True CU Pioneers

Nine months ago I sat in a small credit union office in the alluring mountains of West Virginia inspired by 3 young, brave souls. They had a vision to revolutionize their credit union so it could live up to its true potential. The task was monumental and the challenges seemed overwhelming, but I listened to their dream, laughed at their stories, and soaked in their passion. I was weeks away from leaving my credit union job to pursue my calling to assist credit unions dream these dreams.

The credit union lost their CEO the week prior to my arrival alongside the myriad of challenges that plagues our movement from consistency to culture. I remember the knot in my stomach as I stood before a packed room of uneasy Board members, scared staff, and these 3 resolute, bright-eyed visionaries who never blinked as I told my story.

This past Monday I teared up as I walked into this “little credit union that could” and stared at a large compass that had been painted on the ceiling of this unique circular building. Transformed completely from the inside out, the dream of these 3 young visionaries came alive.

It took nine months to rediscover their roots, build culture around them and choose the right CEO who would lead them there. They charted an innovative strategy bringing it all to life through a consistent and unique identity.

Perhaps its an omen that the name of this credit union is Pioneer and this soul-searching journey came to life on Martin Luther King Day because I believe it is the pioneering spirit of these passionate marketeers that fueled this amazing transformation.  As the great Dr. said himself, {Almost always the creative, dedicated minority has made the world better.} Note that these young women didn’t sit at the top of their organizational chart nor did they wait until new management told them what to do. Instead they dreamed big, made it happen, and doubled loan volume to boot.

Cheers to you Pioneer. Cheers to Lisa, Shannon and Lori for your vision and courage. Thanks for being my first credit union client, and thanks for reaffirming to me there is hope in spite of enormous challenges.  It was a privilege and an honor to ride alongside true pioneers at work.

Check out their launch video and their uber cool new website and identity (Brand built in partnership between gira{ph} and iDiz, Inc.).


About giraphcu

Greetings and salutations! Welcome to gira{ph}, a strategic marketing firm that helps credit unions amplify their greatness to create chemistry with consumers. The credit union movement has given so much to us. This is our way of giving back. Enjoy!
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6 Responses to True CU Pioneers

  1. Michelle R. says:

    Love the blog! Even better – love the passion. At the end of the day, this is what seperates us from the other four letter word. We are credit union people; we exist to help people make the most of their money. Bravo Pioneers!

  2. Kathy Epperson says:

    Wow! As someone who lived through this process with you, I am amazed at the beautiful transformation of Pioneer. I thought their situation was so challenging. I am not surprised that my talented, tenacious and optimistic daughter made this happen collaborating with the resilient employees at Pioneer. I am very proud of you, Kelley.

    Love, Mom

  3. Michael Hostetler says:

    We need more revolutionaries and pioneers at our credit unions. Thanks for giving those at Pioneer a voice.

  4. skeet hodgkins says:

    Hey Kelley! tree hugger Skeet here, just wanted to let you know I’m keeping up with you. Glad to see some innovation (i3!) going on. Having left the credit union world 9 months ago – yea we both changed stream about the same time – I am amazed at how the CU world still puts up roadblocks to serving people. Working at CU’s for 20+years, I thought I knew what our problems were and how we could better serve everyone. Being on the other side and trying to get service is a whole nuther thing!

    Anyway, glad to see you are still giving back, knew you could not only help others, but would be good at it and enjoy it!

  5. Debra Trautman says:

    Great website and branding. Your magic is wonderful and the inspiration you give others in the movement is superb. See you in March — looking forward to your pre-conference workshop for CUNA. See you’re also coming to VT! You’re always welcomed in Maine.

  6. Pingback: I Was Here {Video} | gira{ph}

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