news.cuna.org/articles/122113-a-mothers-lesson
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From left, Jan Page, Lily Newfarmer, and Heather Walter.

A mother’s lesson

Three female credit union leaders explore how their mothers shaped them into the women they are today.

March 1, 2023

Mothers are their children’s first teachers. They share a variety of lessons: how to be kind, how to share, nursery rhymes, and the alphabet. But they also provide guidance and inspiration for their children and make an impact on the adults they become.

Growing up surrounded by “very strong women stock,” Lily Newfarmer, president/CEO at $122 million asset Tarrant County’s Credit Union in Fort Worth, Texas, learned what it took to be a strong woman who could stand up for herself and her beliefs. While she learned this from her grandmothers and sisters, her mother was the shining example.

Her mother was born and raised in Spain and met Newfarmer’s father while he was stationed there with the military. The two fell in love and married, and Newfarmer’s mother—who didn’t speak English and needed to learn—became a stay-at-home mom who wasn’t afraid to stand up for her children.

“She had a fire in her belly,” Newfarmer says. “I watched, and I guess I didn’t have any other choice than to be like her. I’m very proud to have that fire in my belly and stand up for what I feel is not right or inequitable.”

Heather Walter, CEO at $163 million asset Advanz Credit Union in Louisville, Ky., watched as her mother juggled a job, raised a family, and kept the house in order. It taught her time management skills and the importance of being able to “wear many hats,” take on multiple projects simultaneously, and be willing to tackle any task that needed to be completed.

‘I’m very proud to have that fire in my belly and stand up for what I feel is not right or inequitable.’
Lily Newfarmer

“I’m thankful that somewhere between my mother’s generation and my generation the female doesn’t do everything at home as much as they used to,” Walter says. “It’s the sheer juggling.”

Jan Page’s paternal grandmother taught her the value of identifying a goal and putting in the work to achieve it. Her family had a beekeeping business, but her grandmother did the research and put in the work to change the direction from a focus on honey producers to queen bee producers.

“It changed the whole dynamic of our family that now, five generations later, is still happening,” says Page, president/CEO at $193 million asset Community South Credit Union in Chipley, Fla. “She would say she wasn’t stubborn but determined and a force to be reckoned with.”