CUES Honors Six During Online Celebration

2020 CUES Awards
Theresa Witham Photo
VP/Publications & Publisher

5 minutes

Congratulations to these dedicated credit union award winners.

CUES announced the winners of its annual individual awards and the class of 2020 Hall of Fame inductees during a special online celebration on November 19, immediately after Knowledge & Networking November—CUES’ online conference experience—concluded.

Lindsey Walker, executive assistant with Tampa Bay Federal Credit Union in Tampa Bay, Florida, was honored as the 2020 CUES® Emerging Leader. 

As one of five Finalists, Walker’s route to the podium began via her acceptance to the first CUES Emerge cohort. Upon completion of the education phase, her submitted business case was reviewed by a team of judges, placing her in the Top 5. On September 16, it culminated in Walker and the four other finalists presenting their business cases during an online pitch show, hosted by Tim McAlpine of Currency.  

Walker’s business case addressed the need to reduce linguistic barriers through a Hispanic Outreach Program. Due to the large influx of immigrants from Spanish-speaking countries in her area, Walker outlined a program to provide marketing collateral and documentation in Spanish. 

“It is both an honor and a privilege to represent the 2020 cohort as the CUES Emerging Leader. The group was comprised of such talented individuals that I genuinely believe that we all walked away better leaders in the industry,” she said during her acceptance. “This exposure will have a lasting impact in our community and I hope that by sharing Tampa Bay Federal’s Hispanic outreach program that others take advantage of the information and further reduce linguistic barriers in the industry.”

Ricky Otey, EVP/chief operations officer of Sharonview Federal Credit Union, Indian Land, South Carolina, was named the 2020 CUES Exceptional Leader. This award recognizes an industry professional who has rendered exceptional service and made outstanding contributions to strengthen their credit union and the industry.

In his acceptance, Otey thanked his 300+ coworkers. “Your support, dedication and commitment to the 95,000 members that we serve make this so very important. It is our dedication and your dedication to the mission of enriching the lives of those members that make all the difference. So again, thank you. Continue to work hard and I am truly honored and humbled by this recognition.”

Garth Warner, CCD, president/CEO of Servus Credit Union, Edmonton, Alberta, was named the 2020 CUES Outstanding Chief Executive. This award recognizes outstanding leaders at the CEO level who display professional achievement, support employee motivation, and are dedicated to their community.

“I am incredibly honored to accept this award,” Warner said. “To be the first Canadian credit union CEO to be named the CUES Outstanding Chief Executive is very humbling, knowing as I do, the high caliber of the individuals that lead many, many credit unions across Canada, the USA and around the world,” he said. “I have been incredibly privileged to get to know many of the credit union professionals from around the globe. And I can tell you without hesitation that you are among the most compassionate, caring, thoughtful and capable people I’ve ever had the honor to call colleagues and friends.”

He added: “It may be my name that appears on this award but it really belongs to all the Servus employees. I might have the privilege of steering this ship for a while but they are the ones that keep the ship upright and moving forward and, more importantly, in the right direction.

“I feel absolutely blessed and fortunate to have been able to work for most of my career for a financial cooperative,” Warner said.

The 2020 CUES Distinguished Director is Linda Carver, CCD, board chair at America First Credit Union, Ogden, Utah. This honor is presented to a credit union board or committee member whose achievements have strengthened their credit union. 

In her acceptance video, Carver said: “I am so grateful to America First Credit Union for the opportunity they gave to me to be a director. It just literally has been one of the highlights and one of the crowning glories of my life.”

Inductees into the CUES Hall of Fame are recognized for their contributions to their profession and the industry, involvement in community service, education and a history of self-improvement, and contributions to CUES. Entering the CUES Hall of Fame in 2020 are:

Stewart Ramsey, CCD, CCE, CIE, past CUES Board Chair from November 2018–July 2020 and retired president/CEO of Pen Air Federal Credit Union, Pensacola, Florida.

“There are so many great people in the industry that have served more years than I have so it’s been quite a humbling experience to get this award,” he said. “I’ve been engaged with CUES in so many ways. … If you haven’t had a chance yet to participate in a CUES program, I encourage each and every one of you to do that.”

Maurice Smith, president/CEO of Local Government Federal Credit Union, and Civic Federal Credit Union, Raleigh, North Carolina. 

“It seems like yesterday I began my credit union journey,” he said. “Actually, that was 41 years ago. Time passes quickly. … I knew from age 12 years old, this would be my life’s work. Growing up on a small family farm, one learns the value of hard work and community. These are the core values I find in the credit union movement.

“This recognition is made especially sweet because it comes from CUES,” he added. “I mentioned 41 years but CUES has been working its magic for 58 years. This is nearly six decades of training leaders to face daunting challenges and help credit unions thrive. I’ve learned over the years that leaders are not self-made. It takes a community to build the kind of character and experience that makes leaders successful. CUES is part of that community and an important part of my journey.” cues icon

Theresa Witham is managing editor/publisher at CUES.

CUES Learning Portal