your car? A: Typically, my local radio station from England – Stray FM
Q: What celebrity do people think you look like? A: Golfers Nick Faldo and Nick Price
Q: What book did you read last? A: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Q: What is the coolest or most important trend you see today? A: Me! (Dad joke) Artificial Intelligence and Robotic Process Automation.
Q: When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried? A: Every time my wife laughs uncontrollably.
Q: When you have 30 minutes of free time, what are you doing? A: Chilling… TV helps me switch off… Shark Tank with a Gin and Tonic.
Q: What are your pet peeves? A: People not saying thank you, disrespect.
Q: What was your favorite book, toy, or outfit as a child? A: Air Rifle.
Q: What is your spirit animal? A: Boy, never been asked that…. If I had to pick, I would say a Labrador. My only Pet.
Q: What do you enjoy most about working here? A: Our Team, our Clients, and our amazing industry. People helping People. It isn’t just a slogan, it’s a way of life that enables this industry and our company to care and thrive.
Q: What is your favorite holiday? A: Christmas.
Q: If you could only have one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? A: Steak – Medium Rare.
Q: What is your guilty pleasure? A: Cadburys Chocolate (Made in UK).
Q: What is an ability you wish you had? A: Patience.
Q: What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? A: I’m sure something from the Philippines that I have erased from my memory…Sorry Bettina. From the UK, Haggis.
Q: What would you do if you won the lottery? A: I wouldn’t tell anyone.
Q: What would the title of your autobiography be? A: No Fear, No Regrets
Q: What inspires you? A: To leave a legacy to my family that enables current and future generations to have the opportunity to live life to the fullest.
Q: If you could learn to do any one thing, what would it be? A: Learn to fly a plane.
Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever been given? A: Follow your dreams and never, never give up!
Q: What was your first concert? A: Level 42 at Leeds University in England.
Q: What does true leadership mean to you? A: Earning respect.
Q: Advice for new hires? A: I’m typically asked: “where do you see me progressing in this company?” My answer is: “It’s whatever you want to make of it.”