Summit Credit Union: Wins world-class award for creating learning culture

For more information, contact:

Cheryl Van Tessier, Finesse Public Relations LLC

(608) 467-4408, [email protected]

Tracy Nelson, Summit Credit Union

(608) 243-5000X2842, [email protected]

ASTD “Best Award” Recognizes Organizational Commitment to Employee Learning

MADISON, Wis. — Summit Credit Union is among 32 organizations from Canada, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Turkey and the United States to receive an American Society for Training & Development’s (ASTD) BEST Award, the training industry’s most rigorous and coveted recognition.

Summit Credit Union, the smallest of the organizations from across the globe and one of only two credit unions to receive the award, ranked number eight out of the 32 international BEST Award winners. Tracy Nelson, vice president of learning and organizational development, and Kimberly Frederickson, assistant vice president of learning and development, received the Award on Summit’s behalf during a reception held in Washington, D.C., on October 6. The ASTD BEST Awards recognize select organizations that demonstrate enterprise-wide success through employee learning and development each year.

The recognition is based upon Summit’s overall commitment to and investment in employee learning, as well as its proactive partnership in each individual’s professional growth and development.

“Summit Credit Union values learning and development, and our goal is to be strong partners in meeting the needs of our 366 internal customers so they are well-equipped to provide an engaging and positive experience in helping our members,” said Nelson. “Combined, our training & development area has more than 3,100 hours of learning opportunities available to our employees, which demonstrates our commitment to helping drive not only the individual success of each employee, but that of the organization as well.”

The training team focuses on a blended approach to learning, which includes web-based and instructor-led training programs which are customized for the specific needs of Summit’s employees, as well as the organization’s overall business goals and initiatives. Each employee has his or her own annual performance review, tracked learning history, and customized development plan which is integrated into performance management and tied to business goals and strategic initiatives.

One such initiative recently launched is called “CEO of Your Career,” in which participants attend an informational session/internal job fair that provides an overview of various jobs within the credit union. Participants then take a strengths assessment and compile a personal board of directors which assists them in furthering their career.

The investments in learning and employee development have made a direct impact on Summit’s growth during an economic downturn. Internally, the organization has experienced high levels of employee satisfaction with training, increased staffing efficiencies in branches and travel-related training cost savings. From January 1, 2011 through October 31, 2011, the organization has also seen an increase in member satisfaction, loan growth and account openings.

“Whether it is internal web-based learning, instructor-led training, job shadowing, or external educational options, our employees have access to continuous, customized learning,” said Kim Sponem, CEO/president of Summit Credit Union. “We believe that by providing employees with world-class training and encouraging ongoing professional development, we are positively impacting not only Summit’s productivity and efficiency, but our overall culture as well. By extension, we demonstrate our commitment to our members and provide them with the best service possible.”

For the 2011 BEST Awards, Summit competed against 73 organizations in 10 countries. Each organization submitted quantitative and qualitative information to ASTD about their learning and development practices and programs. Applications were assessed in a blind review by members of the BEST Awards advisory committee, a select group of experts in the learning and development field.

“These 32 companies excelled in creating innovative, vibrant learning cultures that clearly aligned with strategic business goals,” said Tony Bingham, ASTD’s president and CEO. “They proved their commitment to workplace learning and development by doing so in an economic climate that saw limited resources, reductions in force and budget cuts.”

This is the ninth year of the ASTD BEST Awards. More information about the 2011 ASTD BEST Award winners may be found in the October 2011 issue of T+D magazine and online: Details about the 2012 ASTD BEST Awards program will be available February 2012.

About Summit Credit Union:

Established in 1935, Summit Credit Union is a member-owned financial cooperative open to anyone in Wisconsin. Summit holds $1.6 billion in assets and has more than 120,000 members with a total of 23 locations throughout the Madison and Milwaukee areas. For more information, visit or call (608) 243-5000 or (800) 236-5560.

About ASTD

ASTD (the American Society for Training & Development) is the world’s largest association dedicated to the training and development field. ASTD’s members come from more than 100 countries and connect locally in 125 U.S. chapters and with 20 International Partners. For more information, visit