LAFCU's Ellsworth Etchison Receives Chamber's Community Service Award
Kelli Ellsworth Etchison, LAFCU's chief marketing officer, has received the Community Service Award from the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce.
The award was one of four presented before more than 650 people at the chamber’s annual dinner Feb. 27. It was the only award presented to an individual versus a business.
“For more than 70 years, the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce has recognized the outstanding work of community leaders,” said Tim Daman, LRCC president and CEO. “Kelli embodies all the key characteristics and criteria of the Community Service Award. Her community involvement and support of numerous organizations speaks to her extraordinary dedication and commitment to our region’s well-being.”
The Community Service Award recognizes outstanding individuals of sound moral character who give their time and expertise to make Greater Lansing a better community, act as an inspiration to others and is a credit to their business or profession.
Ellsworth Etchison’s volunteerism spans from serving on the cleaning team at her church to being tapped as the first African American female board chairperson for the YMCA of Metropolitan Lansing.
“It’s humbling to be recognized for community service, something I love to do that is part of my foundational beliefs,” she said. “When I started in the financial industry, there weren’t many people who looked like me. Some say I got the job to fill a quota. I say, ‘So. I was given a chance. It’s up to me to prove I belong.’
“My mission is to help people belong. We’re not here to serve ourselves. It’s important to help people, particularly those who are underserved.”
Among the community organizations in which she holds or has held leadership positions are Lansing Community College Foundation Board of Directors, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Mid-Michigan, Capital Area United Way and Lansing Promise.
Ellsworth Etchison has been recognized for volunteerism and leadership by nearly as many organizations in which she’s been involved, including YMCA of Metropolitan Lansing (C. Colton Carr Exemplary Volunteer of the Year Service Award), Rotary Club of Lansing (Paul Harris Fellow Award), NAACP (Community Service Award), Grand Ledge Area Chamber of Commerce (ATHENA International Award) and Greater Lansing Area Club, an affiliate of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs Inc. (National Sojourner Truth Meritorious Service Award).
Demonstrating she goes “all in” to raise funds for a good cause, Ellsworth Etchison and her professional dance partner, Mark Taylor, tied for first place in the 2014 Dancing With the Local Stars contest. It benefited the charity Care Free Medical and Dental.
“I’m fortunate to work for an organization that believes in giving back,” she reflected.
LAFCU CEO Pat Spyke said, “Kelli builds an enormous amount of goodwill in our communities, not only through work she does on boards and commissions but in many ways behind-the-scenes that people don’t know about.
“For example, she established a LAFCU scholarship essay contest to help women transitioning in their careers because she believed it was important. It’s things like this for which we’re extra grateful she’s on our team.”
As a senior officer at LAFCU, Ellsworth Etchison is responsible for the credit union’s marketing, public relations, internship and member education programs. She also develops and supports strategic initiatives, and assists with creation of new products and services.
Through the years, she’s led development of LAFCU marketing campaigns that have won national awards. The Michigan Credit Union League recognized her as Youth Advocate of the Year for her efforts in providing financial literacy curriculum to youth.
The video about Ellsworth Etchison shown at the chamber’s annual dinner is here.
Criteria for the Community Service Award are:
- An outstanding individual who has given his or her time and expertise in making the Greater Lansing region a better community in which to live, work and play.
- Has accomplishments beyond and outside his or her own field of endeavor.
- Demonstrates excellence, creativity and initiative in their business/ profession throughout his or her entire career, and is of sound moral character.