A community engager
Vicki Hoehn's involvement in multiple projects benefits both Royal CU and her community.
Thirty-six years is a lot of time to rack up accomplishments. Even so, Vicki Hoehn’s list boggles the mind.
The vice president of community engagement for Royal Credit Union in Eau Claire, Wis., clearly got straight to work when she started as a part-time teller in 1982. Since then, she has spearheaded, led, or contributed to many of the $2.8 billion asset credit union’s community service projects and initiatives, and has adopted several on her own.
More than a few stand out:
- The Charity Classic run/walk has been raising money for Eau Claire charities for 23 years.
- In the first Community Give Back Day, Royal branches closed on Columbus Day this past year to allow employees to volunteer. All told, staff logged more than 3,400 hours at 60 organizations in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
- She led a board of directors that launched a $45 million campaign to conceive and build the Eau Claire Confluence Arts Center, scheduled to open this year.
- She chaired campaigns for United Way and has served on boards for Rotary Club, the American Heart Association, and the Eau Claire Women’s Network.
Also, Hoehn started a member volunteer program at Royal. The idea took root when a member asked her why Royal didn’t offer a seniors club that rewarded older members for giving their time to community organizations.
Hoehn liked the idea but wanted to recognize all members’ volunteerism. RCU Volunteers launched in 1993 and now has more than 600 active participants. The family of a recently deceased member mentioned the man’s years of participation in his obituary.
“When it’s so meaningful that families mention it in an obituary, that’s when you know you’ve made a difference,” she says.
Hoehn is also particularly fond of the School $ense program, a school-based financial education project she started in one elementary school in 1993. The program has expanded into 28 elementary, middle, and high schools, with students staffing mini-branches. Participating students made $541,785 in deposits during the 2016-2017 school year.
Hoehn takes pride in Royal’s work instilling good savings habits into children so life might be a little easier to navigate as they reach adulthood. “Our school program, that’s probably my baby. That’s the one that puts the biggest smile on my face,” she says. “We have more school sites than we do branches.”
In 2012, Royal leadership formally articulated the credit union’s vision and goals, and Hoehn led the process. “I got to facilitate, and it was so easy because I’ve lived and breathed it,” she says. “Credit unions are just special. We do the right thing, so I hope all of our team members are heroes in our members’ eyes.”