WCMS Graduates 89; STCU’s Gannon Wins Clark Award

“I was astounded,” said Marci Gannon when she learned she’d won a high honor from her classmates.

Eighty-nine credit union professionals returned to their jobs this week prepared to meet their destinies as higher-level leaders in the movement, after graduating from the 54th session of the Western CUNA Management School (WCMS).

The WCMS offers an intense program for managers and upper-level operational staff with a focus on strategic planning, operations, finance, marketing, lending, human resources, technology, business development, economics, business law and more. Courses are held for two weeks each summer, over a three-year period. The setting is on the campus of Pomona College in Claremont, California.

While the curriculum presents challenges to all students who are balancing class work, careers and often families, the bonds they develop with their classmates and the learning they experience are considered to be positively career- and life-changing.

A Northwest graduate won a particularly high honor at the graduation ceremony held on July 24. Marci Gannon, a project manager for STCU, received the Charles M. Clark Memorial Award for being the senior student who best represents high moral character, leadership, credit union dedication and academic achievement. Gannon was nominated by her classmates. In an interview with Anthem, she reflected on the honor.

This is My Fairytale Ending

“I was the Mu Class VP for two years and President for one, but never did I anticipate receiving this award,” said Gannon. “I look to honor tradition and experience and carry what I learned at WCMS forward in every aspect of my life. We are a movement and while I will hold the Clark award close to my heart, it is icing on the cake to what I truly was able to experience at WCMS. WCMS is about networking, people, relationships, collaboration and teamwork, family, head and heart, princesses and frogs, and winning the Clark award is truly my fairy tale ending.”

Applying the Learning

“WCMS will help me tremendously in multiple aspects of my career,” Gannon noted. “I manage project managers. I get the pleasure of changing things, multiple things, throughout our credit union, things that impact staff and members. I get to put my hands on most any endeavor — strategic and cross functional — that needs the confines of a project for full implementation into the production of the credit union. WCMS will help me to make more sense of project content and make sound decisions during every phase of a project.”

On a Personal Note

It takes commitment from the student and the credit union to endure the time away, the project work, the studying and the workload that such high-level training brings. For Gannon, it was a worthy experience not just professionally, but personally as well.

WCMS, she says, rejuvenated her spirit and made her think differently about “people, relationships, collaboration and teamwork, all essential components to a successful team. It reminded me of the importance of changing the way people think, listen, view or write about the world, and on a smaller scale, our credit union. WCMS is a remarkable place to hold credit union representation. I was proud to signify my credit union within such an elite grouping of students and credit unions, all of which I’ll draw from continually to better my career at STCU and continue my personal and professional growth.”

In a time-honored tradition of “giving back” to WCMS, the graduating class presented WCMS President Jim Likens with fundraising checks totaling $101,796 — the largest class gift in the school’s storied history.

Editor’s note: More on the graduating class in next week’s Anthem.

Questions about this story? Contact Lynn Heider: 503.350.2225, lheider@nwcua.org.

Posted in Awards, Events.