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Successful Security First FCU Meet-and-Greet Showcases the Power of Grassroots Efforts
Monday, November 16, 2015 7:00 AM

Security First FCU Meet and Greet
Left to right: CFO Joe Garcia, April Krause, State Rep. Armando A. Martinez, CEO Dan Perez, COO Grace Mann.

On Nov. 5, Security First Federal Credit Union held a special meet-and-greet in Weslaco, Texas, planned and organized by their CAT PAC, which is the credit union's CU: ROAR grassroots team. By all accounts, the event was a success with a great turnout. Event organizers sent formal invitations to elected officials, other credit unions in the Magic Valley Chapter, credit union staff, and their credit union members.

Security First CEO Dan Perez said, “Security First Federal Credit Union was really excited to host this event. We had board members, ex-board members, current members, other local credit unions, community leaders, and, of course, our distinguished legislative representative, Armando Martinez, show up for an evening of networking and education. Our CAT PAC did an amazing job with the organization, venue, and event presentation. We truly enjoyed doing this and are already planning for future events.”

April Krause, Cornerstone Credit Union League's political and grassroots director, also attended the event. "What a fun and productive event for these folks," she said. "I’m very pleased that we have credit unions building political capital with their elected officials, whether it's at the state or federal level." 

Creation of the CAT PAC

Chief Operations Officer Grace Mann said the Security First board of directors set an objective in their 2015 strategic plan for increasing awareness and engagement with Cornerstone's TCCUL PAC. One action step in achieving this goal was to hold a special all-staff assembly where they invited Humberto Garza, district director for Congressman Filemon Vela’s Office, and three of the board members who represent their credit union at the GAC as special guest speakers. 

Security First FCU Meet and Greet
Left to right: Judge Daniel T Robles, Board Vice-Chair Alfonso Garcia, State Rep. Armando A. Martinez, CEO Dan Perez, Organizational Development Manager Albert Barajas.

"We highlighted CU: R.O.A.R by emphasizing the importance of investing in the future of credit unions and ceremoniously 'pinned' employees already enrolled in payroll deduction," Mann said. "We then asked for employee volunteers interested in forming a committee that would become our credit union’s advocates for motivating and educating staff and members.

"We began with seven enthusiastic volunteers whose first order of business was to create their committee’s name. After an engaging brainstorming session focused on answering one question (Why did I volunteer for this committee?), their answers led them to Creating Awareness Together, or CAT, and the CAT PAC was born."

The Security First CAT PAC is strictly voluntary, and any employee who demonstrates a passion and commitment to engaging in fundraising and special grassroots advocacy events is welcome.

"This is a special group of employees whose passion for advocacy is contagious," Mann said. The original seven CAT PAC members established specific roles and responsibilities for their committee and appointed their president, vice president, secretary, chairperson, treasurer, speaker and parliamentarian, and event coordinator.

Security First FCU Meet and Greet
Left to right (CAT PAC employees unless otherwise mentioned): Esmeralda Garza, April Krause, Myra Marquez, Alice Bustos, Leno Castillo, Board Chair Norma Davis, Anna Villanueva, Maribel Land, COO Grace Mann, Albert Barajas, CEO Dan Perez.

To encourage continued staff engagement, the CAT PAC is designing a quarterly CAT newsletter to include event pictures, fundraising initiatives, and a corner dedicated to simplifying current legislative issues. Their aim is to make advocacy relevant and relatable to their peers so they feel comfortable responding when a call to action is needed.

"Our credit union’s mission is to help our members achieve their financial dreams," Mann said. "If we don’t make even the smallest effort to be aware of and involved in the political issues that impact our industry, we risk sending a message to our communities that we really don’t care about the future of credit unions, let alone their financial dreams. Actions always speak louder than words, and, if all credit unions engage in grassroots efforts, we help secure a future of “People Helping People.”

Said Krause, "We're so thrilled about the CAT PAC. There's just no substitute for establishing yourselves as the go-to resource for lawmakers. Not only do proactive credit unions like Security First reap the rewards, but all credit unions benefit."

For more information about Security First, please visit