COVID-19 didn’t spare Ivory Lloyd’s slice of paradise as it swept across the globe, but in tragedy she found opportunity, putting her community service ethos to work in a new role for herself and her new employer.
In February, Lloyd went to work as COVID recovery program manager at Kaua’i Government Employees FCU ($124.3M, Lihue, HI), where she helps guide her cooperative’s efforts to help its members handle the economic blowback of the pandemic.
Lloyd came to the role naturally. She was already involved in the community, and her family’s business teaching lei making and building surfboards gave her empathy for what the pandemic was doing to the tourism-dependent local economy.
Here, Lloyd shares insight on how her new job helps her cooperative and the community recover.
When and why did Kaua’i Government Employees FCU created the role of COVID recovery program manager?
‘s a first responder in the community. We’re a CDFI, and when the pandemic hit, KGEFCU immediately began creating programs and support systems to help people weather the storm. That required a full-time position.
Did the credit union create it specifically for you?
IL: KGEFCU has numerous programs to help our community. I was on the rental relief team before I started this position in February. The position was needed, and I knew this was where I fit into the credit union world. I jumped at the opportunity.
What challenges does your role as COVID recovery program manager address?
CU QUICK FACTS
Kaua’i Government Employees FCU
Data as of 06.30.21
HQ: Lihue, HI
12-MO SHARE GROWTH: -3.3%
12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 0.1%
IL: Our economy here on Kaua’i is almost entirely based on tourism, which came to an abrupt halt. Our businesses suffered tremendously and are still struggling. My role acts as a bridge between many of our small-business owners and the resources that can help them weather this storm, pivot, or create a new stream of income for the future.
What opportunities does your role address?
IL: A lot of us knew the tourism industry was not sustainable it’s extremely taxing on our local infrastructure, environment, and people. As businesses recover from 2020, there are so many opportunities to shift and diversify so we’re not so reliant on tourism. We can create a more sustainable economy for our people and livelihoods.
What makes you a great fit for this job?
IL: I have a background in working in non-profits and a master’s degree in sustainable development and corporate social responsibility. Working in the credit union world kind of combines both of these things. I also have my own small business that I started in 2017, so I understand the needs of our small business community and empathize with what they went through this past year. I grew up here on Kaua’i. I love this place. It’s important to me to create a better future here for everyone, my kids included.
Creating and selling traditional Hawaiian surfboards is just one way Ivory Lloyd’s family keeps it together on Kaua’i.
Who do you report to? Who reports to you?
IL: I report to our CFO and work in a team with our business and community development officers.
What are your areas of responsibility?
IL: My roles and responsibilities vary from day to day but are essentially in the areas of developing, implementing, and managing products and programs to foster economic recovery. This includes content creation, research, growing relationships with key community partners, and working directly within our community to better understand needs and then meet them.
What’s your daily routine?
IL: Every day is different. We have two branches on the island and added a third pop-up branch in response to a major landslide that happened right after I started this position in March. The north end of the island is completely shut off to the rest of the island. There is a convoy that goes in and out three times a day, so I am in Hanalei two days of the week to assist our members on that side of the landslide.
For the most part, I am out and about, meeting with people half of the days and the other half working on forgiveness applications for Paycheck Protection Program loans. It really varies depending on the projects we’re working on. But one thing I will never give up is my end-of-the-day routine, which is to get outside with my family and watch the sunset at the beach.
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How do you track success in your job?
IL: I look at the number of people we touch in the community that either become members or gain recognition of who we are and the number of our own members who are getting the support they need during this pandemic. We’ve had more than 1,000 applicants to our rental relief program, and our KGEFCU team is constantly showing up in our community and getting the word out there.
How do you stay current with topics that fall under your role?
IL: I follow all the things that Filene does. I jump right in any event or webinar it’s hosting. I also attend SBA and USDA webinars. Really, I’m signed up for anything related to small business or food and agriculture. I’m currently reading The Unbanking of America. But most days, if I’m being honest, I’m reading Pete the Cat books and listening to Greeking Out with my kids on my downtime.
This interview has been edited and condensed.