After an illustrious and influential career spanning more than 13 years with the National Credit Union Foundation, National Program Director Lois Kitsch will retire May 1.
“Lois is living proof of the power of one,” said Gigi Hyland, Foundation executive director. “Over her distinguished and varied credit union career, she has inspired thousands of credit union people worldwide to use their skills to make the world a better place and give a hand up to those in need. She is exquisitely artful in her ability to facilitate people’s learning about themselves and how the credit union model can improve peoples’ financial lives.
“She is fierce, humble, passionate, funny and an undeniable force for good in a world impatient with helping people achieve their financial aspirations,” Hyland added. “We are so thankful for all she has done for the Foundation and to advance the mission of credit unions. We know, without a doubt, she will continue to do amazing work in the movement, and wish her nothing but the best as she embarks on this new adventure.”
“This time is bittersweet for me,” said Kitsch. “I will be forever grateful to the Foundation for allowing me to do the work that I love. I sincerely believe that credit unions are the vehicles for change and I know that what they do empowers millions of people in thousands of communities around the globe to live stronger and happier lives. The Foundation is an integral part of that change and deserves our movement’s support. It has been my privilege to work for credit unions and the Foundation.”
Prior to joining the Foundation, Kitsch spent time working in credit unions, eventually working her way up to serve as CEO of Sarasota Municipal Employees CU in Florida. She then became immersed in international work with the World Council of Credit Unions.
After spending seven years serving as the regional manager for Europe and Asia for World Council, Kitsch then worked as the director of field projects for the Filene Research Institute where she spearheaded the creation of programs aimed at assisting credit unions to better serve low-wage working families.
Kitsch eventually joined the National Credit Union Foundation and spent 13 years continuing her innovative program work and became a champion of experiential learning programs for credit union staff, volunteers and members. Programs such as the Foundation’s Life Simulation and Reality Fairs have helped thousands learn lessons on how to better manage their finances to improve their financial futures.
Perhaps her most well-known work has been with the Foundation’s DE Program, the transformational learning experience that immerses credit union professionals into the principles and philosophy of the movement. Kitsch has been instrumental in building the program into one of the credit union movement’s premier and in-demand training opportunities.
Kitsch has been acknowledged and celebrated for her many accomplishments, including being recognized by the World Council of Credit Unions as an outstanding mentor to other women, being a recipient of a Herb Wegner Award in 2004, and receiving the Athena Leadership Award from the World Council of Credit Union's Global Women’s Leadership Network in 2015.
Kitsch will assist with the first two DE training sessions in 2018, working with Chad Helminak, who has recently been hired by the Foundation as director of credit union development and cooperative values engagement, on a successful leadership transition plan for DE. She will also be leading efforts for the 2018 DE Workshop set for Aug. 14-16.