May 22, 2024
Giving Credit: Profile of Debbie Calder, VP of Navy Federal Credit Union

Photo: Navy Federal Credit Union

Debbie Calder credits her father for being a top influence in her life.

Women Leaders

Giving Credit: Profile of Debbie Calder, VP of Navy Federal Credit Union

Navy Federal's Debbie Calder leads Northwest Florida's largest private employer.

Carlton Proctor | 10/26/2018

As executive vice president of Navy Federal Credit Union’s Pensacola operations, Debbie Calder leads more than 7,000 employees on a sprawling 300-acre, $1.2-billion campus. With Navy Federal for 27 years, Calder recently talked to FLORIDA TREND about leading Northwest Florida’s largest private employer.

  • “The best mentor I ever had was my dad, a career Army officer. He had great instincts as far as people are concerned. He knew that if you didn’t understand what they are going through in their lives, they will never learn to trust you. I got that from him.”
  • “The way I make sure I don’t lose sight of our mission is to stay in touch with our frontline people. I have employee forums and lunches with our team leaders. You have to do those things for people to feel like you care about what they are going through. My job is to help make their work life better.”
  • “The three key things for me that shape my management style are authenticity, approachability and adaptability.”
  • “I never aspired to be senior executive at Navy Fed. What I did always aspire to was to have a very strong work ethic. When somebody asked me to do something, even though I didn’t want to do it, I did it. The jobs that I thought, ‘Gosh, I really don’t want to do that,’ are the jobs I’ve learned the most from.”
  • “What I would tell young women aspiring to executive level positions is that when you come into a job, be open-minded, adaptable, have a positive attitude, a great work ethic and not be overly ambitious. In each job you take on, you want leaders in other departments to say, ‘I want her to come over and work for me.’ “
  • “I’m a fixer, and you’ve got to learn how to be a fixer before you take that next step up the corporate ladder.”
  • “I also think as a leader of a large corporation you have an obligation to become involved in leadership roles your community. First of all, it’s the right thing to do, and it’s also in my nature.”

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