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Four Credit Union Execs Honored 

October 2017: Vol 40 No 10
CUES announces 2017 Outstanding Chief Executive Award Winner, CUES Exceptional Leander and Hall of Fame Honorees.

From left: CUES Chair Stephanie Sherrod, CCE, president/CEO of TDECU, Lake Jackson, Texas; Chuck Purvis, CCE, CLE, CUDE; Doug Fecher, CCE; Mike Valentine; Amy Downs, CCE; and CUES President/CEO John Pembroke.

Last night at CEO/Executive Team Network in Las Vegas, four credit union executives were honored in front a group of their peers.

Pictured in the photo at right are CUES Chair Stephanie Sherrod, CCE, president/CEO of TDECU, Lake Jackson, Texas; Chuck Purvis, CCE, CLE, CUDE; Doug Fecher, CCE; Mike Valentine; Amy Downs, CCE; and CUES President/CEO John Pembroke.

Chuck Purvis, CCE, CLE, CUDE, president/CEO of $2.89 billion Coastal CU, Raleigh, N.C., was named the 2017 CUES Outstanding Chief Executive Award winner. The CUES Outstanding Chief Executive award recognizes leaders at the CEO level who display professional achievement, support employee motivation and are dedicated to their community.

When he accepted his award, Purvis spoke about the importance of a good team. “None of us gets these awards without a great team behind us. To me, the most important role of the CEO is building a great team, developing a great team, leading a great team. I’ve been fortunate to have two great teams supporting my career. The first one is my wife Gail, who has been with me 33 of the 35-year credit union journey and who I could not have had this success without. And secondly is the amazing team at Coastal that I’ve had the great fortune to work with and collaborate with and commiserate with. 

“Leadership is about teams and building teams and developing teams,” he repeated. “If you are an aspiring CEO and you have not been to CUES’ CEO Institute, you need to go back home and pester your CEO to register you. And if you are a CEO who is not sending your folks to the CEO Institute, you are missing an awesome opportunity to develop your next leadership team … Thank you to CUES and thank you to my colleagues who selected me for this award. It’s a big honor when you are selected by your peers for an award such as this.”

Also honored was Amy Downs, CCE, EVP/COO at $259 million Allegiance Credit Union, Oklahoma City, Okla., who was named CUES Exceptional Leader. The award goes to non-chief executive officers and acknowledges these decision-makers for their ambition, participation and devotion to their credit union and the industry. 

“The main reason I am here today accepting an award like this is because of an exceptional leader in my life,” Downs said. “Twenty years ago, Lynette Leonard came to my credit union as CEO. Over those 20 years, she has challenged me, counseled me, encouraged me, corrected me, had faith in me. She retired at the end of this year and she blessed me with a final lesson of a true measurement of an exceptional leader. It’s not ROA, membership growth or loan growth. It’s how you impacted others. Are you empowering and equipping leaders? That’s really what makes an exceptional leader. I want to say thank you to Lynette and to all of you who are doing exactly that, empowering and equipping leaders.”

In addition, two executives were inducted into the CUES Hall of Fame.

Inductee Doug Fecher, CCE, president/CEO of $3.8 billion Wright-Patt Credit Union Inc., Fairborn, Ohio, started by joking, “It seems like just yesterday I started as a teller. Actually, I was about the worst teller you’d ever find. I couldn’t balance my drawer to save my life.”

He spoke of his boss Bill Michael, a former Ohio State and Pittsburg Steelers football player. “I credit him with a lot. He taught me this credit union business that I believe is an American treasure. He taught me that it really has nothing to do with running a business. It has everything to do with taking care of other people.

“My father … always used to tell me and my brothers, ‘The way to get what you want is to help other people get what they want.’” If you follow that advice, Fecher’s father told him, soon you’ll stop caring about what you want because you find out how much fun it is to help others. “And that’s why this credit union industry that we work in is such a treasure.” 

Mike Valentine, president/CEO of $2.8 billion BCU, Vernon Hills, Ill., said, “There are so many people in this room and I see friends and people that I’ve grown older with. And people I went through CEO Institute with, and it is neat because I think the one thing CUES does that really is a good job is it does develop leaders. It does inspire people to do better things … The other thing I would reflect on is you’ve got to have passion for what you do. This credit union market is unbelievable. I am humbled … thank you so much.”

The CUES Hall of Fame recognizes a lifetime of achievement and dedication to the credit union movement. These extraordinary leaders were chosen by CUES’ board of directors for their contributions to their profession and the industry, involvement in community service, and education and history of self-improvement.