Northwest Credit Unions and Leaders Honored at Amplify Awards Gala

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Last week the Amplify stage was graced by some of the Northwest’s brightest credit union stars as the NWCUA honored 2014’s Amplify Award winners. During the “Night of Lights” gala dinner that brought this year’s Amplify Convention to its final crescendo, winners of Summit, CUNA, Chapter Excellence, and Advocacy awards were recognized for their unique and impactful contributions to the movement in the Northwest and beyond.

Summit Awards

The Summit Awards are a Northwest tradition honoring credit union professionals who ascend to the highest pinnacles of the movement.

Lifetime Achievement

This year, Northwest credit unions were proud to honor Roger Michaelis, President and CEO of iQ Credit Union, for his four decades of outstanding contributions to the credit union movement. Michaelis has driven innovation and community impact throughout his career, infusing every accomplishment with his unique drive, humor, and joie de vivre. From founding some of the region’s first CUSOs to helping spearhead the Credit Unions for Kids movement, Michaelis’s accomplishments will continue to shape the movement for decades to come.

Michaelis received an outpouring of over 25 nominations from leaders within the Northwest movement. At the Awards Dinner, his daughter Larissa stepped out from backstage to surprise him by presenting his award. Michaelis honored his staff and said with a smile, “I’m only included because I hung on long enough.”

Innovation & Impact

Ynette Gibbs, CEO of Newrizons Federal Credit Union, was honored with this year’s Innovation & Impact Award. Gibbs held executive positions at high-tech companies for 35 years, taught business planning and management at the University of Washington for 15 years, and has 15 years of experience marketing and managing consumer lending programs. But it’s her work for the underserved that is the real headline. With Newrizons she has leveraged CDFI grants to offer “character-based lending” to members, and her Volunteer Tax Assistance Program served 300 working poor families last year, bringing them half a million dollars in tax refunds.

Young Credit Union Professional

Last week’s winner, Victoria King of Rivermark Community Credit Union, was called a superstar by her CEO and a rock star by her supervisor. She completed CUNA Business Lending School, is a regular at Credit Union Day at the Capitol, and volunteers to help kids with cancer, serve meals to the homeless, and raise money for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. She also founded Young Credit Union Professionals, served on the NWCUA’s Future Leaders Task Force, and became a certified Credit Union Development Educator.

After accepting her award on stage Young looked around the room at all the credit union leaders and said, “I’ve been inspired by all of you.”

CUNA Awards

Also presented at the gala were several CUNA Awards for community service and financial education. Winners were automatically entered in the national CUNA Awards program.

Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Awards

Five Northwest credit unions won first place honors in various asset-size categories.

  • $50-$100 Million — Prime Source Credit Union, for championing eight local charities year-round, and especially for their work for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.  
  • $50-$100 Million — Point West Credit Union, for partnering with Multnomah County Early Childhood Services to give 50 low-income, at risk families a beautiful Christmas.
  • $100-$200 Million — Mid Oregon Credit Union, for Pay it Forward, a partnership between the credit union, local media, and CoEnergy Propane to showcase people and organizations doing great things in the community, and helping fund those efforts.
  • $100-$200 Million — United Health Services Credit Union, for Blessings Under the Bridge, which collects meals, clothing, hygiene products and more for homeless and people living off of low incomes.
  • $1 Billion+ — BECU, for its People Helping People Awards, which donates $100,000 to local non-profits actively supported by BECU’s members.

Desjardins Youth and Adult Financial Education Awards

Two credit unions were honored with Adult Financial Education Awards, and four for Youth Financial Education Awards.

  • Adult Financial Education Award — OSU Federal Credit Union, for helping inmates in Oregon correctional institutions turn around their financial lives with an eight-week curriculum.
  • Adult Financial Education Award — BECU, for their ongoing commitment to financial education, including retaining educators on staff, weekly and monthly radio segments, online money management tools, and community events focused on taxes, back to school, and college planning.
  • Youth Financial Education Award — Pacific Crest Federal Credit Union received a first place award for a program that gave two high school students the chance to teach financial responsibility to 122 students across elementary, junior high, and high schools.
  • Youth Financial Education Award — Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union, for their Financially Fit program to teach urban young adults, participants in the Year Up non-profit program, the skills needed to manage their financial lives.
  • Youth Financial Education Award (Second Place Honor) — Gesa Credit Union, for a high school credit union program that provides in-classroom financial education for more than 650 students, and also gives real world career training.
  • Youth Financial Education Award — OSU Federal Credit Union, for investing in the future by working with the local Boys & Girls Club in Corvallis, Oregon to teach financial basics to kids, and for their work with Junior Achievement.

Advocacy Awards

Because advocacy is critical to the election of champions, to policy advancement, and to the enhancement of the credit union charter, these awards recognize excellence in grassroots, legislative, and regulatory activities. “The Northwest grassroots advocacy model is the most well-oiled machine in the credit union movement,” said Gabel from the stage.

Top of the Hill

This award goes to credit unions that have excelled and increased in their participation in the Northwest’s major advocacy programs, for example support of Project Zip Code, hosting fundraisers for champions, and showing up at the capitol. The winners are:

  • BECU
  • Gesa Credit Union
  • Harborstone Credit Union
  • Maps Credit Union
  • Mid Oregon Credit Union
  • North Coast Credit Union
  • OnPoint Community Credit Union
  • TAPCO Credit Union
  • Unitus Community Credit Union
  • USAgencies Credit Union
  • WECU

Advocate of the Year

This award celebrates the top professional from both Oregon and Washington for extraordinary participation and effectiveness in the Credit Union Advocates program, CUNA GAC, Credit Union Day at the Capitol, Call to Action response, political fundraising and campaign volunteerism. The reason there is an award in each state is that with two state houses, four U.S. Senators, and so many Congressional representatives, Northwest credit union advocates have a lot of ground to cover.


Susan Streifel, CEO of Woodstone Credit Union, who serves as vice chair of CUNA’s board, chair of the CUNA GAC, and encouraged credit unions of all asset sizes to weigh in on the proposed RBC rule. “This is not about me, it’s about us,” she said, holding her award on stage.


Mandy Jones, Oregon Community Credit Union’s CEO, who collaborated with other CEOs in her area on a messaging campaign to fight the Oregon Bankers attack, stepped up as the top donor to the Oregon PAC, and has been a consistent supporter of CULAC Month. Jones’s husband Gene surprised her by stepping out from backstage to present the award. “Gene was supposed to be in Denver,” she exclaimed. Looking around the room she said, “What we do is special, making a difference for members.”

Capitol Advocacy

Twenty-six Oregon credit unions and 27 from Washington were honored for always showing up in force for advocacy needs and supporting CULAC.

Chapter Excellence Awards

The credit union movement is all about collective action. These awards recognize chapters for exceptional contributions to the credit union movement across four pillars: leadership, education, advocacy, and philosophy in action, plus an Overall Excellence Award.

  • Leadership — Southwest Washington Chapter
  • Education — Spokane Chapter of Credit Unions
  • Advocacy — Spokane Chapter of Credit Unions
  • Philosophy in Action — Spokane Chapter of Credit Unions
  • Overall Excellence — Willamette Chapter of Credit Unions, Spokane Chapter of Credit Unions

Stay tuned with Anthem as we offer deeper dives and interviews with the Amplify Awards winners in the coming weeks.

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790,

Posted in Advocacy News, Awards, CUNA.