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AS PASSIONATE AS CAROLE WIGHT is about the credit union movement now, she came very close to never becoming involved with credit unions at all.
“I didn’t want to work with people’s money. I turned down a job offer from Teachers Credit Union seven times before I accepted it,” she recalls.
She was working as assistant director of admissions for the Kansas City Art Institute when she was first approached about the job at what was then Teachers Credit Union. When Wight finally accepted, she served as consultant/interim president for the credit union and helped it merge into Auto Employees/Midwest United Credit Union.
After the merger, Wight became senior vice president and worked in that capacity for (you guessed it) seven years, until she left the credit union to concentrate on raising her family.
After (once again) seven years at home, Wight decided to re-enter the workforce and went back to the credit union as a compliance consultant. During that time, she saw that Holy Rosary Credit Union in Kansas City, Mo., was advertising for a president.
Even though the application deadline already had passed, Wight pursued the job anyway after receiving inspiration during a walk. She took over as president in 2008.
At Holy Rosary, a community development financial institution with $19 million in assets, Wight works to expand educational—as well as product and service offerings—for members, most of whom fall below the poverty line.
In addition, she partners with multiple community organizations, and applies grants to further support the needs of members and the community.
“Being president of Holy Rosary isn’t a job for her. It’s a way of life,” says her daughter Jena Wight, a summer intern in marketing at the credit union. “She lives the credit union philosophy and inspires others to do the same.”
Wight now puts to good use her background in sociology, which she says, “is all about using organizations and people to create a better whole.” The goal is to assist Holy Rosary members—most of whom are low income—by offering them financial education, service in four languages, and access to credit, loans, and products and services they’ve never had before.
“My job allows me to live out my religious philosophy of helping those who need help,” she says. “The work is hard, but I believe this is where I’m supposed to be.”
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