Calyn Ostrowski, Summit Credit Union

IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Calyn Ostrowski, managing VP – Business Development and Financial Empowerment, Summit Credit Union.

What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?

The opportunity to make a measurable difference for corporate and individual wellness needs inspires me every day. I believe health is wealth, and at Summit Credit Union I have the good fortune to provide resources that improve mind, body, and wallet.

Achieving well-being — whether mental, physical, or financial — is hard work and requires a shift in mindset and behavior change. Through attainable goal setting and award-winning resources, we are able to support our members and reduce stress.

Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?

My dad started his own company over 30 years ago in an industry that has drastically changed during that time. When other small businesses failed to stay relevant and closed shop, he regularly adapted and pivoted strategies to keep up with the growing changes. He is not afraid of risk or difficult conversations, and recognizes the need to leverage his team’s expertise to move the company forward. It has not always been easy and I admire his tenacity and appreciate his business advice whenever needed.

I have also been lucky enough to know, work, and be mentored by Ingrid Vanderveldt whose mindset of “making the impossible possible” motivates me to take risks and grow outside my comfort zone. Currently, Ingrid is chairman and CEO of Empowering a Billion Women by 2020 and recognized as one of Oprah’s SuperSoul 100 Global Leaders. Her vision, tenacity, energy, and faith are contagious, and her mission to connect women around the globe and advance women in business worldwide align with my own goals and values.

What has been the high point of your career so far?

It is always inspiring to hear firsthand from individuals whose lives improve due to my work. From increasing access to maternal/reproductive health care in developing countries, providing safe harbor from domestic violence, or improving well-being, I rise by lifting others.

That is why I am very excited to recently have joined the University of Wisconsin Law School’s Economic Justice Institute Board of Directors to support the clients and communities served through their civil and anti-poverty clinical programs.

Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

Throughout your career journey, take time to look inward and understand your true values, beliefs, and strengths. Improving people’s lives is my passion and has been the underlying theme throughout my career. Staying true to this mission, I have been deliberate in my career choices, pursuing job and volunteer opportunities that allow me to grow personally as well as professionally so that I am equipped with a diverse set of skills, knowledge, networks, and resources. Lastly, build a tribe of individuals who believe in you, support you, and are always willing to guide you in achieving your dreams.



What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?

I love the progressiveness of Madison and its blend of academia, politics, food, music, art, innovation, and outdoor activities. The continuous growth of our city has not altered its characteristic charm. During the summer and fall there is nowhere else I would rather be.

Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?

About 12 years ago, I went to a wreath-making class for the holidays and fell in love with designing, creating, and styling my own for every season. I love finding creative new materials and textures to use, and bringing the outdoors in. I have been sharing my wreaths as gifts and recently opened my own Etsy shop that I am still learning to navigate, promote, and find time to add new inventory. I would love to host a wine and wreath making party for my friends and family some day!

What are your guilty pleasures?

A good book, podcast, movie, music, meal, or glass of red wine! I am passionate about wellness, especially meditation; fly-fishing is my go-to stress reliever and I love yoga, rock climbing, hiking, traveling, and any type of outdoor adventure.

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