Leagues To Recognize CU Leaders at REACH

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Teresa Freeborn
2017 Leo H. Shapiro Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Teresa Freeborn, President and CEO of Xceed Financial CU.

Six credit union industry leaders and volunteers, as well as the Richard Myles Johnson Foundation, will be honored at this year’s California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues’ REACH 2017 Conference.

The honorees of the Leo H. Shapiro Lifetime Achievement, Distinguished Service, Outstanding Volunteer, Tomorrow’s Star and Kim Bannan Eternal Flame awards will be recognized during the event, to be held Nov. 5-8 at the JW Marriott Desert Springs in Palm Desert, CA.

The 2017 recipients included: Leo H. Shapiro Lifetime Achievement Award: Xceed Financial Credit Union CEO Teresa Freeborn; Distinguished Service Award: retired Mendo Lake Credit Union President and CEO Richard Cooper and Great Basin Federal Credit Union President and CEO Dennis Flannigan; J.  Alvin George Outstanding Volunteer Award: UNCLE Credit Union Board Member Chung Bothwell; Tomorrow’s Star Award: Great Basin Federal Credit Union Commercial Loan Officer Nina Hallock; and Kim Bannan Eternal Flame Awards: Western Health Care Federal Credit Union President and CEO Diana Michaels (individual), Richard Myles Johnson Foundation (credit union/organization)

Leo H. Shapiro Lifetime Achievement Award

This is the League’s highest honor, recognizing excellence in credit union philosophy and a lifetime of contributions to the California credit union movement. It is named after Leo H. Shapiro, father of the California credit union movement and founder of the League.

Teresa Freeborn will be honored on the first day of REACH, Nov. 6. She will be recognized for her more than 40 years of service, including serving as president and CEO of Xceed Financial credit union since 2006, and for being such a strong advocate of the credit union movement. One of her highest priorities has been building positive perceptions of credit unions. She has done that many times, both in her native Canada, and in the United States. She not only chaired the leagues’ credit union cooperative advertising initiative a few years ago, she is currently chairing CUNA’s creating awareness advisory group. For her many accomplishments, Teresa received the League’s Distinguished Service Award in 2013 and was inducted into the Credit Union Executives Society’s Hall of Fame in 2014.

Distinguished Service Award
Recipients of the League’s Distinguished Service Award are honored for service to the credit union community outside the usual scope of employment at a credit union, and beyond the scope of their chapter.

Richard Cooper, retired CEO of Mendo Lake CU, is being recognized for his work within in the credit union industry for more than 40 years. In addition, he is being honored for being a passionate community advocate. Under his leadership, Mendo Lake CU (which recently merged into Community First CU) gained national recognition for its commitment to expanding access to affordable financial services and credit for low-income consumers as well as to rural lake and Mendocino counties in California. In 2015, when fires devastated Lake County, resulting in huge losses in homes and businesses, Richard and Mendo Lake were among the first to step in to initiate relief efforts. The credit union, in partnership with north coast opportunity, the national credit union foundation, and other local credit unions, helped distribute more than $1.5 million to residents and businesses in need, helping with much-needed recovery efforts.

Dennis Flannigan, CEO of Great Basin FCU, is being honored for his active involvement within the credit union industry and advocacy efforts. Besides serving on the Nevada League board and Government Relations Committee, he has actively participated in representing credit unions on state and local legislative and regulatory issues. He has attended and led many meetings in Nevada at the League’s government relations rallies, as well as CUNA’s governmental affairs conference. He has been invited to testify and give input locally for important topics such as mortgage mediation reform.

J. Alvin George Outstanding Volunteer Award
This award honors significant contributions by people who serve credit unions in volunteer capacities, such as a director or committee member. It was renamed in 2013 in honor of the long-time credit union volunteer, J. Alvin George, who passed away that same year.

Chung Bothwell exemplifies exceptional volunteerism, particularly for her more than 30 years of service with UNCLE CU’s board of directors. She is a passionate advocate of financial literacy for not only young people but maturing generations. She has delivered presentations at 15 schools reaching 600-plus students, and provided free retirement planning seminars to seniors and others. She’s also active in advocacy efforts, lobbying for key credit union issues in Washington, D.C. and Sacramento.

Tomorrow’s Star Award
The League’s Tomorrow’s Star Award recognizes the achievements by young credit union professionals age 35 and under.

Nina Hallock, a commercial loan officer for Great Basin FCU, has a great passion for working directly with members to find solutions that help them succeed and take their business to the next level. In addition, she also has served on the board of the Northern Nevada credit union chapter for three years. In her time with the chapter, she organized a partnership with the non-profit northern Nevada hopes, which grows the community’s relationship with credit unions. In addition, Hallock was selected to “Crash the GAC” for Nevada.

Kim Bannan Eternal Flame Awards

These awards recognize efforts that contribute to the success and future of Shapiro Group credit unions, and are named after the League’s late vice president of credit union development and research and information.

This year’s recipient in the individual category, Diana Michaels was honored for her long-standing and strong support of Shapiro-sized (smaller) credit unions, including serving on the Shapiro Group board from 2012 through 2014 and working with Randy Thompson from TCT Risk Solutions to introduce Shapiro credit unions to risk-based lending.

The recipient in the company/credit union category, Richard Myles Johnson Foundation and its Executive Director Tena Lozano were recognized for not only the Foundation being the premier organization for youth financial education in the two states, but also for being a partner to the success of small credit unions, such as Desert Valleys FCU, which nominated the Foundation.

Cooper, Flannigan, Bothwell, Hallock, Michaels, and the RMJ Foundation will be honored Nov. 7, the second day of the conference.


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