Shalonda Dawkins doesn’t forget where she came from.
“I’ve worked for some wonderful leaders who allowed me to network in the industry,” says Dawkins, senior vice president/chief operations officer at $95 million asset United Community Credit Union in Houston. “That has really helped to launch my career.”
Today, the former vice president of marketing oversees the retail operations and support divisions at United Community, but she still makes time to mentor emerging marketing professionals.
Toward that end, Dawkins volunteers as both an advisory board member for CUNA’s Marketing & Business Development Council and as an executive board member with the Cornerstone Credit Union League’s Marketing & Business Development Council.
She’s also the co-author of a new marketing guidebook, which the Cornerstone League will release this year.
“I admire the way she always steps in to help mentor other credit union marketers,” says Jennifer Crosby, marketing/compliance representative at $89 million asset KBR Heritage Federal Credit Union in Houston. “Shalonda has always served as a connector, introducing credit union marketers to other people in the industry who will help them grow and succeed.”
Crosby notes how Dawkins organized a Houston credit union marketing roundtable in 2016, which attracted marketing teams from nearly 20 area
“We all walked away feeling inspired,” Crosby says. “Shalonda is very well-connected in the local credit union industry. She is always smiling and willing to help anyone who reaches out to her.”
Dawkins, a self-professed “foodie” and “social butterfly,” lives her role as a “super-connector” every day. Most important, she strives to make a difference in the industry she loves.
“Sometimes marketers get a bad rap because people assume marketing is an easy job,” Dawkins says. “I believe marketers can really make a difference in this industry, so I always try to encourage them to step outside of their comfort zone.
“I encourage them to learn asset/liability management and risk management, and to take ownership of the financial side of their credit union so they can be more valuable and more powerful.
“Someone reached down and gave me a hand, and taught me things I never would have been exposed to,” she adds. “I try to help other people in the same way.”