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LAFCU's Ellsworth Etchison Honored as Notable Leader in Michigan

keeLAFCU’s chief marketing officer and chief diversity officer has been recognized for a second time this year by Crain’s Detroit Business, a leading business publication in Michigan. Kelli Ellsworth Etchison was named one of the 2023 Notable Leaders in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) based on her success and accomplishments over the past 18 months. She was also recognized as a Notable Leader in Marketing in April.

"I've always encouraged Kelli to use her voice to make an impact, and boy, has she done that," said Patrick Spyke, LAFCU CEO. "Kelli has worked tirelessly to provide equitable access to our products and services and has championed a more inclusive culture where LAFCU members and staff can feel seen and heard. The significant impact of her efforts and advocacy related to DEI can be felt across our entire organization and the community."

The Crain’s Detroit Business Notable Leaders in DEI distinction honors individuals in Michigan who have taken on the responsibility of providing diverse, equitable and inclusive experiences for their organization and clients/members. When they are not at work, these individuals also help and advocate for DEI-related issues at nonprofits and community organizations, allowing them to extend their reach with this important message and further their impact and power to effect change.

Ellsworth Etchison leads the credit union’s strategic marketing, community, and public relations efforts and oversees LAFCU’s marketing department. She added the title and responsibilities of chief diversity officer (CDO) in 2020, a position she proposed and the first in the credit union’s 87-year history. She also oversees LAFCU’s college scholarship program that provides tens of thousands of dollars to high school seniors and non-traditional students.

Since her historic appointment to CDO, Kelli has established a DEI program for over 150 LAFCU employees and an employee-led DEI committee that created LAFCU's DEI mission statement, core principles, and a tagline based on the credit union’s name, "LAFCU: Listening Allows For Cultural Understanding."

Ellsworth Etchison’s work has driven a significant shift inside LAFCU that allows for an enhanced culture of diversity. DEI education is now introduced during employee orientation and continues throughout the year with training and discussions. Additionally, a video is shown to job candidates during their interview that discusses the inclusive culture LAFCU fosters so candidates can decide whether it would be a good fit personally and professionally.

“I am honored to be recognized by Crain’s Detroit this year as a leader in both my role as chief diversity officer and chief marketing officer,” said Ellsworth Etchison. "It's been a true privilege to serve as LAFCU's CDO and advocate for DEI. The entire team, particularly the employee-led DEI committee, deserves immense credit for their dedication and enthusiasm. Together, we're fostering a diverse and inclusive culture, bringing about positive, and making tangible improvements in the community."

Crain's Detroit Business published this year's special section of Michigan’s top DEI leaders in the Nov. 13 print issue and online here.

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