Credit union museum provides females leaders a long past due spotlight | Credit Union Journal

MANCHESTER, N.H. — America’s Credit Union Museum is sealing the traditions of 20 female credit leaders icons who have actually promoted the motion throughout their longstanding professions, and numerous honorees were on website at the Manchester, New Hampshire, museum to witness the exhibition’s unveiling.

The museum, which opened in 2002 is housed in the very same structure that was as soon as house to St. Mary’s Cooperative Credit Association — which through the support of Canadian cooperative credit union leader Alphonse Desjardins ended up being the very first cooperative credit union established in the U.S. But in the museum’s 20-year history, stories of females leaders had actually been mainly missing from its displays and screens, stated Stephanie Smith, executive director of the museum.

“Right from the beginning, that was an entire part of the credit union movement that we didn’t have included in the museum,” Smith stated. “The exhibits have changed over the years, but we really had never done anything like this before.”

While at the 2022 Credit Union National Association’s Governmental Affairs Conference kept in Washington, D.C., this February, Smith started putting out calls to action and welcoming elections for the hall of popularity’s inaugural class. Twenty were selected out of 130 overall proposed prospects, with some posthumous figures acknowledged too.

The “Credit Union Women Making History … HERSTORY” show formally opened on Thursday, including an interactive screen of plaques with bios explaining a part of each honoree’s profession and accomplishments

“This is a great moment to honor these women, but so many of them said their work isn’t done and they have more work to do,” Smith stated. “That’s exactly how the museum feels [as] this is a great moment, and we want to pause and celebrate it, but it’s just the beginning of what we want to do with this exhibit.”

Many cooperative credit union are advancing the motion for variety and addition by producing suites of varied leaders and labor forces and listening to brand-new generations of cooperative credit union executives.

Lily Newfarmer, president and president of the $121 million-asset Tarrant County’s Credit Union in Fort Worth, Texas, was honored in part for her operate in developing the Credit Union Women’s Leadership Alliance in December 2020. The company uses an online forum for sharing finest practices and policies, along with other resources, specifically for females CEOs who run organizations with possessions of $300 million or less. 

“We just found it critically important to provide a platform and a voice for these women from smaller credit unions because, guess what, smaller credit unions are critical to the ecosystem of the credit union movement [and] our industry,” with many being led by females, Newfarmer stated.

Newfarmer provided unique thanks to her 2 kids Ashley and Cameron — both of whom operate in the cooperative credit union market — and revealed pride in their option of work.

“For a long time, I felt a lot of guilt about them not having as much ‘mommy time’ because I was out doing all this other stuff, so the fact that they are in our movement makes me extremely proud,” Newfarmer stated.

Other conscripts consisted of those operating at regulative companies, nationwide trade companies, state cooperative credit union leagues and consultancy companies.

Susan Mitchell, president and CEO of the consultancy company Mitchell, Stankovic & Associates in Boulder City, Nevada, mentioned about the long lasting effect the work of she and her fellow honorees have actually carried out throughout their professions.

“I look at our grandchildren, and I think about their futures and the legacy that we leave them. … I know that that means we have to use our voices, that we have to be strong, we have to be the trees that these Maple Leaf [awards] come from, we have to have strong roots and we have to stand up,” Mitchell stated. “We have to build the systems that will ensure the next generation, and really all generations, have access to financial democracy.”

The complete list of living honorees consists of Sarah Canepa Bang, Diana Dykstra, Roshara Holub, Gigi Hyland, Lucy Ito, Lois Kitsch, Harriet May, Maria Martinez, Susan Mitchell, Lily Newfarmer, Renee Sattiewhite, Carol Schillios and Denise Wymore. Posthumous conscripts consist of Agnes Gartland, Elizabeth “Sis” Hamilton, Louise Herring, Dora Maxwell, Angela Melville, Rose Nevener and Miriam Rivera Lieb Vellek.

“America’s Credit Union Museum is all about capturing the stories of credit unions and the difference that they make in people’s lives. … But it’s also about capturing the stories of the people that are the difference makers and changemakers,” stated Nathan Saller, chair of the museum board and CEO of the regional $576 million-asset Bellwether Community Credit Union.


A news media journalist always on the go, I've been published in major publications including VICE, The Atlantic, and TIME.

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