CU Leaders, Volunteers to be Honored at 'REACH'

Ron McDaniel
Retired California CU CEO Ron McDaniel is the 2018 Leo H. Shapiro Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.

Seven credit union industry leaders and volunteers, as well as the Southern California CU Alliance, will be honored at this year’s California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues’ REACH 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. 6-9 at the Loews Hotel in Hollywood, CA.

The 2018 recipients are: Leo H. Shapiro Lifetime Achievement Award: retired California CU CEO Ron McDaniel; Distinguished Service Award: Delta Schools FCU CEO Rob Greaff and Wescom CU CEO Darren Williams; J. Alvin George Outstanding Volunteer Award: Patelco CU Board Member Race Chen;Tomorrow’s Star Award: Rebecca Boles of SkyOne FCU and Kathy Ramirez of Inland Valley FCU;Kim Bannan Eternal Flame Awards: Upward FCU CEO Linda White (individual), Southern California Credit Union Alliance (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.

Ron McDaniel will be recognized for his more than 40 years of service, including serving as president and CEO of California CU since 2004, and for being such a strong advocate of the credit union movement. Among his many and varied accomplishments were serving as part of the League ATM Task Force from 1980 to 1982 at a time when most credit unions didn’t have an ATM, and there were no nationwide ATM networks that banks would allow credit unions to join. CO-OP did not exist. Ron was part of the steering committee that conceived of the idea of creating a nationwide ATM network for credit unions. This idea ultimately led to the formation of the CO-OP system and later into shared branching. He also participated in the NCUA’s pilot “share draft” program, which created the first checking accounts for credit union members. And then in the late 1990s, as CEO of then-Point Mugu FCU, he was among those instrumental in the passage of the landmark H.R. 1151, the Credit Union Membership Act in 1998. McDaniel received the League’s Distinguished Service Award in 1999, the League’s Lifetime Award for Legislative/Regulatory Advocacy in 2016, and CUNA’s Buck Levin Award in 2016.

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 and their chapter, with particular emphasis on the most recent three years.

Rob Greaff, CEO of Delta Schools FCU, is being recognized for his work within in the credit union industry (which spans some 25 years; 15 of those as CEO of Delta Schools) as well his outstanding efforts in the arena of financial education. At the 2014 REACH Conference, Greaff attended his first “Bite of Reality”, a program offered by the Richard Myles Johnson Foundation. The experience inspired him to create one of the most robust and successful financial literacy programs in the state. Under his leadership, Delta Schools has sponsored more than 7,000 students through the “Bite of Reality program in the past three years. In a single session, he guided his credit union to a record 725 students. With more than 20 sessions to date, Delta Schools has created a financial literacy priority which now extends throughout the local school district. This inspiration is spreading to other school districts around his credit union and in only a few short years the number of students could easily double or triple. He is so passionate about “Bite of Reality”, that in 2015 he was asked to serve on the RMJ Foundation board.

Darren Williams, CEO of Wescom CU, is being honored for his active involvement within the credit union industry and community outreach efforts. One of Darren’s most prominent endeavors to introduce more Southern Californians to the credit union was the reveal of “Big Blue,” the Wescom mobile branch, which allows for onsite account openings, ATM cash withdrawals, and appearances at community events. He even drove the 35,000-pound truck from Florida to California himself. In 2015, the credit union launched the #WescomKindness campaign where staff perform “Random Acts of Wescom Kindness”, such as surprising customers by picking up the tab at food trucks or coffee shops near branches. Since the initiation of these community-focused outreach efforts, the credit union has seen a 20-percent increase in new members. In the past three years, Wescom has donated $582,000 to local charities through the WeCare Foundation, the employee-funded, not-for-profit organization initiated by Williams in 1999. Since WeCare’s inception, $2.2 million has been donated, including thousands of employee volunteer hours. In addition, the credit union has donated nearly $100,000 to Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals® in the past three years. Williams currently serves as a Board Member on Credit Unions for Kids® Wine Auction Executive Committee and the Advisory Board of CMN.

J. Alvin George Outstanding Volunteer Award
This award honors significant contributions over the most recent three years 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.

Race Chen has served as a volunteer for Patelco CU since 1996; holding several positions within the Credit Committee, Supervisory Committee, and Board of Directors. He’s also been very active as a member of the Board of Governors for the El Camino Chapter, heading many committees and participating enthusiastically in all chapter functions including many charitable fundraisers for industry as well as community events. And he is an active participant in advocacy efforts, including attending GAC and League’s GRR. He is Patelco’s go-to government affairs representative.

Tomorrow’s Star Award
The League’s Tomorrow’s Star Award recognizes the achievements by young credit union professionals age 35 and under, particularly over the most recent three years.

Rebecca Boles, a marketing manager for SkyOne FCU, has been a leader, not just in the marketing department but throughout the credit union. She played a key role in developing the member communications in several of SkyOne’s merger conversions, rewards program conversions, and card processor conversions. Her work included developing microsites, eblasts, letters, writing content, designing graphics, and developing FAQs for both members and staff. She is passionate about member service and member experience. In 2017, she helped implement Satmetrix, a sophisticated system that administers and tracks Net Promoter Surveys, an important measure of member loyalty. She worked closely with our business partner and various department managers to implement this system and has developed a process to follow up on members’ feedback and take action to enhance our products and services. Because of her accomplishments, she was prmoted from senior marketing specialist to marketing manager in 2017.

Kathy Ramirez, operations lead for Inland Valley FCU, is a tireless advocate of financial education and services to the underserved Latino community served by the credit union and frequently discusses the value of credit unions to workers in local establishments; encouraging them to open accounts to gain financial independence from the high-fee alternatives. She works with many local community organizations and schools in Fontana and Rialto to provide information on credit unions and has performed seminars on managing money and budgets for employees of our local businesses. In addition, she has been involved with her local credit union chapter as well as volunteered her time for the Southern California Credit Union Alliance. She is also an active participant and contributor at the credit union’s Core Processor User Group, the Leagues’ Shapiro Group, and other League events.

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, Linda White, will be honored for her long-standing and strong support of Shapiro-sized (smaller) credit unions, including serving as chair of the Shapiro Advisory Committee. She began her career as a teller at a small credit union and has moved up to become the CEO of Upward CU. Throughout her career, White has been very involved in the credit union movement, including various committees and organizations (such as the El Camino Chapter board of governors; she’s currently the president). For her accomplishments, she received the League’s Distinguished Service Award in 2012. In addition, she has been a friend to all fellow Shapiro credit unions, as demonstrated by her involvement in the Shapiro listserv and willingness to collaborate, offer assistance, or just lend an ear.

The recipient in the company/credit union category, the Southern California Credit Union Alliance, was established ten years ago, in 2008, by Jon Hernandez (President/CEO for CalCom FCU, Nikkei and Mattel FCU), who pioneered the idea of bringing together CEOs to support one another and find ways to collaborate. The group started about15 CEOs in a credit union boardroom and has morphed into an alliance with 50 members and 45 business partners. The SCCUA has been successful in bringing together all sizes of CUs for collaboration making it possible for the smaller credit unions to embrace the help of and relationships with larger credit unions. It is unique, true to the CU philosophy of “People Helping People”.

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