What a Week at Maps Credit Union! Nowacki Will Lead Connecticut Credit Union League; Brenneman Named 2013 CUES Next Top Exec

Jill Nowacki says a commitment to community outreach and education “makes me confident I would be a good cultural fit with Connecticut’s credit unions.”

It’s been quite a week at Maps Credit Union!

Jill Nowacki, Maps’ vice president of development and the NWCUA’s 2013 Young Credit Union Professional of the Year, was named president and CEO of the Credit Union League of Connecticut on Tuesday.

A day later, Business Development Officer Amanda Brenneman was named the 2013 CUES Next Top Credit Union Exec during ceremonies in San Diego.

“We have some amazing talent here at Maps Credit Union,” says President and CEO Mark Zook, “and the news this week has simply shown that the rest of the industry recognizes that, too.”

Nowacki’s appointment by the board of directors was announced Tuesday afternoon on the Connecticut league’s website and in a note to Maps staff from Zook. She will begin her new role Dec. 9.

Brenneman was honored for her role in developing Maps’ Buy Local program, which includes a mobile app that connects Maps members to freebies and discounts at locally owned businesses. The project was chosen from a group of international applicants who had been named finalists in September.

“The announcement of Jill’s new position was a sad day for Maps, but it is an incredible opportunity for her,” Zook says. “I am happy to see Jill move into such a prominent role in the credit union industry. In her five years with us, she has changed the landscape of marketing, development, HR, community development, business development and our philanthropic efforts at Maps—all for the better.”

Zook says the Next Top Exec announcement is a “well-deserved win” for Brenneman. “I look forward to seeing what she learns from that,” he says, “and how she is able to use that to ensure that Maps continues to grow and flourish in our local business community.”

‘It’s all still a little surreal’

Nowacki says her selection process “happened very fast, and it’s all still a little surreal.” Connecticut League staff didn’t even know about the decision until Monday, she says, “but they’re already reaching out and making me feel very welcome.”

Nowacki began her credit union career in communications and marketing at the Montana Credit Union Network. She later worked for CUNA as executive director of the Credit Union House in Washington, D.C., before joining Maps in Salem, where she plays a role in marketing, strategic communications, human resources, community outreach and more.

Nowacki also is the executive director of the Maps Community Foundation, and she sits on the board of the Northwest Credit Union Foundation. She is, says NWCUA President and CEO Troy Stang, “an advocate to the core.”

Nowacki told the Connecticut League that “I love that I get to be part of an organization with a sole purpose that is essentially helping others be successful. That feels like a perfect fit to me.” The League’s commitment to community outreach and education “makes me confident I would be a good cultural fit with Connecticut’s credit unions,” she says.

Michael Hinchey, who chaired the search committee, says the recruitment process “led us to a candidate with high energy, exceptional skills and a passion for supporting credit unions and their members. Under Jill’s leadership, we believe the Connecticut Credit Union League will remain a valuable resource for Connecticut credit unions for many years.”

‘Carrying the torch’

Amanda Brenneman says she’s “thrilled” about the educational opportunities that come with being named the 2013 CUES Next Top Credit Union Exec.

Brenneman and her four fellow finalists “give hope that the future of the credit union movement is in the capable hands of those who will the carry the torch after us,” says Chuck Fagan, president and CEO of the Credit Union Executives Society. (You can watch the announcement here.)

At Maps, Brenneman is responsible for community events, sponsorship opportunities, partnership development and relationship management. She was one of five Top Exec finalists selected by public vote from among 15 entrants who submitted video applications earlier this year.

Since then, her blog and video updates about Maps’ award-winning Buy Local program, including the Nov. 1 release of a mobile app for Android and iOs devices, have provided insights into the project’s progress. During her final presentation this week, she offered suggestions for ways that credit unions of any size could implement similar programs.

A four-part scoring process—including votes from a panel of judges, a measurement of social media engagement, and audience and online voting—decided the winner. As the 2013 CUES Top Credit Union Exec, Brenneman will receive a $20,000 educational prize package that includes registration, accommodations and airfare to any two CUES CEO Institutes—one in 2014 and one in 2015—and two remote coaching sessions from DDJ Myers Ltd.

“I am so thrilled to have won this award,” Brenneman says. “I have learned so much just being in this competition, and I can’t wait to take part in the training that is part of the prize awarded to the Next Top Credit Union Exec. My education has always been a priority for me—I’m beginning my MBA program at Corban University soon—so that was the biggest draw for me in this competition.”


Read more about Jill Nowacki’s new role as president and CEO of the Credit Union League of Connecticut and Amanda Brenneman’s Buy Local program next week in Anthem.

Questions? Contact Gary Stein: 503.350.2216, gstein@nwcua.org.



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