Maurice Smith retired in January as CEO at $3.5 billion asset Local Government Federal Credit Union in Raleigh, N.C. A month later, Smith received the Greg Inman Servant Leadership Award at the 2023 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) in Washington, D.C.
"Being called a servant leader is one of the highest compliments one can have," Smith says. "A leader is not successful unless the individuals who follow them and rely on them for guidance are also successful. So, when we think about servant leadership, it really begins with, 'How do I help somebody else?'"
The award, presented by Leigh Brady, chief operations officer at State Employees’ Credit Union and CUNA Councils Executive Committee chair, “honors and values the principles of servant leadership” and “recognizes those who live the core value of service to others before self.”
"It's hard to imagine a more deserving person in the credit union movement to receive the Greg Inman Servant Leadership Award than Maurice Smith," CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle says. "Maurice has lived the concept of servant leadership for his nearly four decades of credit union movement experience."
"He spends time with everyone," Local Government Federal President Mark Cavalry adds. "It's cliché to say there's an open-door policy, but with Maurice, in the 25 years I've been with the credit union, his door has always been open."
CUNA Councils created the award the Servant Leadership Award this year to pay tribute to former Neighbors Federal Credit Union Chief Operations Officer Greg Inman, who died in 2021 due to COVID-19 complications.
"You wanted to go where Greg led," Neighbors Federal Senior Vice President of Member Experience Brandi Cummins says. "He led with excellence and he made you want to be a leader just like him."
"We've always lived by the mindset that if we treat our team well, then they'll treat our members well," Neighbors Federal CEO Steve Webb adds. "That's the definition of servant leadership: making sure you take care of your team. Greg embodied that every day."
Along with his work at Neighbors Federal, Inman chaired the CUNA Councils Executive Committee and the Operations and Member Experience Council Executive Committee. He also served on CUNA’s Advocacy Committee, leaving an impression across the credit union movement.
"Greg lived a consequential and impactful life," Smith says. "I'd like to believe that there are millions of households and members nationwide who are living better lives because of the contributions Greg made to the credit union movement."
The Greg Inman Servant Leadership Award recognizes credit union leaders who demonstrate the principles of servant leadership that Inman exhibited, including:
"Greg's passing left a hole in CUNA Councils, his credit union, his community, and his family," Smith says. "But what lives on is his legacy, the example he set for all of us. That's what we carry forward in our lives and that's how we keep his legacy alive."
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