Award Spotlight: Outstanding Volunteers

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Several Recognition Awards will be presented to New York credit union professionals and volunteers during the New York Credit Union Association’s 2018 Annual Meeting & Convention. Today’s featured award is the Outstanding Volunteer Award, which recognizes volunteers who exemplify commitment to their credit unions and consistently embody the “people helping people” philosophy.

This year’s Outstanding Volunteers include: James Gustafson, treasurer of Lockport Schools FCU; Sandra May, board member at Buffalo Metropolitan FCU; Sharon Miazga, former recording officer at AmeriCU Credit Union; and Noreen Hennessy, chairman of the board at Hudson Valley FCU.

Gustafson Photo.jpgJim Gustafson was appointed treasurer of Lockport FCU in 1971, and he has served in that role ever since. He has assisted with many of the credit union’s newest endeavors, and he has overseen the rollout of new products and services that increase ease-of-access for members. Additionally, he has helped many incoming board members with understanding the functions and importance of the board.

Gustafson, a veteran, was a business teacher for the Lockport City School district for 33 years. He also serves as treasurer of his church, and he is involved in a number of other community organizations.

sandy 1Sandy May has dedicated 48 years to the credit union movement as both an employee and a volunteer. She began her career at Buffalo Metropolitan FCU in 1969. Throughout her 48 years at Buffalo Metropolitan FCU, she held the positions of teller, loan officer, loan supervisor, collector, book keeper, attendance records and payroll, assistant manager, and now, board director.

May was a pioneer for the credit union’s risk-based lending platform and was instrumental in educating smaller credit unions on risk-based lending. She also started the credit union’s first credit card program, home equity program and mortgage program.

May is also a volunteer at her church, a board member for her golf league, and a longtime contributor to the Haven House, which works to prevent domestic violence. She is a frequent attendee of credit union conferences and conventions, who continues to seek out new ways to serve her credit union and the greater credit union movement.

Miazga PhotoSharon Miazga was a credit union volunteer for 34 years, 25 of which were spent with AmeriCU Credit Union. Starting in 2000, while serving as AmeriCU’s Policy Governance Officer, Miazga oversaw a major transition to the credit union’s current model of policy governance. Miazga served as a leader during this transition, working to ensure all of the credit union’s board members were able to make the transition seamlessly. Miazga also played a significant role in streamlining AmericCU’s board meetings, ensuring that they were more strategically oriented rather than operationally oriented.

In addition to serving as the policy governance officer for over 15 years, Miazga served as recording officer of the board since 2015, and from 2003-2008, she was the board’s vice chairman. Miazga was also crucial in establishing an associate director program at the credit union to evaluate a potential board member before asking that person to run for office.

Sadly, after undergoing 20 years of experimental cancer treatments, Miazga died earlier this year. Despite the decades of exhausting treatments, Miazga rarely missed a board meeting and was a constant presence at the credit union’s functions.

N_HennessyNoreen Hennessy has been a member of Hudson Valley FCU since 1971. In May 2002, she began volunteering for the credit union as an associate member of the supervisory committee. With her background as a certified public accountant in private practice, she had a strong foundation to assist the committee in their responsibilities. She was appointed as a full member of the committee in 2005. Hennessy has served on the credit union’s board of directors since 2008, and she was appointed board chair in 2012.

One of Hennessy’s most significant accomplishments has been her leadership and oversight in the development and implementation of the credit union’s governance policy and model. She has also successfully streamlined the board’s monthly meetings and committee meetings, so the volunteers focus more on strategic issues and policies, trusting management to handle the day-to-day operations.

In her ten years on the board, HVFCU has seen assets grow by over 106 percent, savings growth of over 105 percent and membership growth of more than 41 percent.

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