When Donna Steckino came to Community Credit Union in 1979, the institution offered its members basic Passbook Savings Accounts, Christmas Clubs and Loans. That’s all! After nearly 33 years, Steckino will be retiring in May from a credit union that now provides a full range of retail financial services via tellers, telephone, ATMs or Internet technology.
“It was a really big deal when we first introduced certificates of deposit and checking accounts in the early '80s,” Steckino reminisced. “With all the new products and services over the years, it’s been a new job every day. It’s certainly never been boring,” she explained. When Steckino became CEO in 1982, the credit union had approximately $6 million in assets. Under Steckino’s leadership, it is now a $44-million institution.
When Steckino arrived at the credit union in 1979 she was among the earliest women in a management position at any financial institution in the L-A area. She now realizes she has served the institution for more than half her life. When she was named president, by the board of directors, she was perhaps the first woman CEO in finance in this area. “I never really thought about that,” Steckino said, “I just always tried to do business the way it should be done.” On the other hand, she does acknowledge that the forward-thinking directors of the credit union created an atmosphere where she, and the institution she led, could thrive. “I guess I looked at that glass ceiling, and I just broke right through it!”
An orderly transition to the next generation of leadership has been underway since Labor Day 2011 with Kerry Wood as the incoming president. Wood has 23 years of experience in the credit union industry, and has been executive vice president of CCU for the past six years. Wood, in turn, will be succeeded as EVP by CCU former Marketing/Business Development Director Jennifer Hogan.
Wood admitted that Steckino will be a tough act to follow. “She’s certainly made it easier for women in the workplace, and she’s been a fabulous leader for this community and the credit union, guiding us through extraordinary growth and expansion of services.” Under Steckino’s stewardship she has helped define what “community service” means and has made it an integral role in the credit union’s daily activities. Over the last several years, Community Credit Union has been recognized with many national and state awards, most recently being awarded four national awards for community service, member service and financial literacy efforts.
On a personal level, Steckino has also made significant contributions to the community: She was named the Auburn Businessperson of the year in 2005; she has served on a variety of committees and the board of the Maine Credit Union League; she is the current board chair of St. Mary’s Health System; a longtime member of the loan committee at AVCOG; a former trustee of the Auburn Public Library; and the third woman ever to serve as board chair of the Androscoggin Chamber of Commerce.
One of her proudest accomplishments was having served as the first chair of the Financial Fitness Fairs established by the Maine Credit Union League for local high school students which now is being conducted throughout the state. Financial literacy, both for youth and adults, continues to be a vital component of CCU’s community commitment. “Our name is ‘Community,’ after all,” Steckino said, “and we try to fulfill that mandate in lots of ways.”
“She’s leaving big shoes to fill, for sure,” Wood said, but Steckino quickly added, “This place has been my baby for nearly 33 years, but I am completely comfortable handing it off to Kerry.”
From the original two services, the credit union now provides more than 70 products and services to its members, including a number of programs specifically designed for youths, teens and young adults.
“I’ve loved every minute,” Steckino summarized, “and I am delighted that Kerry is the person who will lead this credit union into the next phase of success. She is dedicated and committed to our members and will ensure Community Credit Union will continue to be a leader in this community.”