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Powerful Women: Let's Talk – 72: Lynne Jarman-Johnson

Lynne Jarman Johnson
Lynne Jarman Johnson

Lynne Jarman-Johnson, Chief Marketing Officer for Consumers Credit Union and a national social influencer, is our guest on this episode.

Lynne Jarman-Johnson connects people through communication. She is the Chief Marketing Officer for Consumers Credit Union. She is listed in Forbes Top 50 List of Social Influencers, known for presentations on the national stage focusing on “serving up digital delights.” We welcome Lynne to this edition of Powerful Women: Let's Talk.

Powerful Women: Let’s Talk is created by WGVU NPR and made possible by WGVU NPR sustaining monthly donors. Become a sustaining monthly donor now at wgvu.org/donate to support WGVU NPR’s local programs, including Powerful Women: Let’s Talk.

Full Transcript:


Intro: produced by women about women. Powerful women Let's talk is a series of interviews with women who are trailblazers and have helped shape our world transforming who we are and how we live


Shelly Irwin: Lynne Jarman Johnson connects people through communication. She's the chief marketing officer for consumers. Credit union. She's listed in Forbes top 50 list of social influencers among other influential awards. Lynn is known for presentations on the national stage. Focusing upon serving up digital delights. Plus serving on multiple boards and she says she wins a lot we’ll ask her why. So welcome Lynn to this edition of powerful women. Let's talk hi Lynn

Jarmin Johnson: Thanks, Shelley. Thanks for having me

Shelly Irwin: got a look at my notes, you won a boat two cars two furs, jewelry and a DJ package is this a testament to if you don't enter, you don't win.

Jarmin Johnson: It is. And you know, I like to think karma, think good thoughts all the time. When you buy that raffle ticket. All of these were through charitable donations, you know, where you buy the raffle. It goes to great charity. And for some reason I my ticket gets pulled a lot.

Shelly Irwin: next time you come in wear that fur, how about that? Congratulations on. Obviously, your success. That's what this is all about. But I want to know how you got there and were you that little 3rd grader that made connections with your friends.

Jarmin Johnson: You know, I still have all those connections and our elementary group is very strong from South elementary in Grandville, Michigan and all the way through junior high, high school and we still get together. I think that part of life is enjoying the people that you enjoy meeting them connecting with them and then staying in touch in and it takes a lot of organization and planning. But when you get to be with those that you love on a day-to-day basis. Whether that be through work because family is work too the better off every day becomes

Shelly Irwin: so, describe your personality. I'm getting a hint of it.

Jarmin Johnson: I think I am really loud that. I know it's very joyful. I'm a joyous person. It's funny. You know, with the pandemic. It's the first time in my life there's been than anxious moments where you feel a little out of sorts. My personality has never been that way. So, it's been very interesting to self-reflect to dig deep. Stay with those friends. You know, like you Shelly know the people that support you, and just continue to hopefully bring joy to others,

Shelly Irwin: but is loud. Does that mean you're a trumpet that just wants to get the word out that joyful is a good thing or

Jarmin Johnson: I think it can be. I mean, I think as a leader what is the most important thing is learning what your strengths are playing to those strengths. But then thinking to yourself it's time to listen and sometimes an orchestra leader, you know, needs the loudness of being able to conduct. But an orchestra leader also needs that quiet moment of thinking what comes next. And when everybody works together. I love I love to get everybody on a train. And I love to have my team reflect not only the values that are so important. But the joy of doing great work. I'm not who I could be as a chief marketing officer without the best people around me and that means in work and in life. And I am very blessed to have a team that that is just built up to want to win in a great way. But with the most important focus being service serve in leadership to others.

Shelly Irwin: How did you get to where you are right now.

Jarmin Johnson: I started where you are.

