Born and raised in Abilene, Megan Allred attended St. John’s Episcopal School, Lincoln Middle School, and Abilene High School. She left Abilene for college in 2001, but wasn’t sure what she wanted to do for a career so she soon returned to Abilene. In 2011, she was offered a job by the CEO of First Abilene Federal Credit Union at the time. It was a newly-created business development position, allowing her to use leadership and management skills. Over the next few years, she transitioned to chief operations officer, and now serves as the president and CEO of the credit union.
An avid volunteer, she serves on many local nonprofit boards including United Way of Abilene, Legends Dove Hunt benefitting the Hendrick Children’s Hospital, Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health, Abilene Cultural Affairs Council and Abilene Operation Blue Santa. When she’s not working or volunteering, she’s taking care of her adopted 2 and 3-year-old sons along with her husband, Jake Allred, an Abilene police officer.
WHAT IS UNIQUE ABOUT ABILENE?
The partnerships. Everything we do in this town is not one person. It’s people working together for the greater good. Recently the police formed a community response team. Multiple departments and boards invested to do research and then collaborated with the hospitals and fire department and police department. Everybody working together created that. When people move here from a big town, they are often shocked at how Abilene people are approachable and open. Everybody wants everybody to succeed.
WHAT DOES YOUR DAY LOOK LIKE?
I have a 2-year-old and a 3-year-old and they’re wilder than wild. They’re 100 percent little boys. Everyday we get up and I drive in from Hamby, get my iced coffee at Starbucks on the way in, and drop off the boys at daycare. I take all my meetings from 10-2. Then I touch base with staff again at the office and then pick up the boys at 5. We eat, we play – they love to be outside – riding bikes, swimming. Then bath time and to bed. And then I go and do some work at home working on strategic plans and projects. Then when my husband gets home I catch up with him and do it all again.
WHY IS THE ENNEAGRAM IMPORTANT TO YOU?
A few years back, I didn’t think I was communicating wrong, but other people did.I’m an 8 on the Enneagram. Everything we do is taken as abrupt or brash. But it’s not that. We’re just to the point. What might come off as anger, is passion. I’m dedicated to what I do, and I want to help people reach life goals. At the credit union, we help people with buying a car, buying a house. I’m very passionate and protective of what we do. I felt like my passion was being misunderstood as aggression. I started researching the Enneagram. As I took on more leadership roles, I saw my teammates struggling with communication as well. So I shared it with them two years ago. And it helped them too. Now it’s something we engage in with our new leaders.
HOW DO YOU USE THE ENNEAGRAM IN YOUR LEADERSHIP?
You can figure out what is the best technique of coaching or teaching each employee. Look at yourself and adjust accordingly. As a leader, you have to figure out how to change and how to work with each employee. The Enneagram was a tool that allowed me to look at others in a different light.
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS AND HOPES FOR ABILENE?
There’s been all this talk about “Abilene is getting better.” I disagree with that. I think it’s always been good. My great granddad came here to build Camp Barkeley. My uncles and my dad built the buildings downtown and the first zoo where Rose Park is now. We’ve always been ahead of municipalities our size. Yes, there’s new things that are being brought into town. But we’re layering on what has already been done in the past. Abilene is this hub for the Big Country. Our credit union serves 12 counties. We’re a hub for agriculture, entertainment, shopping, and healthcare. I see that continuing to grow. Just seeing how Hendrick Health System is growing. I don’t think we need to wipe out what has been done and start new. I think we can bring in newer and better versions of things. If you embrace everything Abilene has to bring, and you have a mind shift, you will enjoy it.
HOW DID YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND BECOME FOSTER PARENTS?
My husband had gone to a call and he came home at night and told me about it. There was this woman who had just had a baby and she needed help. And he just wanted to tell her that we’d take the baby and help her. So he said he really wanted to foster and this was a sign to do it. So as soon as I finished my certification we got our license and it was fast and furious. Right in the midst of
me getting interim to CEO, we got a call that we were getting a 14-month baby and 4 months later we got a 3-day-old baby. We ended up adopting them in November, 2020 but we’ve had them since 2019.
WHAT IS YOUR ENCOURAGEMENT TO PEOPLE WHEN IT COMES TO FOSTERING?
I am a type-A, Enneagram 8, and that’s how I stay productive and successful in my career. I love to plan out everything. When we started fostering, it was shocking to get a call that I had to get a baby in 45 minutes. I had just taken over as interim CEO. But I did it. God has a plan. You can’t control your life like: this is when I’m going to do this, after I finish this project. At this very crucial point, I got children. And they needed love and consistency and had health problems that had to be taken care of. But it all worked. Fostering is hard. It’s heart-breaking. But I think for every day that is hard we had so many days of love with our boys and with their parents. It is rewarding even if it’s a day or a year or forever. And Abilene has so many resources. There’s a great community for those that foster.
By Haley Laurence