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Special CTC Conversation: Amplifying and Promoting Women of Color in Leadership Roles

Special CTC Conversation: Amplifying and Promoting Women of Color in Leadership Roles


Thank you for joining us for our Special February CTC Conversation: " Amplifying and Promoting Women of Color in Leadership Roles."

During this conversation, we discussed how we can amplify the voices of women of color such that they are seen as viable leaders. What can credit unions do to ensure that women of color are hired, retained and supported in ways that recognize that leadership comes in different styles and from personal and professional backgrounds? In anticipation of Women’s History Month, this CTC Conversation showcased women of color and their strategies for navigating and thriving in credit union leadership roles.

Our esteemed panelists were:

  • Emma Hayes, Chief Learning and Engagement Officer, State Employees' Credit Union
  • Hazelmae Overturf, Community Impact Director, Kaua'i Federal Credit Union
  • Damaris Carroll, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion/Employee Experience Program Manager, PSCU
  • Whitney Anderson, Board Chair, African-American Credit Union Coalition

Jennifer Esperanza, Ph.D., Sr. Director, Organizational Culture + Strategy for Coopera will moderated the conversation.

Keep reading to learn more about our panelists.

Emma Hayes
Chief Learning and Engagement Officer
State Employees' Credit Union

Emma Hayes is the Chief Culture Officer for the Raleigh, North Carolina-based State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU). In this role, Ms. Hayes oversees diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, leadership development, employee engagement, and internal brand messaging. She also serves as the Chief Diversity Officer for the African-American Credit Union Coalition. 

Hazelmae Overturf
Community Impact Director
Kaua'i Federal Credit Union

Hazelmae Overturf is a 14-year veteran of credit unions. She is currently Kauaʻi Federal Credit Union’s Community Impact Director. Hazelmae’s work is focused on financial inclusivity and equity. She is part of the team tasked with cocreating Kauaʻi’s vision for an Economic Resiliency Center and responsible for implementing programs, products, and services for underserved populations.

Hazelmae is a CUDE, CanadaDE—working toward her I-CUDE designation. She was a 2020 GAC Crasher, founding co-chair of BECUʻs Young Professional ERG, and graduate of Fileneʻs Research Instituteʻs i3 program. She serves as the VP of the West Coast chapter of the AACUC and is a co-founder for a national association for Native Hawaiian, Asian, and Pacific Islander credit union professionals (HAPICUP).  

Damaris Carroll
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion/Employee Experience Program Manager

With over 15 years of experience, Damaris Carroll has straddled DEI and Employee Experience bringing culture to life. Ms. Carroll has helped organizations to advance DEI efforts in all levels of the business through consulting and the development of strategic business outcomes. Working with Fortune 50 companies, Ms. Carroll has elevated programs such as Employee Resource Groups to function as key parts of organizational goals. She is a certified DEI professional and certified Gallup Clifton Strengths coach. Ms. Carroll has helped organizations increase awareness and provide transparency around DEI metrics and data and set strategies to move the proverbial needle.   

Whitney Anderson
Board Chair
African-American Credit Union Coalition

Whitney Anderson serves in a critical stewardship role for the AACUC Future Fund and the AACUC Impact portfolio. In addition to providing an operating reserve for future sustainability, the Future Fund will support, amplify and increase the impact of programs focused on:

 ▪ Internships and leadership development — Building a succession pipeline for the credit union system; securing the legacy of mentorship and professional development we have created.

 ▪ Small credit union sustainability — Ensuring the viability and vibrancy of the credit unions that are at greatest risk of mergers, acquisition and member attrition.

▪ Wealth building and community impact programs — Supporting credit unions to establish and sustain initiatives that improve financial access, inclusion and well-being for communities of color

Anderson previously served as the CEO of Elements Financial, a diversified federal credit union with assets of more than $2.4 billion and 110,000+ members in all 50 states and 50 foreign countries. She was selected from a large candidate pool to ensure a highly skilled and effective leader was found to take Elements forward. Under her leadership assets have grown by 20%, within one year.

Anderson previously served as Chief Community Development Officer at Michigan State University Federal Credit Union (MSUFCU), $6.8 billion in assets. There she initiated many critical programs, including creating and being named as the President of the Desk Drawer Fund, MSUFCU’s philanthropic foundation, and President of Ever Green 3C, a financial literacy platform. Her years of leading a broad range of teams, projects, and responsibilities provide a solid foundation from which to grow and lead.

April Clobes, CEO MSUFCU states, "Whitney is a dynamic, innovative leader who is committed to her team, organizational results, the credit union industry, and our members and their communities."

Anderson has had significant community involvement on boards such as the African American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC) National Board, MLK Commission of Mid-Michigan, and United Way.

An industry leader, she was recently named Board Chair of the African-American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC) and is the first Black woman elected to the Board of Directors for the National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU).

As a visionary leader with a strong background in retail sales and new business development, Anderson consistently drives unprecedented growth and profitability. She has a deep understanding of banking regulatory requirements, compliance, financial products and services, consumer marketing trends, information management and emerging technologies. Anderson is known for building high-performing teams and fostering an inclusive environment to achieve ambitious goals. She is a Michigan native, MSU graduate, and an excellent communicator with a service philosophy.

Whitney loves spending time with her family, cooking, reading, and being in nature.

Jennifer Esperanza, Ph.D.
Sr. Director, Organizational Culture + Strategy

Jennifer Esperanza serves as the Sr. Director, Organizational Culture + Strategy for Coopera Consulting, which promotes financial inclusion for a variety of underserved populations. She is a trained cultural anthropologist with two decades of research and teaching experience on the intersections of culture and economics. 

Jennifer spent 17 years in academia—teaching courses in cultural anthropology, sociolinguistics, immigration, and consumer culture. She has taught at NC State, Southwestern University, and since 2008, was a professor at Beloit College in southern Wisconsin, where she was the first Asian American woman to be promoted for tenure. The daughter of immigrants from the Philippines, Jennifer was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

She majored in Anthropology and Linguistics at USC, and earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology from UCLA. Jennifer is frequently invited to give public lectures on topics including immigration, DEI, and organizational change for corporate and non-profit audiences.

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