Community Service

‘Hero’ Kase Proud to Help Members Start Their Financial Lives

It has been an eventful year for Wisconsin and Credit Union Magazine’s CU Hero of the Year.

June 18, 2012
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An eventful year for the Dairy State—replete with an attempted gubernatorial recall and "Dancing With the Stars" glory for Green Bay Packers receiver Donald Driver—has become still more noteworthy: Landmark Credit Union CEO Ron Kase accepted Credit Union Magazine’s 2012 Credit Union Hero of the Year Award during the America’s Credit Union Conference in San Diego.

“This award will top all of those other things,” Kase joked during his acceptance speech.

Kase will retire in January 2013 after nearly 40 years serving the credit union movement.

He has a lot to be proud of, including the creation of 450 jobs in Southeastern Wisconsin. But Kase says he’s most proud “of the fact that through my years here at Landmark we’ve been able to help many people help themselves at the start of their economic lives.”

Those efforts include the creation of:

  • A first-time homebuyer program, which waives all closing costs for qualifying first-time buyers;
  • A rescue refinance program, which helped members at the beginning of the recent recession break free of subprime mortgages;
  • Home-buying and credit counseling seminars, offered in English, Spanish, and Hmong; and
  • A Hispanic initiative, which includes hiring bilingual staff, serving as an authorized Internal Revenue Service representative in issuing individual taxpayer identification numbers, issuing Matricula Consular cards, and offering inexpensive ($5) wire transfer services.

In addition, Kase’s leadership and dedication to community service helped Landmark win second place in the national 2008 Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Award program.

In 2010, Kase accepted the Midwest Urban Empowerment Award in the finance category for his leadership in developing financial services for Milwaukee’s urban community.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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