Bonnette Dawson

PODCAST: She’s the CEO—and the mayor

Bonnette Dawson didn’t aim for either role, but she’s not a leader by accident.

October 7, 2016

No one can question Bonnette Dawson’s commitment and leadership—or time-management skills.

In the eighth episode of the CUNA News Podcast, the trailblazer from Tennessee explains how she manages to wear the hats of CEO of $228 million asset Old Hickory Credit Union while serving as mayor of her hometown, Greenbrier.

“Some people will say to me, 'How do you do this? Are you the Energizer Bunny?' Not really,” Dawson says. “I love what I do in both the mayor position and CEO, and I think I’ve got strong support in both places. The people who work for me are great, and I think that makes all the difference.”

Dawson says she didn’t intend to become the first woman to hold either of those titles. She took over at Old Hickory when the board of directors dismissed her predecessor, and ran for mayor when the incumbent got ousted after a scandal.

But throughout her 41-year credit union career, Dawson’s desire to make an impact on everything she touches is abundantly evident.

She served on the Tennessee Credit Union League board for nine years, three as chair, and spent three years as a credit union chapter president.

When Old Hickory recently opened a branch in a city in an adjoining county, Dawson soon found herself on the Chamber of Commerce board.

“I just love getting involved,” she says. “I feel like if you’re going to do something, you need to have a real presence—not just sit idly and let days pass you by. I don’t have many of those.”

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