LAFCU’s chief marketing officer and chief diversity officer honored as business leader, DEI champion
LANSING, Mich. — Kelli Ellsworth Etchison, LAFCU chief marketing officer and chief diversity officer, was named a 2022 Salute to Diversity Award recipient by Corp! Magazine and honored at the 15th annual Salute to Diversity awards celebration Oct. 13 at The Henry in Dearborn.
“It was Kelli’s leadership and initiative that ignited our DEI efforts,” said LAFCU CEO Patrick
Spyke. “She recognizes that by having a more informed and enlightened staff, LAFCU will be able to provide better service to its members. The work she and the LAFCU team have done in the DEI space has helped broaden perspectives on the importance of providing equitable access to our products and services, with the goal of making everyone – staff and members alike – feel welcome, seen and heard.”
Ellsworth Etchison was honored by Corp! for her work assisting LAFCU employees in successfully navigating DEI and implementing change within the organization, as well as being a DEI champion for LAFCU, her community and statewide.
In addition to holding the position of chief marketing officer, Ellsworth Etchison added the title
and responsibilities of chief diversity officer in 2020 — the credit union’s first CDO, a position she proposed. As CDO, she works to establish diversity, equity and inclusion as shared values within LAFCU and the community.
“As LAFCU’s chief diversity officer, I have sought to address racial injustices, implicit bias, as well as use my leadership position to educate, advocate for, and inform LAFCU employees
Ellsworth Etchison has been instrumental in the development of several employee-driven DEI
initiatives, including the LAFCU DEI program and DEI committee. As part of the LAFCU DEI program, core principles, a mission statement, logo and tagline based on LAFCU’s name, LAFCU – Listening Allows For Cultural Understanding, were all developed. DEI education is also now included in new employee orientation sessions and continues throughout the year with intensive group training and discussions.
An employee survey conducted twice over a three-year period revealed a dramatic increase in the percentage of employees who agreed with the following statement: "My employer enables a culture of diversity." The survey results demonstrate LAFCU's ongoing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as the work being done by LAFCU and its employees to successfully facilitate organizational change through training and discussions.
Ellsworth Etchison’s DEI efforts have been highlighted in several publications. She has been a featured presenter for many established local, regional and national organizations and businesses, and she was one of 16 persons appointed by Governor Whitmer to Michigan’s inaugural Black Leadership Advisory Council in 2020. She was also one of 45 credit union leaders across the country to earn the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Certificate offered by Credit Union Executives Society and Cornell University.
“Every employee wants to feel valued, respected and that they have a voice,” Ellsworth Etchison said. “The different perspectives that people bring to a project, the innovative ideas from those diverse perspectives are invaluable. When people feel valued, they are energized and engaged.”
Chartered in 1936, LAFCU is a not-for-profit financial cooperative open for membership to
anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Michigan and to businesses and other entities located in Michigan. The credit union serves 74,000 members and holds over $973 million in assets. It was named a Best Credit Union to Work For in 2020. LAFCU offers a comprehensive range of financial products and services as well as an expanding complement of financial technology solutions. Members enjoy benefits such as low fees, low interest rates on loans, high yields on savings, discounts, knowledgeable employees and nationwide access to fee-free ATMs. A recipient of the national Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award for credit unions, LAFCU enriches the communities it serves by supporting many organizations and causes. To learn more about LAFCU, call 800.748.0228 or visit www.lafcu.com.