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For the past few years, the Gary Plank Scholarship has allowed the Foundation to send three young professionals and volunteers, one from each of our three states, to the World Credit Union Conference. This year, the Foundation has also afforded the same opportunity to a Development Educator.
We are so pleased to announce this year’s Gary Plank and DE World Council Scholarship recipients! All four recipients have successfully completed the DE program, demonstrated a deep personal commitment to the credit union cooperative model and to further development within the international credit union system.
From Arizona: Mia Martell
Mia has worked for Pyramid Federal Credit Union since 2010 when she started as an MSR I. Currently a trainer for Pyramid, Mia is charged with creating a stimulating curriculum that engages employees across a wide variety of skill levels and empowering them to maximize every opportunity they have with their members. Mia feels that working for Pyramid has given her the opportunity to participate in community events she otherwise might have missed. She’s participated in awareness walks, community appreciation days, and fund raising for the Children’s Miracle Network, but her most memorable experience is getting to plan and organize an all staff event at her local food bank. The day was filled with team building and emotional success stories, and has resulted in volunteers returning year after year.
“During the past year, Mia began developing our in-house training and recently finished putting together a program for our call center employees. We’ve never had a call center and Mia ensured that all involved employees were ready before we started taking calls. She is now beginning to work on a program for new members and increasing member engagement. She has created and developed our new employee training program which is far better than anything we’ve ever had.” – Ray Lancaster, CEO, Pyramid Federal Credit Union
From Colorado: Christina Morales
Christina has been a Marketing Specialist & Graphic Designer for Space Age Credit Union for nearly 4 years. Christina is responsible for all print and digital graphic design, keeping the website up-to-date, a wide variety of marketing promotions including social media, event planning and promotion and community outreach promotion. Christina was named Employee of the Year in 2014 and has successfully redesigned the credit union’s logo, brand and website. She is constantly paying attention to member feedback and looking for ways to make improvements in processes and promotions that will keep members happy and informed.
Christina has also taken an important role in a variety of community outreach programs including Youth Month and other outreach programs promoting financial education and awareness for young adults.
“Ms. Morales has brought much talent and enthusiasm to our credit union, offering new perspectives to our marketing and community outreach programs!” –John R. Uchida, President, Space Age Credit Union
From Wyoming: Scott Sager
Scott Sager serves as the Chief Financial Officer Trona Valley Credit Union and is responsible for supervising the accounting department, compliance manager and fraud prevention specialist. He also plays a key role in guiding Trona Valley to meet their strategic initiatives and fulfill their mission statement. In addition to his professional role at Trona, Scott is extremely involved in his community. He has volunteered on the steering committee for the MWYCUP to help empower youth towards financial intelligence, volunteered on the Board of a CUSO that provides compliance solutions to financial institutions, and volunteered his time on several committees that worked to broaden the economic base for city residents and offer more community events.
“Truth be told, I don’t believe a designation is what drives Scott. He has a genuine passion for promoting credit unions and has demonstrated his leadership in the credit union and in the community.” –Jeremy Gibson, CEO Trona Valley Community Federal Credit Union
The DE World Council Scholarship Recipient: Kara Kirschner
Kara received her DE designation in 2005 and is currently the Organizational Development Manager for First CU in Arizona. As such, she oversees all training initiatives and program development, assesses educational needs and growth opportunities, participates on strategic planning committees, and supervises the credit union’s mentor program. Throughout her credit union career, Kara has received many acknowledgements for her leadership throughout the industry including the MWCUA Emerging Leader Award, the Standing Ovation Award, and CUNA’s Training Professional of the Year.
Kara is also involved in a variety of volunteer positions. She served as a VITA Volunteer, was an Advisory Board Member and a speaker for CUNA’s Experience Learning Live conference. For the past seven years, she has facilitated sessions for the Chandler Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Institute.
“Kara’s motto is BOOGIE (Be Outstanding Or Get Involved Elsewhere) and she uses that philosophy in everything she takes on. This philosophy encapsulates Kara’s passion for all that she does to serve the credit union and it’s people.” – Jay Curtis, President & CEO, First Credit Union
From myself and everyone at the Foundation, we want to congratulate these recipients and wish them well as they attend this year’s World Credit Union Conference in Ireland!