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Michigan Credit Union League

Today's Award Winners, Tomorrow's Leaders

Every year, the Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL) recognizes young people in the credit union movement who are doing incredible work with two awards: Young Professional of the Year and Youth Advocate of the Year. This year, those honors belong to Kristen Taber, eCommerce experience strategist for Midland-based Members First Credit Union, and Olivia McCormick, educational program coordinator for Lansing-based CASE Credit Union.

Young Professional of the Year: Kristen Taber

In the two and a half years since Taber joined Members First Credit Union as an eCommerce strategist, she has made a name for herself as a dependable, positive and professional presence.
Her work with the credit union’s digital platforms has directly translated to growth for Members First’s education, fundraising and advocacy efforts. Additionally, Taber has shown outstanding eagerness to get involved with the credit union’s community and advocacy initiatives.

Because of her passion for the credit union movement, Members First members and political action have been a significant advantage for the credit union and make her more than deserving of the Young Professional of the Year Award.

“She came to me within her first six months on our team and asked to form a Political Action Committee. She knew that we were doing well in this area, but with a formed purpose we could excel. She was right!” said Carrie Iafrate, executive vice president at Members First. “Our growth in fundraising over the past two years has won us awards from MCUL and, more importantly, recognition in the state and Washington, D.C., that has led to many special meetings with lawmakers and their attendance at our events.”

True to the credit union spirit, Taber is highly involved in multiple opportunities to make an impact. She volunteers regularly with the credit union’s Community Difference Project and the Junior League of the Great Lakes Bay Region. She was honored to be a Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) Michigan Crasher in 2017 and was previously an Annual Convention & Exposition (AC&E) Crasher in 2015. Nominated by her Members First coworkers, Taber won their President’s Award and Strategic Superstar honors, both of which are usually given to longer-termed employees.

“As Kristen was welcomed into Members First, she quickly developed a network of employees and launched our internal Political Action Committee,” said Marcie Long, strategic development manager at Members First. “In less than three years, Kristen’s leadership has inspired more funding and support of the Michigan Credit Union League than we’ve ever experienced. Members First has grown from a candy sales and raffle contributor to a leader and active participant in the Michigan credit union movement, thanks to Kristen’s dedication and leadership.”

Youth Advocate of the Year: Olivia McCormick

McCormick rejuvenated her credit union’s education program in March 2017 and has continued to impress her peers with how effectively she has provided financial education in the community.

McCormick has created strong partnerships in the local community with the Boys & Girls Club of Lansing, Lansing Parks and Recreation summer camps, and Lansing Community College, among others. These partnerships have led to an education program that reached more than 1,500 students in 2017.

“Today’s society creates anxiety amongst many, but for the child who is struggling to understand or who does not have the sources available for a tutor, it is so much more. Olivia is able to provide the much-needed assistance on many levels. She assists the teacher who uses this time to do what is necessary to keep the classes going, she assists the students by demonstrating that financial literacy can be fun,” said Norma McGarry, community development specialist at CASE. Her passion for reaching out to the youth led her to form the CASE Education Presentation Team. It is a group of employees from various branches and departments across the credit union who have been trained by McCormick to go into the community and present financial education plans to classes and youth community groups.

“Even the counselors and assistants on staff are involved and have said they’ve learned something from her sessions,” said McGarry. “When a person enters a room and the students run up and are eager to find out what they are doing
for that session, you know you have done your job. This is what greets Olivia at the different schools, community centers and churches alike.”

Taber and McCormick will be formally awarded at the Honor Awards Breakfast during the MCUL/CUSG 2018 Annual Convention & Exposition in Traverse City, June 6–9.

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2018-06-01 00:00:00