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AACUC Southern Regional Chapter kicks off 2020 activities with networking and panel discussion

Thursday, February 13, 2020   (0 Comments)
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Group photo of attendees at 1Q SRC Chapter Event

The Southern Regional Chapter of the African-American Credit Union Coalition (SRC AACUC) welcomed more than 80 credit union professionals for its first event in 2020 on Tuesday, February 11. State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) graciously hosted the occasion at its Downtown Raleigh Headquarters. As participants arrived for the Networking and Panel Discussion event, they were greeted by SECU President/CEO Mike Lord and SECU VP, Member Services Support and SRC Chairman Jamie Keith.

Wide shot of attendees at Feb 11 SRC chapter event
Credit union professionals nearly fill the room at the AACUC Southern Regional Chapter's first event in 2020, hosted at SECU headquarters in Raleigh, NC.

After opening remarks from Lord and Keith, panel discussion began which was moderated by SECU VP, Member Education & Outreach Kelli Holloway. The executive panel featured Sherri Thomas, Chief HR & Organizational Development Officer for Truliant FCU; Warren Peacock, EVP of Branch Operations for SECU; and Arlene Babwah, VP of Risk Management at Coastal CU.

Holloway led the panel through a series of questions where they each had an opportunity to share their insights on topics including the “Aha!” moment that endeared them to a career in the credit union industry, underrated advice for young professionals, and what the eight cooperative principle: diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) means to them.

“I spent fourteen years [at a bank] and didn’t know much about credit unions at the time, but the further I went in the interview process [at Truliant] the more I knew I had to be a part of this,” said Thomas regarding her “Aha!” moment after recognizing the values at her previous workplace were no longer in alignment with her core values following a merger. “From the mission of the cooperative spirit to people helping people…it truly was like a light bulb went off and I found where I needed to be.”

Coastal CU's Arlene Babwah speaks during the SRC Networking and Panel Discussion event
Serving on the panel, Coastal CU's Arlene Babwah speaks during the SRC Networking and Panel Discussion event on February 11, 2020.

Sharing advice to more than just the Millennials in the room, Peacock emphasized the importance of patience – a skill that every generation before now has had to develop over time. “When we were young [Baby Boomers] and felt like opportunities that were “perfect” for us were not happening, we also questioned why we did not receive those,” Peacock said. “That’s because we didn’t have the patience to recognize that whatever’s out there for you will come. What often happens, is a better opportunity comes later and…is a better fit for your purpose at that organization.”

“Incorporating DEI at your organization is not something that will happen organically,” noted Babwah as she and other panelists spoke to the importance and meaning behind the eighth cooperative principle. “You have to put action behind it. A lot of people will say [DEI] is implied in our other cooperative principles. If you look at it that way, and don’t call it out, [DEI] is going to be hidden in the other ones and we will not progress to where we need to be. We have to be intentional…have those initially uncomfortable conversations and get through the discomfort.”

The event concluded with open Q&A between attendees and the panel followed by a light-hearted round of rapid-fire questions.

"The SRC Executive Team would like to thank all our guests for helping make our first chapter meeting of 2020 a huge success," said Keith. "What an amazing experience it was!"

To learn more about the SRC and its upcoming events, please contact Meredith RouseDavis at to join the mailing list.


Save the Dates! 2020 SRC Events:

  • May 21st – Quarter 2 Meeting – Hosted by Coastal CU
  • September 17th – Quarter 3 Meeting – Hosted by Local Government FCU
  • December 17th Holiday Social TBD



About the AACUC and SRC

The AACUC is a non-profit organization of African American credit union professionals and volunteers. Its mission is to increase diversity within the credit union community through advocacy and professional development.

The Southern Regional Chapter of the AACUC was founded in 2018 and serves professionals and volunteers in the credit union community who support the overall mission, goals, and objectives of the AACUC. The regional chapter was created to provide networking, community involvement and career/leadership development opportunities for the regional members. The Southern Regional Chapter also acts as an agent on behalf of the national association by recruiting new members who will help to increase the strength of the regional, national and global credit union movement.

Learn more at

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