"We've been just astounded at the reception we've been getting to the magazine story having had to re-order three times to keep our branches stocked with copies," explained Kim Thore, Piedmont director of marketing.
The cover article, "One Woman's Leadership Journey," traces her CU career moves. She landed at the Winston-Salem CU two years ago, but it quotes Tharp on her first CU job at age 22 at a small Wilmington CU just three years out of college, later joining the CUNA Mutual Group staff.
In the article, Tharp credits an introspective attitude and a reliance on role models to her success.
So far 1,200 copies of the monthly magazine have been handed out, and the phones in Tharp's office are "ringing off the hook" congraulating the CU's first female CEO on the write up, said Thore.
In the article, Tharp discussesed her North Carolina upbringing learning the family business and commercial skills as the daughter of a small town grocer. After completing a management degree at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, she answered a newsppaer ad for a CEO at the the start-up Cape Fear Employees CU, now a $10 million institution. She later held management jobs at two South Carolina CUs before being named to head Piedmont Aviation.
The article, citing her winning attitude, contended that Tharp's rise in the credit union world goes back to her learning that "independence and success as an entrpreneur comes through hard work and commitment to the customer."
Thore said she managed to get Tharp's story told through contacts she had at the popular magazine, which has 50,000 circulation and readership in the Triad area of North Carolina, covering Greensboro, Winston Salem and High Point.
Piedmont is the third largest CU in the Triad area and ninth largest in the state.