A Message From Todd Mason: The Importance of Recognizing Your Peers

We have a long and rich history of excellence in Maine’s credit union movement. The names of three of our chapters, Alex Ferguson, Jeannette G. Morin, and Norm Nolette, serve as constant reminders of leaders that exemplify that excellence. We also have an annual tradition of recognizing those among us who do extraordinary work through our awards program, led by our Awards and Convention Committee.

In reflecting back on your social media posts, media coverage, websites, and newsletters, and also in the conversations I’ve had with many of you, it is safe to say every credit union regularly goes above and beyond in some way. It could be a board member making a meaningful connection between their personal, professional, and credit union lives; an employee that guided a member through a tough financial situation; a CEO working with their credit union to support a local initiative in their community; or it could be any of the other innumerable ways we carry out the People Helping People philosophy.

While this past year has demonstrated how excellent we are, there is one thing we are not excellent at. We need to get better at recognizing the greatness among us. At the time I wrote this article, we only had two submissions for our four convention awards. These awards rely on your nominations:

  • James M. Gratto Award: Honors an outstanding credit union CEO.
  • Jeannette G. Morin Award: Recognizes the credit union employee of the year.
  • Alex Ferguson Award: Pays tribute to the credit union volunteer of the year.
  • Diane J. Oceretko People Helping People Award: Acknowledges an individual from the Maine credit union movement who is active in community service, volunteering, and goes above and beyond to help others in need.

This is not unusual. Every year, we don’t get nearly as many nominations as we should. We can and must do better! Awards not only recognize excellence, they inspire it!

If you know someone that fits one of the four awards listed above, you have until April 29 to submit your nomination. The awards will be announced at the League’s Annual Convention, taking place this year on August 19 and 20 at the Holiday Inn by the Bay.

You don’t have to look too far for inspiration. Credit union leaders are all around us and include a rich roster of past award recipients. Even in the middle of the pandemic last year, we took time to recognize several exceptional credit union representatives:

  • James M. Gratto Award: Scott Harriman, CEO at Cumberland County FCU
  • Jeannette G. Morin Award: Kirstyn Birkbeck, AVP of Deposit Operations at Community CU
  • Alexander Ferguson Award: Linda Dulac, longtime Board Chair at Maine Highlands FCU
  • Diane J. Oceretko Award: Kayleigh Ogden, Payment Services Coordinator at Community CU

So please do not delay—get your nominations in soon!