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Community Advocacy Organization

LAFCU’s Kelli Ellsworth Etchison honored for second time as Notable Leader in Michigan

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

Courtesy Photo-Kelli Ellsworth Etchison serves as the credit union’s chief marketing officer and chief diversity officer. Kelli was recognized for her success and accomplishments in both roles by Crain’s Detroit Business. She was recently named one of the 2023 Notable Leaders in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and a Notable Leader in Marketing in April 2023.


LANSING, Mich. — LAFCU’s chief marketing officer and chief diversity officer has been recognized for a second time this year by Crain’s Detroit Business, a leading business publication in Michigan. Kelli Ellsworth Etchison was named one of the 2023 Notable Leaders in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) based on her success and accomplishments over the past 18 months. She was also recognized as a Notable Leader in Marketing in April. 

"I've always encouraged Kelli to use her voice to make an impact, and boy, has she done that," said Patrick Spyke, LAFCU CEO. "Kelli has worked tirelessly to provide equitable access to our products and services and has championed a more inclusive culture where LAFCU members and staff can feel seen and heard. The significant impact of her efforts and advocacy related to DEI can be felt across our entire organization and the community."

The Crain’s Detroit Business Notable Leaders in DEI distinction honors individuals in Michigan who have taken on the responsibility of providing diverse, equitable and inclusive experiences for their organization and clients/members. When they are not at work, these individuals also help and advocate for DEI-related issues at nonprofits and community organizations, allowing them to extend their reach with this important message and further their impact and power to effect change.

Ellsworth Etchison leads the credit union’s strategic marketing, community, and public relations efforts and oversees LAFCU’s marketing department. She added the title and responsibilities of chief diversity officer (CDO) in 2020, a position she proposed and the first in the credit union’s 87-year history. She also oversees LAFCU’s college scholarship program that provides tens of thousands of dollars to high school seniors and non-traditional students.

Since her historic appointment to CDO, Kelli has established a DEI program for over 150 LAFCU employees and an employee-led DEI committee that created LAFCU's DEI mission statement, core principles, and a tagline based on the credit union’s name, "LAFCU: Listening Allows For Cultural Understanding." 

                Kelli’s work has driven a significant shift inside LAFCU that allows for an enhanced culture of diversity. DEI education is now introduced during employee orientation and continues throughout the year with training and discussions. Additionally, a video is shown to job candidates during their interview that discusses the inclusive culture LAFCU fosters so candidates can decide whether it would be a good fit personally and professionally.

“I am honored to be recognized by Crain’s Detroit this year as a leader in both my role as chief diversity officer and chief marketing officer,” said Ellsworth Etchison. "It's been a true privilege to serve as LAFCU's CDO and advocate for DEI. The entire team, particularly the employee-led DEI committee, deserves immense credit for their dedication and enthusiasm. Together, we're fostering a diverse and inclusive culture, bringing about positive, and making tangible improvements in the community."

Crain's Detroit Business published this year's special section of Michigan’s top DEI leaders in the Nov. 13 print issue and online at


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 more than 74,000 members and holds over $1 billion 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

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