A Tireless Advocate

Q&A with Wegner Award-winner Hubert H. Hoosman, Jr.

February 24, 2013
KEYWORDS award , hoosman , movement , wegner
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Hubert H. Hoosman, Jr., president/CEO of $701 million asset Vantage Credit Union in Bridgeton, Mo., will receive the Herb Wegner Award for Individual Achievement this month during CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.

For more than 30 years, Hoosman has been a tireless advocate for credit union philosophy. He recently discussed the award and his career with Credit Union Magazine.

RELATED: Meet the 2013 Wegner Award Recipients

Hoosman: To win the Herb Wegner Award is a true honor. When I think of previous recipients, I am humbled to be viewed in the same light of those who have been the heroes of our movement, and served as mentors of my career. This award is an honor to my family, volunteers, and an awesome credit union team.

Hoosman: Developing your career from the ground floor up gives you a true appreciation of what “people helping people” is all about.

Working an entry-level position allowed me to have a true appreciation for the value of our front-line employees as well as set appropriate standards of performance in the best interest of our member-owners.

My goals have always been to create an environment for my team that I would appreciate. I constantly ask myself, "Would I like working for me?"

Hoosman: All my life there has been someone there for me: parents, siblings, teachers, coaches, or professional peers.

Any individual accomplishment is an accumulation of your support system/team. I feel it has been my responsibility, personally and professionally, to share my resources and experience to uplift my community.

Hoosman: Supporting the World Council in partnership with the African American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC) and as CEO of Vantage Credit Union validated the spirit of our national and international movement.

Frankly, I've always been amazed that more U.S.-based credit unions are not on board. The World Council literally makes a difference in life survival of many members around the world. This is an organization that walks the talk.

As a representative of the AACUC, World Council coordinated numerous initiatives that allowed us to team up the Louisiana Credit Union League and Irish Credit Union Movement, as well as nonprofits from Canada, to assist in numerous projects in Africa.

World Council makes a difference and needs more support from U.S.-based credit unions as well as other established movements around the world.

Hoosman: Dr. Martin Luther King was an enormous influence on my life as well as the direction of our country.

The Civil Rights Movement and the national credit union movement parallel one another from a core value perspective of fairness and equality for the people. Justice, hope, democracy, and love of the Civil Rights Movement could have easily been the guiding principles of the national credit union movement.

I was thrilled when the AACUC allowed me to be the chairman of the campaign. It gave me an opportunity to meet many of my peers. The support was awesome, but the experience was priceless.

The Herb Wegner Memorial Awards, presented by the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF), will be held Feb. 25 in Washington, D.C during CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference.

NCUF is the credit union movement’s primary philanthropic pro-gram provider, fund raiser, and grant-maker in the U.S.

The Wegner Awards are named in honor of late CUNA CEO Herb Wegner, whose dedication, innovative ideas, and deeds truly revolutionized how credit unions serve their communities.

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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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