Individual and organizational credit union marketing and business development leaders were honored for their achievements during a ceremony at the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Conference, March 11-14, in San Francisco.
Rich Jones, president/principal, Leading2Leadership LLC, Tucson, Ariz., was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Jones brought a greater overall marketing discipline to Elements Financial FCU, Indianapolis, overseeing a name change, overall rebranding effort and revolutionized their marketing strategy from a primarily “print, paper and postage” tactic to a digitally focused strategy. Though he no longer works with Elements Financial FCU, he still impacts the credit union industry by serving as an industry expert and instructor at the CUNA Management School and through his consultancy.
Christian Albouras, business development specialist, Summit CU, Madison, Wis., was presented with the Business Development Professional of the Year Award. Albouras manages one of Summit CU’s most visible and community facing initiatives, the CUatWork program, a financial wellness program facilitating consumer education and behavioral change to help employees lead more financially successful, happy lives. Albouras has also supported Wisconsin’s credit unions with league advocacy efforts and external volunteer leadership work.
Deidre Davis, chief marketing officer, Michigan State University FCU, East Lansing, Mich., was presented with the Marketing Professional of the Year Award. Through her work, Davis brings awareness of MSUFCU products and services while simultaneously giving back to the community. In particular, the Get A Home, Give A Home promotion brought a partnership with the local Humane Society to pay the cat or dog adoption fee for members who opened a mortgage with MSUFCU. By the end of the promotion, MSUFCU received over $17 million of new mortgage balances and nine cats or dogs were adopted.
Chelsea Oliver, marketing specialist, Corry FCU, Corry, Pa., was presented with the Rising Star Award. This award recognizes rising professionals with two years or less of experience in the credit union industry. Oliver started in a part-time marketing position and has made herself indispensable, paving her way as the first full-time marketing specialist at her credit union. She is responsible for projects such as a credit union rebrand, the launch of a new website and a redesign of marketing materials. She is deeply engaged with CUNA, attending the CUNA Marketing & Business Development School for the last two years with plans to return this year to earn her Credit Union Certified Marketing Executive designation.
Fred Brown, director of marketing and member development, Northeast Family FCU, Manchester, Conn., was presented with the Volunteer of the Year Award. As a member-led organization, the council relies on volunteers, and this award recognizes those contributions to the council. Brown has offered ideas to the council and been a valuable contributor to council conversations. An an organ donation advocate and living donor of a kidney to a stranger in need, Brown embodies the volunteer spirit and the people-helping-people philosophy.
Jenna Taubel, digital marketing specialist, First Alliance CU, Rochester, Minn., was presented with the Top Community Contributor Award. This award recognizes value and expertise shared with peers through collaboration within the Councils Community member networking platform. Taubel has been an indispensable contributor--asking questions, answering posts, sharing files, and providing a generous and cheerful presence for community members.
The Excellence Awards recognize outstanding new marketing and business development approaches with potential for universal application across the industry. A panel of judges selected winners based on strategy, process, application, and results. Representatives from winning credit unions were present at the conference to accept their awards. This year’s winners are (by category):