Outstanding Individuals and Credit Unions Take Home 2021 Summit Awards

Last Thursday, the Northwest credit union community capped off a fantastic week at MAXX 2021 with an inspiring evening full of accolades, tears, and plenty of applause.

At the 2021 Summit Awards Dinner and Gala Oct. 7, four outstanding professionals and six Northwest credit unions received much-deserved recognition from their peers for their commitment to leadership, advocacy, cooperation, member service, and community impact.

“The level of collaboration and teamwork among all credit unions over the past year and a half is simply amazing,” said Troy Stang, President and CEO of NWCUA, in the ceremony opening. “I’ve been a credit union member my whole life — I know how powerful the ‘People Helping People’ philosophy is. And the true impact of that these last 18 months has been remarkable.”

Two Northwest credit union leaders earned the evening’s most prestigious title of Summit Icon for their outstanding leadership and fierce dedication to the Movement: Mark Morrison, President and CEO of MountainCrest Credit Union, and Shelli Bardsley, Chief Administrative Officer at Idaho Central Credit Union.

Morrison has been part of the Credit Union Movement since 1978 when he got his first job as a teller. Through the years, he moved up the ranks, serving in roles across numerous departments, and became CEO in 2011. His steady leadership and longtime commitment to the “People Helping People” mission make him a truly iconic leader.

“It’s a fantastic movement that you have… I love this industry,” said Morrison upon accepting his award. “It’s given so much to me, my family, and all the people I’ve worked with over the years.”

After more than four decades of service, Morrison will retire next year. But he says he hopes to find a way to stay involved within the Movement.

“I hope to never get away from the credit union industry because, honest to God, I feel blessed to be part of it.”

Bardsley is closing in on 40 years of service and dedication to the Credit Union Movement — all of which have been spent at Idaho Central Credit Union. Throughout her career, Bardsley worked hard to elevate the credit union’s workplace culture and talent acquisition. It’s thanks, in large part, to her efforts that Idaho Central has earned the title of “Best Place to Work in Idaho” for the last ten years.

Surrounded by family members who surprised her on stage, Bardsley tearfully thanked Kent Oram, Idaho Central President and CEO, for his leadership.

“Kent, you changed my life and you let me lead with my heart. And that’s what matters.”

NWCUA also recognized Jim Morrell, President and CEO of Peninsula Credit Union as the 2021 Summit Advocate. Morrell’s years-long focus on sharing the collective credit union story with elected officials and advocating on behalf of the Movement has helped move the needle on significant credit union priorities.

“This is one of the most important things we do — advocacy,” said Morrell during his acceptance speech. “If we want our members to be served with the financial services many people don’t get in other places… our influence and our stories make the difference, not only with legislators but with the people whose lives we impact.”

Hazelmae Overturf, Sr. Manager of Learning and Development at BECU, was named the Young Credit Union Leader of the Year. In September, members of the Association and BECU team surprised Overturf with the news by inviting her to a “Learning and Development” Zoom meeting, where her credit union colleagues each took a moment to share their appreciation for her leadership, support, and passion for helping others.

“Thank you for allowing my heart to grow in larger forms than I could ever have imagined,” said Overturf. “This is just more fuel to continue doing what I’m doing and, just — thank you. Thank you so much.”

Four Oregon credit unions, Central Willamette, Consolidated Community, Point West, and Trailhead, received the Cooperation in Action award for distributing emergency grants to small businesses amid COVID-19.

Over a two-month period, the four of them worked together to provide nearly $1 million to 398 very small businesses — those with fewer than 25 employees, sole proprietorships, and rural and minority-owned businesses that were left out of federal COVID-19 relief packages. Thirty-five percent of these grants went to minority-owned businesses, and 66 percent were awarded to women.

Clarity Credit Union, based in Idaho, was recognized with the Members on Main Street award for its innovative credit improvement program called Progress in Credit (PIC).

Through the PIC program, members are rewarded for good financial habits by earning lower interest rates on loans they’ve had for at least six months. Every quarter, Clarity checks members’ credit scores, and if they’ve increased by 40 or more points, interest rates on those loans are lowered automatically. This benefit is continuous, so the higher members’ credit scores become, the less they’ll pay in interest. Since implementing PIC, Clarity has helped its members improve their credit and save hundreds of thousands of dollars.

New to this year’s program, the Community Impact award was presented to Rogue Credit Union for helping its community recover from the September 2020 Oregon wildfires.

Immediately after the Almeda fire ripped through Southern Oregon, decimating hundreds of structures and displacing thousands, Rogue set up a wildfire relief fund through its foundation. In just two weeks, it raised more than $1 million. Then, it turned those funds into grants, which were distributed to 24 area organizations providing recovery services and relief.

It was a moving night of storytelling that shined a light on credit unions’ incredible efforts to make a difference for their members and communities over the last 18 months.

“Tonight is not just about handing out awards,” said Jennifer Wagner, NWCUA’s Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy Officer, who served as the Summit Awards co-host. “This is about calling attention to the power credit unions have to significantly improve the lives of millions. It’s about telling the collective credit union impact story.”

Tune in to Anthem over the next few weeks for special spotlight stories on these incredible winners and the impact they’ve made on the industry!

Posted in Awards, Leadership, MAXX Annual Convention.