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Michigan Credit Union League

LAFCU Chief Marketing Officer/Chief Diversity Officer Honored as Business Leader, DEI Champion

lafKelli Ellsworth Etchison, LAFCU's chief marketing officer and chief diversity officer, was named a 2022 Salute to Diversity Award recipient by Corp! Magazine and honored at the 15th annual Salute to Diversity awards celebration Oct. 13 at The Henry in Dearborn.

“It was Kelli’s leadership and initiative that ignited our DEI efforts,” said LAFCU CEO Patrick Spyke. “She recognizes that by having a more informed and enlightened staff, LAFCU will be able to provide better service to its members. The work she and the LAFCU team have done in the DEI space has helped broaden perspectives on the importance of providing equitable access to our products and services, with the goal of making everyone – staff and members alike – feel welcome, seen and heard.”

Ellsworth Etchison was honored by Corp! for her work assisting LAFCU employees in successfully navigating DEI and implementing change within the organization, as well as being a DEI champion for LAFCU, her community and statewide.

In addition to holding the position of chief marketing officer, Ellsworth Etchison added the title and responsibilities of chief diversity officer in 2020 — the credit union’s first CDO, a position she proposed. As CDO, she works to establish diversity, equity and inclusion as shared values within LAFCU and the community.

“As LAFCU’s chief diversity officer, I have sought to address racial injustices, implicit bias, as well as use my leadership position to educate, advocate for, and inform LAFCU employees, and ultimately to make DEI advances in our organization, community and beyond,” said Ellsworth Etchison.

Ellsworth Etchison has been instrumental in the development of several employee-driven DEI initiatives, including the LAFCU DEI program and DEI committee. As part of the LAFCU DEI program, core principles, a mission statement, logo and tagline based on LAFCU’s name, LAFCU – Listening Allows For Cultural Understanding, were all developed. DEI education is also now included in new employee orientation sessions and continues throughout the year with intensive group training and discussions.

An employee survey conducted twice over a three-year period revealed a dramatic increase in the percentage of employees who agreed with the following statement: "My employer enables a culture of diversity." The survey results demonstrate LAFCU's ongoing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as the work being done by LAFCU and its employees to successfully facilitate organizational change through training and discussions.

Ellsworth Etchison’s DEI efforts have been highlighted in several publications. She has been a featured presenter for many established local, regional and national organizations and businesses, and she was one of 16 persons appointed by Governor Whitmer to Michigan’s inaugural Black Leadership Advisory Council in 2020. She was also one of 45 credit union leaders across the country to earn the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Certificate offered by Credit Union Executives Society and Cornell University.

“Every employee wants to feel valued, respected and that they have a voice,” said Ellsworth Etchison. “The different perspectives that people bring to a project, the innovative ideas from those diverse perspectives are invaluable. When people feel valued, they are energized and engaged.”

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2022-11-17 00:00:00