Diana R. Dykstra Honored as 2019 Herb Wegner Memorial Award Winner

Dykstra to be Recognized with Outstanding Individual Achievement Award by Foundation

In recognition for over 30 years in the credit union movement as an innovator and industry leader, the National Credit Union Foundation is pleased to announce Diana R. Dykstra, President/CEO of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, as a recipient of the 2019 Herb Wegner Memorial Outstanding Individual Achievement Award.

Dykstra will be one of three Herb Wegner Memorial Award winners presented at the annual fundraising gala hosted by the Foundation at the Marriott Marquis on March 11, 2019, in conjunction with the Credit Union National Association Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C. Registration for dinner sponsorships and tickets will be available on the Foundation website (ncuf.coop) later this year.

“Diana’s work not only throughout California and Nevada, but nationwide has been exemplary,” said John Gregoire, Chair of the Foundation’s Wegner Awards Selection Committee and President of The ProCon Group. “Through her vast contributions to the movement from the CU Direct Lending Program to her mentorship of the next generation of leaders, Diana is more than deserving of this award.”

Influential and Visionary Leadership
Dykstra is a widely recognized credit union leader with more than 30 years of dedication to the financial services industry. Her passion for helping not only credit union members, but members of her own staff and credit union professionals across the country, shines through in all that she does.

Prior to her time with the Credit Union and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, Dykstra served in many leadership positions at organizations such as Golden 1 Credit Union, Patelco Credit Union, CoastHills Federal Credit Union and San Francisco Fire Credit Union.

Throughout her time at these various organizations, she has been widely recognized for her influential leadership. Each year, Western CUNA Management School (WCMS) presents the James D. Likens Alumni Recognition Award to honor WCMS Alumni for significant achievements and distinguished service in the credit union movement since graduation from the school. Dykstra was presented with this award in 2001.

She was also honored with the California League’s Distinguished Service Award in 2002, the Phil Greer Lifetime Achievement Award from the CUNA Lending Council in 2012, and in 2014 her peers selected her to receive the Eagle Award. Among the reasons why she was selected by the American Association of Credit Union Leagues (AACUL) for the prestigious Eagle Award was her willingness to speak out and take a stand on critical and controversial issues, demonstrating leadership beyond the league level and an unremitting dedication to credit union principles.

Dykstra is a sought-after speaker and an influential voice in the credit union movement. In 2013, she conducted a workshop on governance and strategy with the board of directors of Federación Nacional de Cooperativas de Ahorro y Crédito, Guatemala's national credit union trade association, to form collaborative and mutually beneficial partnerships. In 2017, she spoke on the credit union movement before leaders of the National Credit Union Federation of Korea and its member CEOs. That same year, she was the only female credit union professional invited to speak before the African Confederation of Savings and Credit Association in Malawi.

“Diana has been an advocate and a champion for cooperation and collaboration among credit unions to achieve greater efficiencies and to provide members with the same services that a large credit union can provide,” said Brian Branch, President and CEO at the World Council of Credit Unions. “Through the California/Nevada partnership with the Guatemala credit union system, Diana helped the Guatemala credit union system adopt a shared services network for data processing, liquidity management, credit methodologies and payments that has enabled Guatemala credit unions to reach more than two million members today.”

Additionally, she helps to develop her own staff at the California and Nevada Credit Union League by encouraging them to participate in industry efforts such as The African American Credit Union Coalition, and the Global Women’s Leadership Network.

She has served on the board of numerous credit union organizations and associations, including CU Direct, World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), American Association of Credit Union Leagues, League Info Sight, Western CUNA Management School, and the Richard Myles Johnson Foundation. She has worked side by side with representatives from the Credit Union National Association, WOCCU, AACUL and the Global Women’s Leadership Network to increase the cooperative spirit globally.

Driver of Innovative Solutions
Dykstra has been involved in several pioneering projects that continue to reverberate throughout the credit union industry today. As SVP at Golden 1 Credit Union, Dykstra led her team to develop the prototype of the CU Direct Lending (CUDL) Program in 1992. For more than twenty years, CU Direct has been a lending technology leader, helping credit unions fund $211 billion in loans. More than 1,100 credit unions rely on CU Direct’s solutions to generate loans, create efficiencies, and grow membership.

“I observed Diana’s passion, innovation, and commitment to credit unions and bettering the financial lives of credit union members on many occasions, but especially with the formation of the Credit Union Direct Lending Program,” said Tony Boutelle, President/CEO at CU Direct. “She had a vision of what an automated indirect lending system could mean to the industry, and she led her team to develop a prototype and then joined forces with the California Credit Union League to create CU Direct, which eventually brought the program nationwide. Diana possesses the foresight on initiatives that move the credit union industry forward.”

From CUDL, the industry’s number one auto lending platform, to the industry’s revolutionary Lending 360 Loan Origination System and Lending Insights dynamic analytic tools, CU Direct develops technology that helps credit unions advance their lending programs and overall portfolio success. More than 14,000 auto dealers nationwide use CU Direct’s automotive solutions to connect with credit unions and their members to drive sales and increase their bottom lines.

