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24 leaders & organizations honored for excellence, achievements, and contributions to the credit union movement

Leagues announce annual awards to CU professionals, volunteers, and others

ONTARIO, CA (September 14, 2023) — The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues are pleased to announce recipients of this year’s League Awards, Advocacy Awards, and Network Awards!

Twenty-four industry leaders, volunteers, professionals, credit unions, and organizations — including Leo H. Shapiro Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Lucy Ito (interim president and CEO of Orange County’s CU) — will be honored at a special ceremony during REACH 2023. REACH is the industry’s premier annual conference for credit union leaders and guests from October 22-26 in Las Vegas, NV — hosted by the Leagues.

For 49 years, these unique honors bestowed by the Leagues have culminated each autumn in a nationally recognized, peer-nominated awards program that spotlights some of the movement’s most loyal, sacrificial, and brightest leaders who have dedicated their lives to credit unions and their members.

The following are this year’s honorees:

2023 Leo H. Shapiro Lifetime Achievement Award: This is the California Credit Union League’s highest recognition, honoring excellence in credit union philosophy and a lifetime of contributions to the California credit union movement. It is named after Leo H. Shapiro, father of the California credit union movement and founder of the California Credit Union League.

  • Lucy Ito, Interim President and CEO of Orange County’s CU.

2023 Distinguished Service Award: Honors credit union professionals’ ongoing and current contributions to the credit union community.

  • Eric Estes, President and CEO of Boulder Dam CU.

2023 Social Impact Award (individual) — Honors individuals who demonstrate an unyielding dedication to building stronger communities and improving members’ lives.

  • Erica Taylor, Vice President of Communications and Community Relations for Golden 1 CU (individual).

2023 Social Impact Award (organization) — Honors credit unions that demonstrate an unyielding dedication to building stronger communities and improving members’ lives.

  • Comunidad Latina FCU (organization).
  • SAFE CU (organization).
  • Valley Strong CU (organization).

2023 J. Alvin George Outstanding Volunteer Award: Honors significant contributions by people who serve credit unions in volunteer capacities.

  • Howard Welinsky, Board Director of First Entertainment CU.
  • Mary Yasui-Yamabe, Board Director of Kinecta FCU.

2023 Tomorrow’s Star Award: Honors the efforts of up-and-coming credit union leaders aged 35 and under, and encourages the development of future leaders.

  • Vanessa Torquato, Vice President of Administration for Mocse CU.
  • Megan Pieper, Vice President of Marketing and eCommerce for WestStar CU.

2023 Kim Bannan Eternal Flame Award (individual): Honors individuals’ contributions to the success of Shapiro Group credit unions.

  • Heri Garcia, President and CEO of Thinkwise CU (individual).

2023 Kim Bannan Eternal Flame Award (organization): Honors credit unions and other organizations’ contributions to the success of Shapiro Group credit unions.

  • American Share Insurance/Excess Share Insurance (organization).

2023 Advocacy Awards: Honors those displaying extraordinary leadership in credit union advocacy and political action.

  • California PAC Advocate of the Year: Jenna Lampson, President and CEO of Pacific Service CU.
  • Nevada PAC Advocate of the Year: Sue Longson, Advocacy Specialist for Boulder Dam CU.
  • Volunteer of the Year: Terrance Tremelling, Chair of the Board of Directors for SAFE CU.
  • Shapiro Advocate of the Year: Sara Klein, President and CEO of Organized Labor CU.
  • Nevada Advocate of the Year: Jennifer Denoo, President and CEO of Great Basin FCU.
  • California Advocate of the Year: Brett Martinez, President and CEO of Redwood CU.
  • Political Professional of the Year: Flora Nafei, Executive Director of Credit Union Affairs for Patelco CU.
  • Nevada Advocate Credit Union of the Year: Clark County CU.
  • California Advocate Credit Union of the Year: SAFE CU.
  • Supplier of the Year: TruStage.

2023 Network Award of Excellence: Honors excellence in volunteerism within League Chapters.

  • Noreen Guevara, Silicon Valley Network (individual).
  • Orange County Network (network).

“These leaders, volunteers, professionals, credit unions, and organizations have all make their unique and enduring mark on our movement,” said Diana Dykstra, president and CEO of the Leagues. “For this, we celebrate their impressive work and spirit that has made them true leaders who we recognize as visionaries and heroes. We look forward to honoring them in person at REACH 2023!”

Lucy Ito, Honoree of the 2023 Leo H. Shapiro Lifetime Achievement Award, and Interim President and CEO of Orange County’s CU.


About California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues

Headquartered in Ontario, California, the Leagues exist to help credit unions change people’s lives by supporting their operations, guidance, strategy and philosophy. Our trade association helps local credit unions in California serve more than 13.5 million members and those in Nevada serve nearly 400,000 members. Credit unions are for people, not profit!

Contacts

Diana Dykstra
(415) 359-4406
dianad@ccul.org

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