In the CU Spotlight: Meet LouAnn Tyler from Highmark FCU!
by Shawn Marie Brummer
Communications & Media Specialist
8/9/2019

LouAnn Tyler grew up in the world of credit unions, which is not surprising, when you learn that her father is Doug Thompson. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Doug, he spent an entire career supporting credit unions, including his time as CEO of Aberdeen FCU. He was instrumental in the merging of the North Dakota and South Dakota Leagues when they first combined, and served as board chairman during that time. He was even inducted into the CUAD Hall of Fame in 2012.

For LouAnn, her credit union education started at a young age. “I would have to say a key mentor of mine is my dad. He worked in credit unions for as long as I can remember and instilled in me what credit unions were, and the whole cause, when I was very young,” she recalled. “As I grew older and through college, he would sit down with me and we would go over Financial Performance Reports (FPRs) on different credit unions. He would ask me questions on various parts of the FPR, and how they had an impact on credit union net worth. He also instilled in me that if you take care of your members, your members will take care of the credit union. I try to live that out in my career the best I can,” she added.

She was born in Jamestown, North Dakota, fourth in a family of five children. They lived for a short time in Medina, North Dakota, before moving to Blackduck, Minnesota. When she was five years old, they moved to the small town of Edgeley, North Dakota, where she attended kindergarten through her junior year of high school. It’s also where she opened her first credit union account, at Dakota Plains CU. She was active in many activities, including basketball, dance team, track, cheerleading, and drama. She was also a lifeguard at the local pool by the age of 15, and taught swim lessons. However, for her senior year of high school, the family moved to Aberdeen, South Dakota. With a population of about 30,000 – Aberdeen is not exactly a “big city,” still, it was a shocking change to go from a class of 22 students to a class of more than 350.

Following high school, LouAnn graduated from Northern State University (Aberdeen) with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management. She worked for a time for the Student Loan Finance Corporation. She had considered becoming a teacher for a time before switching to her business major, and combined with her natural gravitation towards the credit union industry and her desire to teach people about the benefits of being a member, she made a conscious decision to look for work within the cooperative movement when she moved to Rapid City in 2014.

Her first job was at Highmark Credit Union, where she was hired as a Personal Financial Associate for a short time, before moving to Black Hills FCU as a Personal Financial Associate/Training Specialist for two years. In 2016, she returned to Highmark as the Marketing/Training Director, a position she has held for the past three years.                               

“It’s great to be part of the credit union philosophy of ‘People Helping People,” she stated. “And even though I am not frontline staff, I am an extension of member service, by giving employees knowledge and tools to help our members. Being in marketing, it’s great to be able to put out the message we want to portray to members and prospective members. It’s also very helpful to be able to reach out to other credit unions and get input when I’ve run into situations I haven’t dealt with before. We are all working towards the same goal of getting more people to come to credit unions. Even though we may work for different credit unions, the beauty of cooperatives and collaboration is that we are all want to show EVERYONE how awesome credit unions are!”

With her role in marketing, she strives to convey that exact message. She is responsible for approving ads, working with a marketing company on various ad deliverables, promotions, and member communications. She also is tasked with approving social media posts, and working with staff on promotional items for upcoming loan/share promotions, while ensuring compliance of advertising, and maintaining the marketing budget.

In her training role, she helps to develop new training courses or offerings, facilitating and teaching new hires, as well as keeping existing employees updated on their training. When Highmark completed a merger with Simply Service FCU in 2018, LouAnn was involved in leading the marketing efforts, as well as scheduling and conducting training to support new staff members.

“My work is challenging on a regular basis, but in a good way,” she continues. “I’m constantly learning new things or adding a project that comes up, trying to find the time to squeeze it into the scheduled day. But like our tagline says: We’ll make it happen! I just feel fortunate to be able to work in the credit union industry, where helping people isn’t just something we say – it’s something we do,” she concluded.

Despite having a very pressing schedule, LouAnn still finds ways to contribute to the greater credit union community. In 2017, she was co-chair (along with Katie Nehl) for the CUAD Summit Crashers. For anyone thinking about becoming a “Crasher” – she highly recommends the experience.

In addition, she has volunteered to help our association judge the Dora Maxwell and Desjardins Financial Education Award submissions for the state of Minnesota. She says that was also a beneficial experience, where she was able to see what credit unions in other states are doing – and gained some great ideas.

And her work continues. At her credit union, she has helped organize the “Joy of Sox” campaign, collecting socks for homeless and those in need and distributing to local charities in each of their market areas. She has also served on the board for Black Hills Rapids Soccer Club and until recently, was the treasurer for Stevens High School Booster Club.

In her personal life, LouAnn has a full house of four children. Her oldest son, Hunter, just graduated from high school. Second son Tage is 16; third son Jase is 12, and daughter Calli is 11. For the first time in a number of years, she will only have two school districts to keep track of, and she is quite excited about that. The family also has two very large Boxers, “lap dogs” named Bear and JuneBug.

When she does have some rare free time, she’s headed outdoors for hiking, riding motorcycle, and enjoying nature. She holds a motorcycle endorsement, and even owns her own bike. She also enjoys bowling, and long distance running. She ran her first half marathon in Fargo about eight years ago, ran the Michelson Half Marathon earlier this year, and will be running another in Fort Collins in September. Someday, she says she wants to run the Disney Half Marathon.

She enjoys the occasional game of golf, and playing video games with her children. You can often find her hanging out in her backyard playing a round of Cowboy Golf or Corn Hole with a cold beverage. Spending time with family and friends, gathered around a fire pit roasting marshmallows, is also a favorite activity, when she’s not traveling to the many soccer tournaments that her kids participate in. “It’s a hectic schedule, but we sure do enjoy getting to have those road trips and family time,” she says.

Finally, the family is planning a trip to Disney World this coming December, perhaps her favorite place of all. It will officially be LouAnn’s 16th trip to the Florida theme park!

 

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