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Q&A: Lisa Ginter, CommunityAmerica's New CEO

Earlier this month, CommunityAmerica Credit Union (Kansas City) announced that it hired the new chief executive officer from within. Lisa Ginter, chief operating officer (COO) for CommunityAmerica, becomes CEO March 1.

“Her values-based leadership fits perfectly in helping us achieve our mission of building financial success for our membership,” says Brad Douglas, CommunityAmerica Board Chairman. “She will take us beyond that as we continue to grow and attract members who want a better banking alternative.” 

Since joining CommunityAmerica in 1995, Ginter has served in several positions, including overseeing Information Services, Mortgage and Electronic Services. As COO, she is responsible for the management of all member touch points and oversees the marketing and business development functions of the credit union.

But Ginter’s passion for credit unions began even earlier in her career. Upon her graduation from Rockhurst University (Kansas City), she served as a credit union auditor for a CPA firm. Later, her expertise and professional skillset would propel her into leadership roles, such as president of Catholic Family Credit Union and chief financial officer (CFO) for the School Employees Credit Union. 

Ginter’s achievements are numerous:

  • She holds the designation of Certified Chief Executive Officer (CCE) from Credit Union Executives Society (CUES)
  • She graduated from the Advanced Leadership Institute at Harvard Business School
  • She was selected as one of KC Magazine’s “Influential Women”
  • She was selected as a “Women Who Mean Business” honoree by the Kansas City Business Journal

Check out our exclusive Q&A with Ginter below. 

1. You’ve been with CACU since 1995. Did you always know you wanted to lead the credit union?

From the moment I first experienced the credit union difference, I was hooked. I recognized the impact that this industry made on people’s lives and I knew I wanted to serve in a capacity to make a difference. I am passionate about credit unions. I started my career in 1986 in accounting (actually auditing credit unions) and others quickly realized that I was more than a numbers person. I had some great mentors over my career and feel very blessed where I am today.

2. You helped found the Women's Association of Credit Union Leaders (WACUL) to empower and expand the number of women in leadership positions. How does it feel to walk the walk?

What is most amazing about being part of this group is the caliber of individuals we have in this industry. The group is about personal and professional development and it has been fun to watch the number of women advance professionally. I am grateful to be among this group and the experiences we have shared over the last five years.

3. What are you most looking forward to in your new position?

I am looking forward to seeing our members continue to thrive financially, as well as our employees. Additionally, I look forward to seeing our employees continue their path of professional growth. We have a strong focus on people in our organization so the recruitment and retention of top talent will be critical in the coming years.

4. As a leader, from where do you draw inspiration?

I draw my inspiration from passionate people. I was blessed to grow up in a large family where my parents instilled in their children that all things are possible. They were passionate about their children’s success and it shows in how all of my siblings and me live our lives. I love to surround myself with smart, talented people that I can learn a lot from, personally and professionally.

5. Any other thoughts you’d like to share about becoming CEO?

For me, it is not about being in a role that calls me a CEO. It is about being in a role that makes a difference with people. 

Ginter will be taking over for Dennis Pierce, who has been CommunityAmerica's CEO since 1998. Pierce is currently Chairman of the Credit Union National Association, the nation’s leading credit union organization serving 6,950 state and federally chartered credit unions. He has also been Chairman of the Board of the Missouri Credit Union Association and the National Association of Credit Union Service Organizations.