Leadership beyond the office

Embracing outside leadership opportunities can strengthen women's roles within their credit unions and provide a valuable assist to the industry.

Angela Hanson’s first leadership experience began with a summer job. Now the chief innovation officer at $283.5 million Heartland Credit Union, Madison, Wis., she was just a teenager when she was tasked with managing a local swimming pool and coaching an 80-person swim team. A lesser soul might have thrown up her hands over the amount of work required, but Hanson was undaunted, even inspired.

“It was at this point that I knew I wanted to find a career where I could influence change, help people draw out their strengths and make a difference in a business and community,” recalls Hanson, a CUES member. “And there is no better place to do this than a credit union.”

The credit union industry has served as a springboard for her involvement in leadership activities outside of the immediate organization: This is Hanson’s second year serving as chairman for the Wisconsin CUES Council Board. Eight years ago, she earned her SHRM-CP certification; she is a SHRM member as well. Although finding the time for all these activities can be tricky—especially with three active kids and a demanding workload—she says it’s been worth the effort.


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