Shelly Irwin: ohhhh behind the mike

Jarmin Johnson: isn’t that fun? I actually was in Michigan State University. And I was in line to go to start my Tele communication career. That's what I wanted to do. I always saw myself in television. I thought it way back when I've got notes on it, you know, when I was in high school and junior high. And then I had a tap on my shoulder from a professor who happened to be the dean of the College of communication, arts and Sciences and a name. His name was Doctor Ralph and he said I want you out of that line and into the line for communication. And I looked him. He goes, you'll always be able to learn the technology. But what you really need to learn is the heart, how to public speak, how to write how to perform. And so that really started my journey. That got me to have boldness. And what I do, ask for things. So, I started as an intern at wood TV stay there for many years in that only an executive producing for the news. But then also became public affairs director which led me to meeting so many amazing boards of directors and executive leaders in our community that do just unbelievable work here. And so, I started my own business kaboom and had a tap on my shoulder about 10 years ago from consumers, credit union saying, you know, we'd love to talk about working together and it hit. It's just been the most wonderful ride for me.

Shelly Irwin: So, beware the tap on the shoulder in a good way I want to get balance into our conversation because the fine print does you have a loving relationship with the husband. I think he is from high school and 6 kids

Jarmin Johnson: kindergarten Shelley

Shelly Irwin: kindergarten

Jarmin Johnson: isn’t that funny, haha.

Shelly Irwin: It's working

Jarmin Johnson; and it you know what, we have raised 6 extremely independent, beautiful children that are now living in 4 different states. We have 2 grand kids with a 3rd on the way right now. And I can tell you that the most important thing on balance was that we did it together and that that clients of mine who knew that we were raising the 6 children, some of them who are now my best friends knew I had 6 kids. And you know something. If the phone rang, you know, ron and I would be there for them. We wouldn't miss hockey. We wouldn't miss plays. Choir all the things that helped build them into rounded people that are just delightful to be with. And I think what I'm most proud of is every one of them has such a unique individual personality with different beliefs and yet we love, and we love big

Shelly Irwin: isn't one a police officer.

Jarmin Johnson: Yeah, Kelsey is a police officer here in Wyoming. She's a canine police officer in just a tremendous talent.

Shelly Irwin: Do you need to recharge. Where do you go to continue your energy and or your zest for life? That's obvious.

Jarmin Johnson: I think for me. It has to be seeing outdoors. I'm not even going to say being outdoors as much right now. Just because everything is happening. And for a while we were stuck inside, you know, but everybody said, oh, go outside. It's being able to see the sky and water to feel, you know, if you go to a park like millennium Park and you walk through a pathway just listening and stopping to hear that just recharges me in a heartbeat and in the same can be true for just looking out a window and stopping for a moment. You know, it was funny. We were on vacation.

Shelly Irwin: so, you take vacations.

Jarmin Johnson: I take vacations

Shelly Irwin: ohh Sorry,

Jarmin Johnson: vacations are like, yeah, you got to go. We were on vacation and all of a sudden, the room had been dark. And then it turned gold. And what can you do in that moment. You know, you can stay doing what it is that you're focused. but for me it was an immediate I needed to see what at turn this world gold. And it was the most beautiful sunset I'd ever seen. And if you if you've got your head down or your head in your phone. You miss those things. And that's recharging just like that for me.

Shelly Irwin: You mentioned customer service. Let me bring this down to the wedding cake philosophy that you have.

Jarmin Johnson: This is a fun thingt So, you know, you know what a wedding cake is birthday cake Cupcake, ho-ho. So, in marketing, everybody. And this is true. Everyone is a marketer. Everyone is great and PR people have wonderful creative ideas. What happens a lot of times is all of a sudden if you’re working on a campaign, let's say so. I'm blessed enough to help people with financial education, everyday consumers, credit union. And so, let's say we're working on a campaign to help somebody get into their new House. Well, if all of a sudden you do you know, you see like a t-shirt and there's a 1000 little logos on the back of a t-shirt. But then you have the Big One. Okay. That's a wedding cake. A wedding cake is everybody's going to know about it internally externally, this marketing piece that we're going to do is a wedding cake now. Then you might have birthday cakes. So, birthday cake might not get every single tool that you have in your arsenal, but they're really important. Cupcakes are just great tasty bites. It might be a lot of social media. And then there's the ho-ho which to me is that sweetest haha and that might just be one little Facebook page post that blows up for a tiktok video that you do. It might not be part of a big campaign. So, when you say to somebody they say, hey, man, I really want this as a wedding cake. What you've done is you've taught everybody to be on the same page with what something will become when it becomes a campaign for your organization. It just as communication at its best because it helps people really understand. I'm going to get all our I really like this part of what I'm going to get, or they can then say to you, but can I get a wedding cake. And you might serve that up.

