Northwest Chapters Honored for Excellence in Collaboration

“The credit union movement is all about collective action,” said Denise Gabel, COO of the Northwest Credit Union Association at this year’s Amplify Awards Dinner. “Every milestone, every high benchmark, every great moment in our history came because groups of people collaborated to help others.”

She was introducing the Chapter Excellence Awards, which honor the credit union chapters of the Northwest for putting aside competition to foster collaboration for the greater good of the credit union movement.

“Chapters have always been, and will continue to be, the backbone of the credit union movement,” said Jamie Dedmon, community manager for the NWCUA. 

Chapters were honored in four areas: Leadership, Education, Advocacy and Philosophy in Action. And two chapters, which demonstrated strength in each of these areas, were honored with awards for Overall Best Practices.

Leadership — Southwest Washington Chapter of Credit Unions

The Chapter Excellence Award for Leadership went to the Southwest Washington Chapter of Credit Unions, for embracing everything important to the credit union community. The chapter shows leadership in advocacy, community impact, professional development and personal involvement in the community outside of their credit unions or the chapter.

“The credit union movement stems from cooperation and the basic principle of: together, we’re stronger,” said the Southwest Washington Chapter’s Board. “Resources may be limited at each credit union, but if we lose our ability to collaborate, then we’ve lost our competitive edge.”

The board also encouraged credit union CEOs to invest in the collaborative model of chapters. “It starts at the top,” they said. “Beyond sharing resources, I would encourage leaders to also consider sending tomorrow’s leaders to the chapter meetings. The chapter is a wonderful resource for cultivating leadership skills and expanding professional experiences.”

Education, Advocacy, Philosophy in Action and Overall Best Practices — Spokane Chapter of Credit Unions

The Spokane Chapter of Credit Unions took home four Chapter Excellence Awards, including Education, Advocacy, Philosophy in Action and Overall Best Practices. The Spokane chapter was honored for a number of contributions to the credit union movement and the larger  community, including expert presentations on topics like consumer trends and robbery training, visiting every elected state representative and senator during Credit Union Day at the Capitol and hosting an annual golf tournament that supports both Credit Unions for Kids and CULAF.

“Having a strong chapter means you are able to influence your member credit unions in a positive way,” said Annettee Babb, Spokane Chapter president. “Our membership is very diverse in asset size as well as physical location. Being able to be the bridge that brings these diverse credit unions together and supply them with something worthwhile strengthens the whole credit union system.”

Babb said that chapters grow when members can see what they’re capable of. “When coworkers and meeting attendees see what can be done when credit unions unite for a cause, it’s overwhelming. How can you not want to get involved when you see the difference that can be made when you donate just a little time and energy.”

Overall Best Practices — Willamette Chapter of Credit Unions

The Willamette Chapter of Credit Unions was also honored with an Overall Best Practices Award. The chapter doubled its meeting attendance last summer, engages well with a monthly newsletter, and helped smaller credit unions with costs so they could participate.

“Chapters create social economies of scale,” said Rachel Pross, the Willamette Chapter’s president, “because together we are stronger and more impactful. Chapters allow credit union employees and volunteers to have fun together, share best practices, learn from one another, learn from wonderful speakers on various topics and serve the community with donations and other involvement.”

Pross said the award was validation of much hard work. “We’ve worked incredibly hard this year to increase chapter participation, bring relevant and engaging speakers to our events, spark interest in legislative advocacy, and support our friends and coworkers in their goals to be successful credit union professionals. The Willamette Chapter of Credit Unions is such a great group of people, and seeing the attendance multiply and feeling the enthusiasm in the room at events this year has honestly felt like an award all along.”

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790, 

Posted in Advocacy News, Awards, Events.