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CHICAGO – A credit union member for some 25 years and a board member for eight years, Alliant Credit Union’s new board chairman John Samolis loves serving and is excited about where the credit union is headed. He says the recent name change and strategic change to not just serve United Airlines employees but expand its wings to serve other SEGs is one of the credit union’s shining moments. “We’re in an interesting strategic mode now in filling board seats,” said Samolis. “Traditionally when you’re a single source CU you’d go within United and keep an eye toward diversity not just gender and race but positions in the company. Now that we’ve spread our wings we’re also trying to expand the reach of the board members and in fact we’ve just nominated our first board member from a SEG. Our nominating committee has a tougher job but it’s the right thing to do from a representation standpoint.” Samolis says many would be surprised to learn that the majority of the 11-member board are not only retirees of United Airlines but are also gainfully employed at Fortune 500 companies which adds great business practice and best practice perspective. “It helps to have such a great organization as Alliant CU given its size and history of excellence to entice potential board members,” said Samolis. He adds that term limits help keep a flow of new blood and it is equally important to consider not only a person’s experience but also finding the right chemistry to have a board that can get along and work effectively together. Graduating from John Carroll University with a bachelor`s degree in psychology Samolis knows a little something about fostering good relations. A former United Airlines vice president for labor relations and people services, Samolis managed the relationship between the airline and its labor units that represented 55,000 United employees and served as chief spokesperson when negotiating with pilots, flight attendants and ground employees’ unions. In his people services role, Samolis managed a $50 million budget with a staff of 450 employees responsible for monitoring employment, compensation and benefits, diversity, international personnel and automation and training for the airline’s 90,000 employees worldwide. Currently Vice President of Employee and Labor Relations for Exelon Corporation, one of the largest electric and gas utilities, Samolis is the company’s chief labor strategist and serves as chief spokesman for labor contract negotiation managing some 10 labor agreements in five states. “What’s great about Alliant is that despite our size, there is very much a family atmosphere here. The board participates and gets involved with employee functions whether it is working at a car show or charity events,” said Samolis. “First and foremost the role of the board is to make sure the credit union lives up to principle No. 1 of returning to members and continuing to run a top flight organization. We’ve also got to watch that we as the board stay at the 30,000 foot strategic level rather than nitpicking the day to day operations.” Recently, Alliant CU’s board and management took a survey to gauge how they perceive each other in terms of what’s actually being done and what should be done. “It’s the first time we did this type of survey and it is surprising how well connected we were in the bigger picture sense,” said Samolis. “Everyone was very honest so it also provided some eye opening results that ultimately will help make our relationship even better.” While there isn’t much free time for hobbies, Samolis tries to make time to visit his private “slice of heaven” – a home on Amelia Island in Florida and work on his golf swing. [email protected]

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