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Susan Mitchell Recognized for Authentic Leadership & Activism with 2018 Herb Wegner Memorial Award
Thursday, October 26, 2017 6:45 AM

Susan Mitchell

Foundation Recognizing Mitchell with Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement

In recognition of her dedication to the spreading of the credit union idea worldwide and determination to fostering diverse representation in credit union leadership and membership, the National Credit Union Foundation is pleased to announce Susan Mitchell, CEO of Mitchell, Stankovic & Associates, as the recipient of a 2018 Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement.

Mitchell’s award will be one of four Herb Wegner Memorial Awards presented at special fundraising event hosted by the Foundation at the Marriott Marquis Washington on Feb. 26, 2018, in conjunction with the Credit Union National Association Governmental Affairs Conference. Registration for dinner tickets and sponsorships will be available on the Foundation website (ncuf.coop) later this year. 

"Sue is such a tremendous bundle of energy," said John Gregoire, chair of the Foundation's Wegner Awards Selection Committee and president of The ProCon Group. “We have all benefitted from that energy focused on enhancing the lives of all those touched by credit unions. I know her as an excellent consultant, but even more for her wonderful work in the founding and continued success of the Global Women’s Leadership Network."

A Force for Diverse Credit Union Representation
Mitchell currently serves on the SCE FCU, Ventura County CU and BDCU nominating committees to ensure that future leaders represent a diverse field of membership. She works with boards and volunteers to give educational programs and ensure balanced governance in terms of diversity and representation.

She recently asked her clients, “What about the loyal savers?” which challenged them to consider initiatives beyond chasing the millennial market. This created programs for members over 70 to engage and tell their children and grandchildren about the importance of people helping people, nondiscrimination, diverse representation, and democratic control.

In 2009, Mitchell became the founding Chair of the World Council of Credit Union’s Global Women’s Leadership Network (GWLN) due to her passion for women to not just run the household and the family, but also to serve as leaders in the community. She volunteered her time with no budget and limited resources to create the premiere global credit union program for women, engaging thousands of women from an international network. She has created an initiative to raise $2 million for scholarships, member education, empowerment grants and programming facilitation opportunities for credit union women.

Her contributions also include the creation of the Athena Leadership Award, presented to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to women’s leadership in the international credit union movement. The Athena Award presents individual impact and recognition of women’s efforts to financially empower each other, women within their communities, and credit union members.

Mitchell has continued to donate her time and expenses to meet with strategic influencers, travel to key credit union movements, mobilize volunteers, and communicate the importance of financial empowerment of women.

“Over the last eight years, she has invested more than her time—she has invested herself in changing lives all around the world,” said Barry Jolette, retired CEO of San Mateo Credit Union, and past chair of both CUNA and World Council. "It is her passion for people and the mission of credit unions that make her special!

Fighting for the Credit Union Philosophy Worldwide
Mitchell has created local Sister Societies for the Global Women’s Leadership Network, bringing hundreds of credit union women and men together to promote financial empowerment, provide education, engage in networking and increase awareness of the credit union commitment to changing lives. Sister Societies are formed by countries and their associations, as well as cities based upon credit union prevalence and reach.

The GWLN has nearly 2,000 members from 78 countries, offering 47 scholarships to women from 22 countries.

Mitchell also acted as a mentor to Elenita San Roque, the first female CEO of the Asian Confederation of Credit Unions, who went on to receive the 2016 Athena Award for her execution of building a multi-purpose cooperative in the Philippines that trains female credit union members on enterprise management and one-on-one support to enhance their trade, resulting in a 23% increase in their income. Four Sister Societies have been created in Asia to further advance women’s leadership and connect people to the global network of credit unions.

“While at CUNA, I actively became a part of the Global Women's Leadership Network and have seen the growth and impact of the organization worldwide,” said Bill Cheney, president/CEO at SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union. “Sue traveled to Africa and was part of the Busia project in 2010 and she has spent seven years visiting local communities throughout the United States to coach, mentor and identify future leaders to support and shape the credit union industry. GWLN’s growth would not have been possible without Sue's leadership.”

Bringing Out the Potential of Others
Being an outstanding individual is more than just having personal achievements, it is also pushing others to better themselves. Mitchell has created a legacy of not only being personally successful, but helping others become more successful in their own endeavors.

Mitchell was a mentor to many friends and colleagues from around the world. The sheer number of individuals who came forward and spoke of her influence on their professional development and success is staggering.

From credit union CEOs to lending, human resources, and training leaders, Mitchell encourages everyone she meets to be more successful and influential leaders in their own roles. She acts as a catalyst, setting higher goals and encouraging people to push themselves.

“Sue is a strong and spirited warrior leader,” said Nicole Brusewitz, VP of education and events at Mountain West Credit Union Association. “She has always held a larger vision for me than what I would have held for myself, and set my target further than what I would have aimed for.”

About the Herb Wegner Memorial Awards
Herb Wegner AwardThe awards are named in honor of the late Credit Union National Association CEO Herb Wegner, whose tireless dedication, innovative ideas and deeds truly revolutionized the ways that credit unions serve their communities.  The awards that bear Wegner’s name recognize his spirit of “innovative, creative, risk-taking” leadership. View past award recipients here.

About the National Credit Union Foundation (ncuf.coop)
The National Credit Union Foundation (the Foundation) is the charitable arm of the U.S. credit union movement and works as a catalyst to improve people’s financial lives through credit unions. Through grants and programs, the Foundation is strengthening financial well-being, igniting passion and instilling knowledge about the credit union difference, and uniting resources to help credit union people during disaster. Donations to the Foundation ultimately enable credit unions to help their members reach life-changing goals and achieve financial freedom.