CU Link announces the winner of their ‘Stories’ competition

LANSING, MI (December 20, 2021) — Congratulations to Dort Financial Credit Union, the winner of the CU Link Banking Built for People “Stories” competition and the official Banking Built for People Credit Union Community Champion of the Year!

CU Link kicked off its Banking Built for People cooperative advertising campaign by inviting credit unions to participate in “Stories,” a social media video contest to show how credit unions are built to serve people as exhibited by a unique program, event, community partnership or individual member story. From the many moving submissions, 16 winning stories were selected and produced into videos by CUBE TV Studios before being posted to the CU Link Facebook page. 

On Nov. 29, a bracket-style competition launched on Facebook. Every share and reaction (like, love, etc.) to the posted videos counted as one vote. Dort Financial Credit Union’s story, Go Find Your Own Joy, really had an impact—garnering more than 406 votes!

“Thank you to all our Michigan credit unions that joined in on this contest and submitted your amazing stories,” said MCUL CEO Patty Corkery. “Sharonda brought happy tears to my eyes. She is amazing and so is her and Sheriff Swanson’s story. During this chaotic and divided year, this story is a message of hope and love. Congratulations to Dort Financial!” 

Go Find Your Own Joy!
The Genesee County Sheriff, Chris Swanson, gained nationwide notoriety when he and his team of Sheriffs removed their riot gear and marched with George Floyd protestors in Flint, Michigan last May. Since that time Sheriff Swanson has continued to generate a dialogue and movement to create change between law enforcement and the communities they serve. This movement began with delivering water to the citizens of Flint during the water crisis in 2014, he founded the Genesee Human Oppression Strike Team (GHOST) in 2018 to combat human trafficking and instituted the Inmate Growth Naturally and Intentionally Through Education (IGNITE) in 2018 when he took office. To state the obvious, Sheriff Swanson is a changemaker and seeks to align himself with other individuals that can make a difference in the world. Fast forward to January 30th, 2021 when Sheriff Swanson visited a Dort Financial Credit Union virtual teller machine (VTM). This was not going to be the typical quick transaction when Sharonda Goza, a Dort Financial video center team member, appeared on the screen. Sheriff Swanson immediately felt her enthusiasm in connecting with members on the other side of the VTM. After their initial greeting and performing his transaction Sheriff Swanson started filming a Facebook livestream with Sharonda. He began the stream with the question “you know what brings me joy?” He introduced Sharonda “as the happiest teller in all of the United States”.

The video stream was captioned “Joy finds Joy! Go find yours TODAY!” and posted on Sheriff Swanson’s personal Facebook page. Dort Financial shared the post with the following: “Have you found your joy today? Thanks to Sheriff Chris Swanson for sharing a powerful message this weekend and featuring one of our friendly VTM tellers, Sharonda”. Between the two posts there were 12.1K views, 784 likes, 83 comments, and 86 shares! Sheriff Chris Swanson was so moved by the multitude of comments on his Facebook post about Sharonda that he paid her a visit a week later on February 6th, 2021. He brought Ken Nwadike, Jr. a peace activist, American documentary filmmaker, and motivational speaker from the Free Hugs Project along with Adam Mizel from PTTOW a social justice task force that helps to mobilize movements like the “Walk With Us” organization created by Sheriff Swanson. Both men flew in from Los Angeles, California to help make a very special moment happen. These three change makers had a special gift for Sharonda. In a Facebook livestream Sharonda, along with her family, were presented with a gift to pay their mortgage forward. Sheriff Swanson explained that after reading the many comments from people that were touched by Sharonda’s “friendly and positive” personality that he had to do something for her. They gave her a monetary gift to pay her mortgage payment until June 1st, 2021. Sheriff Swanson said he wanted to honor people like Sharonda who are “changing the world one at a time,” and that the gift was made possible through the Black & Blue Podcast and Walk With Us. “We are so proud and happy to have Sharonda on our team”, said Vicki Hawkins, President and CEO. She added, “Not only does she bring joy to our members, but she is a positive and shining example of the exceptional service that we strive to provide here at Dort Financial Credit Union.” Please visit the Dort Financial Facebook page or the Chris Swanson Facebook page and search for “Sharonda” to view both livestream posts.

All the stories can be viewed here:

A huge thank you to the 16 participating credit unions and everyone who voted. This fun competition certainly reached its goal of increasing engagement and awareness of the many incredible things Michigan credit unions accomplish in their communities every day. The campaign has reached almost 300 thousand Michiganders on Facebook, with an impressive engagement rate of over 13%.

About Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL)

The Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL) is headquartered in Lansing, Michigan. The 187 Michigan credit unions, which hold $101 billion in assets, serve 60% of the state’s population. During the twelve months ending September 2023, Michigan credit unions provided its 6 million members with a total of $762 million in direct financial benefits.

About CU LinkFor more than two decades, CU Link has served as Michigan’s largest credit union cooperative advertising campaign. It’s a not-for-profit model that creates an environment to showcase not only financial support but hope and security for each person served by Michigan credit unions. The overall goal of the media plan is to maximize target reach and engagement as efficiently as possible. Over the past several years, CU Link has fully optimized media outlets to reach millions of viewers throughout our state. The 2021 engagement plan will expand media outreach to Out-of-Home (billboards) and Gas Station TV across the state for those traveling in peak summer months.


Shawn Glinis
Media and Publications Editor
Michigan Credit Union League
734.793.3449 |

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