She’s a driving force in the credit union movement. She’s passionate about helping others, and she believes in doing the right thing for the right reason every day. On Tuesday, Karen Hart, Cornerstone’s EVP and chief financial officer/chief administrative officer, celebrated her 40th anniversary with the League.
“Forty years ago, a young, naïve girl walked through the doors of the Texas Credit Union League to start the first day of what she thought was just her first real job,” said Barb Lowman, executive vice president and chief growth officer for Cornerstone Credit Union League/Credit Union Resources, Inc. “Little did that young woman know that she was embarking on the first day of a lifetime of service, passion, commitment, loyalty, and love. I am proud to be a part of that journey and to have the honor and privilege to work beside her. I am in awe of her drive and dedication, and she makes me want to be better for our team.”
Caroline Willard (right), Cornerstone president/CEO, presents Karen Hart, EVP and chief financial officer/chief administrative officer, with a plaque commemorating her 40 years of service.
During a staff celebration, Karen listens as employees share their favorite “Karen stories.”
Hart began her career in accounting and has worked her way through the company to her present position where she always has the organization’s best interests at heart. She has grown up with the organization, and her experiences personally and professionally have shaped her into the strong, compassionate leader she is today.
She is focused on family, believing strongly in the balance between work and home life. She cares about people, building close relationships, and treating her staff as an extension of her own family. Hart serves as a good mentor, building people up, giving them opportunities to advance, and cheering them on when they succeed.
Hart is also a caretaker, stepping in when family members became ill. Now she’s caring for her sister’s dog Sonny, who has become her beloved child. During a 40th anniversary celebration at the League, Hart was presented with a Harley-Davidson chew toy, symbolizing her love for Sonny and her passion for cruising on her motorcycle.
League staff pose with Karen, helping her celebrate her special anniversary.
Hart has been an integral part of the League’s strength, commitment, and progress and its focus on serving credit unions and the community. “Karen has contributed so much to the League, putting her heart into everything she does," said Cornerstone President/CEO Caroline Willard. "She serves as an inspiration to me and our team, and we are so grateful for her 40 years of service."
One example of how Hart has served others is through the “Credit Union Cares” campaign. As part of her Credit Union Development Education (DE) training, Hart had a vision to help credit union members find basic emergency services – transportation, health and human services, and food and shelter. This initiative started with a simple brochure printed for a Dallas-area credit union to give to its members. She inspired her staff, who wrote letters of encouragement and made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the homeless in Dallas.
Credit Unions Care became a much larger program with other DEs, organizations, and credit unions participating in CU Rides across Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Credit union staff and representatives rode alongside Hart in her Harley or caravanned in cars to deliver 1,500 stuffed animals to children at a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Through this combined effort, Hart put nearly 2,500 miles on her motorcycle, visiting 10 communities in less than six months, and raising more than $40,000.
Cornerstone Credit Union League sincerely congratulates Hart on her 40th anniversary and thanks her for her encouragement, knowledge, and support for the organization and the credit unions we serve.