Shelly Irwin: didn’t know they still had Ho hos. But that's okay I’ll put them on the list, Speaking of weddings, kindergarten with that man of yours.

Jarmin Johnson: kindergarten Yeah, we did. We went we went through, you know, all the way through Granville high school. He went to central for a year and I went to Michigan State right off the bat then he came to state. And I think that's what really helped us was all of our friends connected and still have. You know, when we meet new friends and work. It's just a really neat way to know that you're comfortable with each other and you're comfortable sharing, you know, the friendships and the colleagues that you have. But I can tell you that family really is it. You know, I mean he comes from a very big family. That is very important to us. And on my side the same. So, for us, it was always a joy. You know, I can see my sister-in-law when I was a safety in 5th grade, and she was in second grade, and she skipped across that. The road yelling you like Robbie Johnson, haha. And there's my sister-in-law who I'm best friends with today.

Shelly Irwin: Do your kids know about this?

Jarmin Johnson: oh yeah Kelsey is married to her high school sweetheart so that they all have wonderful. We absolutely love every person that is in their lives, and we've got engagements We've got you know, a new baby coming, and life just gets bigger and bolder.

Shelly Irwin: Yes, but yet look at the power you have in our community. How about that children's book that you've written?

Jarmin Johnson: okay This is the first time I really talking about it, Shelley because I signed The, you know,

Shelly Irwin: it's breaking news.

Jarmin Johnson: I did sign the agreement with the publisher. And when my granddaughter was born 6 years ago, I was in the parking lot and wrote the first line, the title and the first 2 stanzas of the book and it's called Our dearest sweet pea What will you be? And then when our second was born, our second grandchild. I dusted it off and said, you know, this is just this is something I really like it. And so kept writing it covid hit. And I went, yeah, we're going to finish this and we're going to dedicate it to all the grandkids to be. My daughter is a graphic illustrator. She's an Unbelievable talent. She graduated from Savannah College of art design. So, she'll be the illustrator on it. And it will come out the end of the year.

Shelly Irwin: Again, using family to family to further. One more fun fact. You are public speaking you are awesome. But there's a story in Australia. You want to share.

Jarmin Johnson: I was invited to the American Bankers Association as a keynote speaker. So first off, you know, Australia, you're like so excited. And it was spectacular, and I had had written this presentation all about serving up digital delights. But really what it comes down to is that we live in a digital world. But unless we connect, we are not, you know, we're not doing ourselves any service. You know, we have to be in person with individuals. We have to be able to serve someone the way that they would like to be served. That's what I love to really focus on, communication and marketing. So, I have this porcupine that I created. And he's so cute. And I'll say why the porcupine and all of a sudden, I find out that who am I speaking in between. I'm speaking in between the vice president of marketing for Facebook and then the one of the top meteorologists for the Weather Channel and here's Lynn from Grand Rapids, Michigan. You know,

Shelly Irwin: I bet you that the biggest round of applause.

Jarmin Johnson: You know, it was so awesome and at one point I show them where Michigan was, and I explained that we had as many beaches as they did it really was a wonderful time. It was a great presentation. But what it really did show to me is that take those risks. You know, be afraid. Be okay to stand up between others that you might think have a bigger brand. That doesn't matter. It's you. What do you want to do and what is your challenge that you want to take? And I really was so overjoyed that that I did it that I said, yeah, I'm going to do it and I wasn't afraid. And at the end, I said that my daughter who was with me. Whatever you do ask a question. I said if there's no questions like cricket. You know, people just sit. And so, I finish, and I said, is there any questions we have time for a few questions. Dead silence. And so, I'm waiting like c’mon Emily c’mon and a man stands up and raises his hand. And I said I said yes, Sir, I can help you with and he goes, can you stay here. And that was it. I I like literally cried to myself inside and thought, OK, that's a success. And again, it just proved that you could do anything you really can do anything.

Shelly Irwin: Back to your secret to success is the community service. How do you choose some? No need to name. But the board you're on and how does a young Lynn Jarmin Johnson choose her first board.

