FROM A TEDDY BEAR DRIVE for tornado victims to revamping NRL Federal Credit Union’s (NRLFCU) processes, Stephanie Ludington gives it her all.
Driving to work one day in May 2013, Ludington, NRLFCU’s director of human resources and training, heard a radio report recounting the chilling details about deadly tornadoes that ravaged central Oklahoma.
Shortly afterward, she got in touch with Washington FAMILY Magazine, which was sponsoring a teddy bear drive in the area. At Ludington’s urging, NRLFCU joined the drive to benefit children whose families lost their homes in the tornadoes.
Although the disaster occurred hundreds of miles away, her sense of community stretched at least that far. NRLFCU shipped more than 120 stuffed animals.
“Community is important to me,” says Ludington. “At credit unions, our goal is to help the community.”
Outside and inside the credit union, Ludington is helping in ways that build success.
Working with the Maryland & District of Columbia Credit Union Association, she helped create a plan for a young professionals network, which formed this year. The training that accompanies the network will strengthen area credit unions, she says.
“We want the people who take leadership roles to have the important skills they require,” she says. “I really see value in networking for talent acquisition and retention, and for building strategic thinkers for tomorrow.”
Ludington also views networking and education as a way to retain gifted employees. “We sometimes lose talented team members to other financial institutions,” she says. “I want them to stay in the credit union industry, where they can help their communities.”
She also worked with a team, revamping new-membership account processing, cutting the number of steps in half. The team conducted extensive research and interviews, ultimately saving hundreds of hours of staff time.
She also served on a four-person team that created, developed, and implemented an e-commerce branch. Her studies at CUNA Management School—where she was class president her first year—provided key contacts who shared their experiences setting up e-commerce branches.
“I called people from all over the country, and I can attest that credit unions go out of their way to help other credit unions,” she says. The e-commerce solution went online early in 2014, and has been a success.
Linda S. Steger, NRLFCU’s vice president for human resources, says Ludington’s work has enabled the credit union to focus even more staff resources on providing excellent member service.
“She has demonstrated an ardent commitment to the credit union movement,” says Steger. “Stephanie is an excellent role model for credit union employees and management—raising the bar for continuous learning, charitable work, and professional achievement.”