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Community CU Award Winners Embody Ideals of the Movement

Judges praised entrants for new and innovative products and services.

October 29, 2012
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Community CU Conference

CUNA's Community Credit Union of the Year Awards recognize and honor community credit unions that best exemplify the principles of the credit union movement while serving as a positive influence in the field of service.

Four credit unions received the honor during a ceremony Thursday at CUNA's Community Credit Union & Growth Conference in Denver.

Winners among credit unions with more than $250 million in assets:

  • First place: First Community Credit Union, Jamestown, N.D.
  • Honorable mention: 1st MidAmerica Credit Union, Bethalto, Ill.

Winners among credit unions with less than $250 million in assets:

  • First place: Gulf Coast Community Federal Credit Union, Gulfport, Miss.
  • Honorable mention: Dakotaland Federal Credit Union, Huron, S.D.

The awards program is open to community chartered credit unions and those with multiple select employee groups. This includes credit unions that, in all aspects, consistently excel in the advancement of the ideals of the credit union movement, are proactive in their community, and provide a wide array of services that meet the needs of their diverse communities.

Judges praised this year’s entries for their:

  • New and innovative products and services;
  • Commitment to community involvement;
  • Involvement of employees and strong community partnerships; and
  • Dedication to keeping members in good standing and ability to manage additional risk.

From left: Pete Dzuris, CEO of Northland Area FCU, Oscoda, Mich., CUNA Board member, and chairman of CUNA’s Community CU Committee; Emily Remund, marketing assistant, Dakotaland FCU, Huron, S.D.; Dawn Muthchelknaus, vice president of marketing, Dakotaland FCU; Angie Cumbee; and Dan Cumbee, president/CEO, Dakotaland FCU.


From left: Dzuris; Lisa Graham, president/CEO, Gulf Coast Community FCU, Gulfport, Miss.; and Debbie Pidek, executive vice president/chief communications officer, Gulf Coast Community FCU.


Dzuris and Amber Scott, vice president of marketing, 1st MidAmerica CU, Bethalto, Ill.


Dzuris and Janna Bergstedt, marketing manager, First Community CU, Jamestown, N.D.

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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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