Jarmin Johnson: Well, the very first board that I was on oh, my gosh. That's a really good question, Shelley. I think the very first board of directors that I was on I served on a lot of different committees. But I was invited to be on the Urban League, which is now the Urban League of West Michigan board. And the reason for that service is because, you know, you often you often stay in your Lane. You know what I mean. You stay in your Lane and people put you in lanes. But if you're not knowing what truly is happening in our community with health, with education, with making sure that there's housing initiatives to help everybody and you don't learn about what is truly happening on the street level. You can't make change you can. You can throw money at things, right. But the time that of listening, the time of saying, well, what if we connected this person with this person or this group over here with this group over here has been to me the why I will join a board. I like to say that especially with consumers were a foot on the ground giver, so we won't write a check and walk away. We will volunteer in those organizations. We were we're very, very proud to support Michigan special Olympics this year. This is an incredible event location that they have created right here in Michigan. That will be the largest in the world. The largest in the world. We're going to have regional and world special Olympics events. And trainings right here in West Michigan. And so, OK, let's write a check. You can do that, right. But it was well, where's the volunteers coming from, you know, so we actually had our very first event, which was of bowling state tournament that we did, and we had about 25 volunteers from consumers. That's making a difference. It's impacting not only where you decide to place your time. But also, then what you can do as far as bringing others along with you and then Shelley. I you can't say yes to everything. You know, you really do have to sometimes back up and say am I valuable or am I just shaking my head. And now becoming overwhelmed. And so still learning to say no. Truly becomes the best gift that that I learned at a younger age

Shelly Irwin: what's still left to do.

Jarmin Johnson: Well, you know, no question. My family is something that I cherish. I am. I was very blessed to have my mom live with us for 20 years. She passed away from Alzheimer’s It's important, I think for me to constantly think, you know, it just because you're aging, you're not done. And I think I it's funny because now people all of a sudden start are starting to say I'm getting up to the age of where, you know, I can retire. It will be a few years but closer than haha farther away. And if people say, are you gonna retire? retire and I'd like, you know, I have passion for what I do. I love getting up every morning and helping others. And I love seeing my team grow and do amazing work and see. And when I say my team, it's not marketing. I'm talking about it is the entire organization that we have at consumers that tries to make a difference in individual lives. That for me will continue to be a passion and then and I honestly look at I'm going to have 3 grand kids. You know, darn well, you know, Grandma Jays going to be there. I am gonna continue. I mean, kids are probably going Hey, what about us? You had your time kids. It's Grandmas time

Shelly Irwin: but the first one to the board meeting. What book podcast or motto do you share with your daughter's,

Jarmin Johnson: OK, so this is going to sound funny. But do you know Fredrik Backman. He wrote a man called old. He wrote anxious people. A novel You know, they're novel about people that are based on reality that I know of anyway. But they're all based on people who you begin to love the character and you start to really oh, come on. You're cheering for this character to win. And yet it's a character who might be a grumpy old man, you know, and what I like to say to my daughters is don’t take a book by its cover. You don't know what a person is going through as a female as a beautiful woman. Right now, they're all beautiful, young women, every person that you touch can make a huge difference in your life and you can make one in theirs. Keep that open mind and stay connected to] learning to love new people that never goes away. Making new friends does not go away and] And that's what these books really showcase is that at any age at any stage, whatever you're going through. There are people that are there to help. But there's also ways that you go wow, that just changed my whole definition of what I thought that person was

Shelly Irwin: name your children's book one more time

Jarmin Jonhson: Our dearest sweet pea, what will you be. And it will come out at the end of the year.

Shelly Irwin: Lynn Jarmin Johnson. Thank you for this conversation on this edition of powerful women. Let's talk.

Jarmin Johnson: Thank you, Shelly.

Shelly Irwin: Thanks to you for watching and listening


Outro: produced by women about women these powerful podcasts focus on powerful women and how their strength transforms who we are and how we live. Want to hear more powerful women. Let's talk get additional interviews at WGVU dot org or wherever you get your podcasts, please rate and subscribe powerful women. Let's talk is produced by WGVU at the Meijer public broadcast Center at Grand Valley State University, the views and opinions expressed in this program do not necessarily reflect those of WGVU. Its underwriters are Grand Valley State University.


Shelley Irwin is the host and producer for The Shelley Irwin Show, a news magazine talk-show format on the local NPR affiliate Monday through Friday. The show, broadcast at 9 a.m., features a wide variety of local and national news makers, plus special features.
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