Hazelmae Overturf: The Young Credit Union Leader of the Year
October 26, 2021
It may seem ironic that Hazelmae Overturf is an innovator in the Credit Union Movement – because she has been a part of it for just 12 years. But wow, she’s accomplished so much during that brief time, she was honored as NWCUA’s Young Credit Union Leader of the Year during the MAXX Convention’s Summit Awards Gala earlier this month.
The award recognizes a next-generation professional who demonstrates a commitment to credit union advocacy, community services, and excellence in operations or team building with proven results.
Check all of those boxes for Hazelmae Overturf.
Why She Won
Overturf, Senior Manager of Learning and Development at BECU, is a fierce promoter of diversity, equity, and inclusion. She helped her credit union establish a DEI-focused program called, “BILD,” Belonging, Inclusion, and Leveraging Differences. Amid 2020’s focus on racial justice, Overturf helped BECU leadership with Town Hall Listening sessions, giving her coworkers a safe place to express themselves and share their unique experiences.
It’s clear when you talk with Overturf that her mind is open, that she’s always learning, and that like many great leaders, defined her passion when she became a Credit Union Development Educator in 2019.
“I learned so much about our history and legacy, cooperative principles, and role and responsibility to our communities during that experience,” Overturf told Anthem. “Since then, I have just been enamored with ways of honoring and perpetuating our unique model and so intentionally driving it into the future.”
And there’s nothing holding her back.
Last year, the Cooperative Trust selected Overturf to “crash” the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference and as a result, she has embraced every opportunity to gain experience advocating at the local, regional, and federal levels. She advises other young professionals to “find what lights your fire and the people that will help you keep it lit.”
“There are really no barriers to the entry of our Movement,” Overturf said. “My advice is to participate whole-heartedly and to find the leaders, disruptors, and mentors that have and will continue to guide the way.”
While all financial institutions provide loans and savings accounts, the credit union difference is clear to Overturf.
“Financial well-being is so interconnected in so many facets of people’s lives,” she said. “It isn’t just about offering an auto loan, but the means of how a member shuttles their family. It isn’t just a place to put your savings, but a means to prepare and be ready for an emergency. And whether you know it or not, credit unions have a way of solidifying community relationships and the humanity of its members and employees. When done well, I love that CUs unite people.”
Editor’s note: Log in next week as Anthem continues the “Why They Won” profiles of Summit Award Winners.