Walling Celebrates 40 Years of CU Service

Christian Community CU CEO is honored during the credit union’s 55th annual meeting.

June 27, 2012
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“Few CEOs today have the creativity, the passion, and the energy to reach the 20-year mark in a single organization. Yet John Walling has continued to reinvent himself as president and CEO over a remarkable 40-year career at Christian Community Credit Union,” says John Pearson, board chairman for the San Dimas, Calif.-based institution.

Walling joined what was then the American Baptist Credit Union in 1972 as assistant manager. At the time, the $7 million asset credit union had one branch and 5,700 members who used passbooks to record their transactions.

Today, Christian Community has grown to more than $532 million in assets and serves more than 29,500 churches and ministries and their members in more than 100 countries.

In 1978, Walling was named general manager, and in 1984 the board of directors appointed him as president/CEO.

Walling currently serves as a board member of Payment Systems for Credit Unions, and is the treasurer of Christian Community’s board of directors.

“My 40 years have been an incredibly blessed experience in working with our outstanding staff and supportive and encouraging board of directors and supervisory committee,” Walling says. “. The Credit Union’s continued success is a collective effort of many people.”

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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 ( 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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