Follow The Green Brick Road: A Conversation with Kimberly Ford
- February 21, 2023
What word or image immediately comes to mind when you think of the color green?
When financial counselor Kimberly Ford asks that question, the answer is usually “money.” And when it comes to money, the members of Keesler Federal Credit Union have a strong advocate in their corner.
Kimberly is a one-woman powerhouse who provides financial counseling for over 300,000 members across four states including the Biloxi, Mississippi location where she is based. (Note that Keesler Federal Credit Union is a partnering organization of GreenPath.)
Kimberly has been with Keesler since 2018 and has extensive experience in accounting and insurance. She also holds a master’s degree in professional school counseling with a concentration in clinical mental health.
In meeting the needs of such a massive member base, one of the tools in Kimberly’s counseling toolbelt is GreenPathGreenPath . Kimberly regularly refers her clients to GreenPath’s counseling services as they navigate paying down their debt, budgeting, and building healthy financial habits.
We recently had the privilege of chatting with Kimberly about Following the Green Brick Road: a concept she introduced to her members as a metaphorical goalpost when it comes to achieving their financial goals. Kimberly’s enthusiasm around empowering others is infectious, and it’s easy to see why her message has resonated with so many.
Kimberly also discussed her own personal relationship to money and how that’s deepened her role both as a financial counselor and as a parent. Check out this excerpt from our conversation:
GreenPath: Thank you so much for making time to chat. We wanted a chance to pick your brain and hear about how The Green Brick Road has been received by your members at Keesler Federal.
Kimberly: It’s been received well. What I’ve learned in this position is you have to get on your member’s level. You have to let them know you empathize with them. Every member is going to be different, but I needed to come up with something to meet people in the middle.
In the “The Wizard of Oz,” when they were traveling the yellow brick road, they were on a mission. To get to the green brick road and what’s at the end? That’s where I come into play… I am showing members how successful they’ll be once they get to the end of that green brick road with GreenPath.
GreenPath: You’ve created a model that people can have in the back of their mind when they think about spending and saving and what that looks like.
Kimberly: Absolutely. When they hear “financial counselor,” they feel like they’re going to the principal’s office. So, you try to make them feel comfortable. And I can speak from personal experience, and that’s why I enjoy what I do. I know struggle and have been through struggle. We don’t get along. I wish that I had known about GreenPath when I was going through my mess. I know what it felt like. I know the torture it put on my mind, my body.
Bad things happen to good people. You can get caught up living for the moment and you haven’t thought about the What Ifs or Tomorrow or Next Month. You’re in this zone with the way you’re living and you’re buying for the Right Now.
GreenPath: And you’re helping over 300,000 clients? You are the sole financial counselor. That’s a lot of responsibility.
Kimberly: When you have walked the walk it makes it easier to talk the talk. I am many people’s cheerleader. I have a different suit for every day of the week. I have a different pom-pom for every day of the week. You have to keep the burn in the yearn…I tell them “I will be your coach. I will hold your hand. We can follow the Green Brick Road together. If you grow tired and you need to take a breath, let’s step on the sidelines.”
And I have to do that because I know how easy it is to give up. When members don’t see that quick result, I have to keep the fire burning.
We were grateful for the chance to speak candidly about money with Kimberly. Her perspective on personal finance is real and relatable during a time when a lot of us are dealing with unknowns.
As she continues to be a cheerleader at Keesler Federal, GreenPath also aims to offer support when and where it’s needed.
“I had a good experience with GreenPath. It was an easy process to get started. They were also flexible and they gave me a plan that I was comfortable with, so it was a good thing.”
Carol | Oklahoma City, OK via ConsumerAffairs.com
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