Finding inspiration through change

Life can be a whirlwind and these days two things come to mind: change and inspiration. Personally, and professionally, we go through an extraordinary amount of change, and it helps us grow and builds our strength for the next change.

This year, I had the amazing opportunity to watch my first born walk across the stage at their high school graduation—this little baby who I raised and watched grow into an extraordinary person. Everyone has asked me, are you sad? I avoid the question because I haven’t reached the sad stage. I am happy that this person is going to take the journey they want to take, and I will be here to support and encourage them every chance I get.

They inspire me! They inspire me to keep going and do the things that I love and that bring me joy.

In this ever-changing world, who inspires you? Who brings you joy?

In this wonderful credit union system, I think of Herb Wegner Award Winner Lois Kitsch! I was lucky enough to work alongside her for many years. Six months after working at The Foundation, I was part of the April 2012 “Best Class Ever” of DEs. I remember day three of DE when I told Lois I wasn’t sure that I could make it through DE and as only she could, she reminded me to “trust the process”. I’ll always feel lucky to have been part of many of her master plans. “Jenni,” she would say, “We want to do a toast for change the last day of DE workshop.” My reply, “Sure, Lois!” with a “how the heck am I going to pull this off” look on my face. She inspired me to think outside the box and use the resources around me.

I think of Maurice Smith, retired President/CEO of LGFCU in North Carolina. I had heard about him and got the chance to meet him for the first time on the day of his Herb Wegner Award video shoot. To be in that room and listen to him tell his story and talk about his family was a true highlight of my career. He is someone that uses every second of the day to impact and improve the lives of everyone around him. And his words always make you think a little harder about what more you can do—“I press the credit union, my colleagues, to work harder, to seek more answers, to be more innovative. For every day that we haven’t found a way to help communities thrive and prosper it’s another day that families and households find themselves lacking. I take that personal but we as credit unions have never taken on small tasks. It’s going to come down to our ability to convince people that we can make their dreams come true.”

And I think of Linda Bodie, Chief + Innovator at Element FCU in West Virginia. I finally met her after I watched her Herb Wegner Award video multiple times, tearing up at each viewing. Listening to her speech cemented in me how perseverance and believing in yourself builds passion, purpose, and commitment. Her words truly spoke to me—“Being authentically me and actually loving myself allows me to use my full self to understand and help others.”

The list could go on and on. Our credit union system is fortunate to have so many people doing amazing work. Who are those people that are quietly making an impact on people’s lives, your life? They should be celebrated and recognized for their tireless efforts to create change and move things forward in new and impactful ways.

I encourage you to nominate someone, an organization, or program for the Herb Memorial Award. You never know—someone you may know or something you may be part of could be the next Herb Wegner Memorial Award Winner.


Contact The Foundation

Contact The Foundation

Jenni Speth, CUDE

Jenni Speth, CUDE

Jenni Speth is the Engagement Director for the National Credit Union Foundation, the philanthropic and social responsibility leader of America's credit union movement. Working side by side with the Chief ... Web: Details