SOFCU Community Credit Union
Grants Pass, Ore.
The enormous love and influence from my mother is with me daily, as she continues to inspire kindness, faith, integrity and the type of cherished love that you wish upon all children. Her life is a true story of struggles and challenges, and it's the manner in which she accomplished so many of her goals that I respect. Early in my mother's life, she recognized that she wanted to be in the educational field, and in the early 1970s received her Ph.D. She utilized her education by starting school systems, along with learning centers, here in the U.S., in South Korea and China. She believed that it was her mission to help and educate those who wanted to enrich their lives and she truly lived by the cooperative forum. This began by financing her first home through a group of friends that pooled their money and rotated the use of the collected funds. As a retired school professor, she taught and lectured all over the world, and continues to tutor now, even in her mid-80s.
I live daily with a credo 'You're Young, Tough and Good Looking,' which both my mother and father instilled in me, which in short translates as follows:
Young...learning is ageless. Tough...don't sweat the small stuff and take on the challenges that life throws at you with a vigor-it builds character. And Good Looking... the more good you do for others, the more one becomes beautiful from the inside out.
Telesis Community Credit Union
My mother's name is Mrs. Effie Tyler Hodge of Jefferson, Texas.
Mother taught me about priorities. God always first and family a close second with work and service demonstrating the strong commitment to both. My mom received her college education from Tyler College in Tyler, Texas, in the early 1940s when it was unusual for African-American rural women to seek college degrees. Soon after, she married my dad-Hosea W. Hodge. They raised 11 children and survived more than 50 years of marriage before his death in 1992. Some would say that reared would be the proper terminology. But my mom knew that she was raising her children to a new level.
Mother stayed home and diligently took care of the family and did not seek a career until the baby of the family started to school. She got a job at the school where he attended. This was a huge sacrifice for her, but I learned from her to be patient and to simply do the right things and trust that those right things would eventually intersect with the right time. She invested her time and resources in her children. She loved hard and she spanked equally hard but only when absolutely necessary. She set standards high and taught me to set my standards higher and to let them go if they refuse to rise! This has helped me as I strived to surround myself with successful people.
Helen Godfrey Smith
Shreveport Federal Credit Union
"Treat others the way you would like to be treated."
Robert Hackney, CEO of Card Services for Credit Unions, was far too young to care much about money or to have any idea of what a credit union is when his mother first shared and modeled this traditional golden rule. But he said that as his career has moved forward, he has found it a steadily more important part of his daily management.
"It seems like a small thing, but I think it can prove a valuable tool in both understanding where someone else is coming from and making sure that personal and business relationships remain solid. Just treating people like you want to be treated goes a long way-as any of my kids and I hope my colleagues would tell you as well."
"Whatever you do, have passion for it!"
Mary Brien-Duch, vice president of operations at Dexsta Credit Union, said her mother's advice has been particularly helpful in her work with both the staff and members.
"That's just something she always believed. Be passionate about whatever you do and that will carry over to other people," Brien-Duch said.
Brien-Duch said the passionate response has been particularly useful in helping to motivate Dexsta members to start better financial habits and to make better financial decisions.
"Do something. Whatever is in front of you, take steps to confront it."
Jim Blouin, director of portfolio management for card processor Fidelity National Information Services, said he often thinks of his mother's advice when working with credit unions who may not have actively managed their card portfolios in years-if ever.
Blouin explained that credit unions facing a slowing or stagnating card portfolio can sometimes be paralyzed by indecision about how to fix or improve it. His mother's advice, which he said she applied to everything from big, life decisions to washing the dishes can be particularly apt. "People sometimes don't understand that not making a decision is, in fact, making a decision."
My mother--well, what a trip. I am a military brat and my mother, always the philanthropist, wound up in many a boardroom credit union committee meeting. We have pictures of us in a playpen in several different Air Force base credit union boardrooms while our mother was piling through credit committee loans, supervisory committee audit worksheets, etc. I guess it stuck.
As for myself years later, a young, newly married, military wife with an accounting degree but a transient life, I did the same thing. Then one day found myself working for a very small, troubled credit union. Things progressed from there. Two credit unions and a few CPA and consulting firms later, I am the CEO of a $120 million very successful credit union. Sometimes even those so young, in playpens in boardrooms, can be a future leader. It is never too late to start training a credit union CEO.
Novartis Federal Credit Union
East Hanover, N.J.
My mom always taught me that above all I should treat people like I wanted to be treated. Those lessons in civility carried over directly into credit unions. It's the central directive that I have passed on to my daughter.
World Council of Credit Unions
There are many things that my mom instilled in me that have helped my career. A strong work ethic-my mom was a working mom in the day when most moms were housewives. She worked hard at her career and always told us that no task (big or small) was beneath somebody and that, big or small, you should always take pride in your work and do your best.
Find something to love about every person. She was a big believer in genuinely caring about people. She said that you could always find at least one thing to love in a person. She always focused on the positive.
Senior Vice President
CU Members Mortgage
My mother was a professional educator. She had the special qualities of initiative and perseverance, and her favorite saying was where there's a will, there's a way. These values served our family well and have been instilled in my own work life. She's 92 years old, no longer teaching professionally, but still a powerful influence in the way I do business.
Eastern Corporate Federal Credit Union
Mom taught me to always stick up for what you believe in, even if it's not popular.
On a personal level, she taught me the importance of attending my children's school activities to show support. She also has a wide range of friends, and this taught me the importance of broadening your horizons. You don't learn anything if you only spend time with people who share your philosophy.
Kentucky Employees Credit Union
She taught me that every day is a blessing and you should enjoy it to the fullest. She also showed me by example that you get out of something what you put into it. You start a day thinking it is going to be a good one and it generally is.