In 2014, Dykstra was instrumental in launching the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues Financial Capability Initiative—powered by EverFi—which provides innovative online financial literacy programs to drive large-scale change at credit unions and the increase financial capability of their members. The financial wellness experience is specifically designed for today’s busy adult and features interactive learning modules that cover key financial topics such as saving, investing, credit scores, and identity protection.

In 2015 she spearheaded the creation of Plexcity, a partnership between the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, the New Jersey Credit Union League, and the Maryland & DC Credit Union Association to consolidate back office operations to reduce costs while maintaining the identity and uniqueness of each of the states. The company now has serves 13 clients, including 11 state credit union leagues/affiliates, one credit union service organization and one payment association. This partnership allows for greater efficiency using shared talent, resources and applications.

In her time as President and CEO at the Leagues, she helped bring about the credit union sponsorship of the SacTown Run, an annual event designed to increase awareness of credit unions while raising money for CMN Hospitals in California and Nevada. Thanks to credit unions and businesses involved, the event attracts thousands of credit union professionals from all over the country and has raised more than $1.5 million in the last seven years.

She also conceptualized the annual and successful Credit Union for Kids Wine Auction held in Southern California, which has raised more $7 million over the last 13 years. The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues serve as one of the lead corporate sponsors of the event, including the 2018 event in March which raised more than $1 million.

Passionate Credit Union Advocate and Educator
Dykstra is an outspoken and tireless advocate for credit unions in the legislative and regulatory sphere, both at the state and national level. She helped lead the “Don’t Tax My Credit Union” charge by reaching out to California and Nevada credit unions to generate more than 500,000 messages to Congress in 2014, helping to make that campaign a rousing success.

Through her leadership, the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues have seen an increased growth in member engagement and participation within the political and legislative arena, including at Hike the Hill events, state Government Relations Rallies, and at in-district meetings as well as PAC donations.

Dykstra has inspired, coached and mentored young people in the credit union movement to think outside the box, innovate and to become leaders. She was one of the founding members of the Global Women’s Leadership Network, extending sister societies through California before it became an international movement. She also mobilized and coached many WOCCU Young Credit Union People who have gone on to assume positions of leadership within the credit union industry.

Dykstra is passionate about educating other credit union professionals and remains involved in Western CUNA Management School. She has served as a Project Reader, instructor and mentor for more than 18 years. In her current role as President for WCMS, she is helping to establish a curriculum that will pave the way for the next generation of credit union leaders in this ever-changing world of finance and technology while staying true to the philosophy of credit unions.

“Thousands of students have benefited from her mentorship, coaching and visionary leadership through WCMS,” said Patsy Van Ouwerkerk, Retired CEO of Travis Credit Union and Former WCMS Board of Directors Chair. “Diana embodies the credit union philosophy of ‘people helping people’ and she inspires others to become mentors themselves, improving the lives of their own member/owners.”

She is also committed to the social responsibility of credit unions by encouraging local economic empowerment and financial education. At Patelco Credit Union, her job was to implement programs that brought the credit union closer to its vision of becoming its members’ primary financial information resource. She developed educational seminars, providing more than 600 sessions in two years that reached nearly 13,500 members.

No matter the role she held, Dykstra always demonstrated her commitment to consumer financial education. She was instrumental in the development of “We Own Our Bank”, a consumer-facing website and its accompanying social media channels. The goal of the website is to directly educate consumers about finances, as well as increase awareness of credit unions as being a great alternative to people’s financial needs.

The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues continues to actively provide this source of personal finance education to benefit the public at large. More than 5,000 consumers each year receive tips to help steer them toward a better financial future, resulting in hundreds going to asmarterchoice.org to seek a credit union they are eligible to join.

She is also graduate of the Foundation’s Credit Union Development Education (CUDE) Program, class of 2016. She continues to serve as a passionate advocate for not only the CUDE Program, but also for the values, principles and philosophy that are taught in the program.

“At every place Diana has been, she’s implemented a stronger, more sustainable business model,” said Brett Martinez, President & CEO at Redwood Credit Union. “Always on the leading edge of innovation, before other people are even talking about it, Diana is doing it. She’s an inspirational leader and a powerful advocate for the interests of credit unions, our members, and our communities.”

About the Herb Wegner Memorial Awards:
The awards are named in honor of the late Credit Union National Association CEO Herb Wegner, whose tireless dedication, innovative ideas and deeds truly revolutionized the ways that credit unions serve their communities.  The awards that bear Wegner’s name recognize his spirit of “innovative, creative, risk-taking” leadership. View past award recipients here.

About the National Credit Union Foundation (ncuf.coop):
The National Credit Union Foundation (the Foundation) is the charitable arm of the U.S. credit union movement and works as a catalyst to improve people’s financial lives through credit unions. Through Foundation grants and programs, the Foundation is strengthening financial well-being, igniting passion and instilling knowledge about the credit union difference, and uniting resources to help credit union people during disaster. Donations to the Foundation ultimately enable credit unions to help their members reach life-changing goals and achieve financial freedom.

For More Information & Questions...

...contact Jenni Speth, Events and Donor Experience Senior Manager, at jspeth@ncuf.coop or 608.231.4979