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SAN ANTONIO – Sue Turner Brigadier General USAF (Ret) had always been drawn to credit unions because throughout her 30-year military career they seemed to be everywhere she was. “I became a credit union volunteer at San Antonio Federal Credit Union in 1998 because it sounded like fun yet a challenge, and I was right,” said Turner. “I served on the supervisory committee first, chaired it for two years, then was elected to the board of directors and it has been a great experience.” Turner served as board vice chair from 2001-2003 and currently chairs the governance committee at San Antonio Federal Credit Union. She says despite having a full range of different personalities, skills and experiences, as a collective body everyone on the nine-person board works well together. She adds that one of the greatest accomplishments of the board has been the group effort expended to create the first edition of its Board Governance Policy document. When the board first began drafting its Board Governance Policy document, it was determined there would be four standing committees consisting of finance, retirement, governance, and nominating. Later, a public affairs committee was added. “The value of these committees is that important and often time-consuming board business can be discussed and debated ad nauseam in committee,” said Turner. “Board members know that when committees bring a concise recommendation to the board meeting that issues have been adequately and appropriately dissected and discussed by the directors on those committees.” The board as a whole works well together. Turner says turnover is low but as they are cognizant of the necessity for bringing new volunteers into the fold often the supervisory committee serves as a training ground for potential board members. “We expect new supervisory committee members to use the time to gain knowledge, skills, and experience dealing with credit union issues and challenges,” said Turner. “It’s given the nominating committee a rich pool of in-house candidates to consider, especially when unexpected board vacancies occur. This year we’re focusing on buffing up our nominating process and working hard to find ways to make our recruiting activities a year-round process.” Despite not having term limits, a Director Emeritus (DE) program initiated last year has helped open up board seats without losing valuable board expertise, leadership, and history. Directors who wish to continue to serve can do so, yet new blood can be brought into the mix. All DE appointments are for three years and may be renewed. “The biggest challenge for volunteers has always been initially learning what goes on in our own credit union and in `credit union land’. It is one thing being a member-partner; it is quite another to serve on the supervisory committee; and it is then quite another again to serve on the board,” said Turner. “The initial learning curve doesn’t change, regardless of what each of us brings to the mix. Getting appointed or elected is the easy part. Learning what you don’t know that you don’t know. is not so easy.” To stay current SACU Board members attend at least one national credit union conference a year and have found the online volunteer training programs helpful. “We also try to take advantage of other periodic training opportunities. For example, when we wanted to better understand our options regarding board governance, we sent a contingent of seven volunteers and two senior staff members to an on-site training seminar with a renowned expert in board governance policy. On other occasions, we brought in experts to help us improve our board programs. Both are excellent ways to blend their expertise with our people and programs,” said Turner. During her 30-year military service, Turner was the former director of nursing services in the Office of the Air Force Surgeon General at Bolling AFB in Washington D.C. She served two tours of duty in San Antonio as chief of the Division of Nursing at Wilford Hall Medical Center in 1990 and as a nurse at the hospital at Lackland AFB in 1969. Her military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters and numerous humanitarian awards for outstanding performance. Since her retirement in 1995, San Antonio has been home and Turner hasn’t had as much free time as she thought she would. “At this point in my life, when I officially retired, I thought all my time would be `down’ time,” said Turner. “As it turned out, President Bush appointed me to two national commissions: in 2001, to the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), and in 2005, to the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC). It’s an honor and a privilege to be asked to serve on these important commissions.” Turner is one of nine members who will consider the Department of Defense’s recommendations, conduct on-site visits throughout the United States and submit a final list of recommendations to the President by September 7, 2005. “Where and when I have free time, I do enjoy putzing about the yard and garden. I also enjoy helping rising star executives and entrepreneurs figure out how to do things and manage situations better. I get a kick out of being a mentor, a resource and a sounding board for them,” said Turner. [email protected]

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