NWCUA’s Gabel in Spotlight at Herb Wegner Awards

Next week, Denise Gabel, chief operating officer of the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA), will be one of more than 200 Northwest credit union advocates traveling to Washington, D.C., for the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC).

Like her fellow advocates, Gabel will meet with legislators and sit in on briefings. She’ll likely swap stories and ideas with her colleagues from around the country. In short, she’ll be one face in an ambitious crowd—a crowd that has collectively taken on an important endeavor.

“I wouldn’t miss a GAC. It’s the heartbeat of the credit union movement,” Gabel said. “It’s a rush to see how many individuals make their way to D.C. to hear a legislative briefing, knock on the doors of their congressional officials, and compare credit union playbooks to find ways to collaborate.”

In some ways, the GAC is about strength in numbers, about making the collective presence of the entire credit union movement felt on Capitol Hill.

But on Monday night, for just a few hours, Gabel will step out of the crowd and onto the stage, where she will serve as the emcee of the 25th-annual National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) Dinner Presenting the Herb Wegner Memorial Awards.

Gabel will succeed as emcee another familiar name to Northwest credit unions. Bob Schumacher, former CEO of MountainCrest Credit Union in Arlington, Wash., emceed the dinner for the past fifteen years until his retirement in 2012. 

“The Herb Wegner Memorial Awards is like the Academy Awards for credit unions, and Bob’s are certainly very big shoes to fill,” Gabel said. “I’m deeply touched that the NCUF board and staff have selected me. Taking the stage to honor national efforts to drive innovation and recognize extraordinary leadership is an honor.”

Of course, Gabel plans to fill more than just a pair of shoes. But has she found “the dress” yet?

“Oh, yes. I picked up a little something in a dress shop in Galina, Ill. Wegner is a very special evening, and I wouldn’t miss the chance to buy a new dress, and shoes, and earrings, and watch, and ring, and get my hair done,” she quipped.

And while she will be speaking in front of a sea of some of the most esteemed leaders in the credit union movement, the most responsible for any butterflies is the person in the audience she knows best: her husband.

“He’s never heard me speak, and I have not seen him in a tux since we got married—yikes!” she said. “I’m really not nervous—yet. I love the live audience and reacting to and building upon what’s happening in the moment. I think this will make for a much more ‘live’ and enjoyable evening for everyone.”

The Wegner Awards recognize leaders of the national and international credit union movement whose achievements fulfill the mission of promoting financial freedom for millions of consumers around the world. This year’s recipients are:

  • Lifetime Achievement: Rick Craig, retired president and CEO of America First Federal Credit Union in Riverdale, Utah.
  • Individual Achievement: Hubert H. Hoosman Jr., president and CEO of Vantage Credit Union in Bridgeton, Mo.
  • Outstanding Program: Credit Union Miracle Day


Questions? Contact a member of the Association’s Legislative Affairs team:

Jennifer Wagner, Vice President of Legislative Advocacy
Mark Minickiello, Vice President of Legislative Affairs
Pam Leavitt, Policy Advisor

Posted in Awards, Events, NWCUA.