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CAM: Honoring State-Level CUNA & Professionals of the Year Winners

The Heartland Credit Union Association's (HCUA) first-ever Convention & Annual Meeting offered attendees valuable insights from industry leaders. They learned about distributed ledger technology (blockchain), the steps to effective leadership, strategies behind storytelling and thriving in the "experience economy," and tips for creating and maintaining relationships to better serve members. All participants will receive an email with links to the speakers' presentation soon. 

A major highlight of Convention & Annual Meeting, Thursday's (October 6) awards breakfast honored the 2016 state-level CUNA award winners and the two recipients of the 2016 Professional of the Year award -- Larry Damm, of Skyward Credit Union (Wichita, KS), and Garth Strand, of Heartland Credit Union (Hutchinson, KS). These two Kansas credit union CEOs have a few things in common. Together, they have more than 60 years of experience and dedication to the credit union industry. Both grew their respective credit unions in assets, loans and members. Both are active in their communities and advocate every day for credit unions. Both are proven leaders, encouraging their own staff and supporting the industry as a whole. Both retired within the last month.

         Larry Damm, Skyward CU   Garth Strand, Heartland CU

Larry Damm, Skyward Credit Union
Larry Damm exemplifies the credit union motto of “People Helping People” in both his professional and personal life, as noted on his awards nomination. He started his credit union career as a volunteer 35 years ago. Under Damm’s leadership, the credit union expanded its services to become a full service financial institution and assets, loans and membership grew. Skyward Credit Union partnered with other local credit unions to form a CUSO to better serve its members, and Damm supported and developed his staff, evident by the success of his credit union. 

Garth Strand, Heartland Credit Union
Garth Strand portrays leadership that not only fosters growth, but also a financially strong credit union, positioned to safely grow well into the future. A credit union veteran of 35 years, he managed branch expansions as well as new branch buildings, and developed a strong financial literacy program to support members and the community. Heartland Credit Union’s assets, loans and members grew, as well as the staff. Developing young leaders is important to Strand, as he developed an internal training program and supports the Association’s CUlead leadership program. 

The Professional of the Year award winners were selected by the HCUA Awards Committee, made up of credit union leaders from Kansas and Missouri.

Credit unions also put the "people helping people" philosophy into action by donating to the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals of Greater Kansas City Palliative Care program. CMN representatives were thankful for wish list donations (toys and supplies) as well as monetary support shown by Kansas and Missouri credit unions. Thank you to all who supported the Kansas City CMN Hospital.

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