In the CEO Spotlight: Meet Kelly Duchsherer from Affinity
by Shawn Marie Brummer
Communications & Media Specialist
1/10/2020

*Editor’s note: Kelly Duchsherer was first profiled in September 2018, when she was the VP of Operations at Affinity First FCU. With her recent promotion to CEO, we wanted to share her story (with updates) once again!

Kelly Duchsherer has been a member of a credit union for as long as she can remember. Her parents first joined a credit union when they moved to North Dakota, back in 1970. Her father was in the United States Air Force, and he and Kelly’s mother settled in Minot, where Kelly was born and raised. They opened their first credit union accounts at Northern Tier FCU, now North Star Community CU.

During her school days, Kelly was active in sports, including volleyball and track. As an eighth-grader, she landed her first job – as a waitress at the Knights of Columbus. By the time she reached high school, her interest turned to child care and development, and after graduating from high school, she intended to find work at a daycare while she pursued her education.

However, as she perused the local “help wanted” ads, she came across an ad for Triniservice FCU, now Affinity First Federal Credit Union, in Minot. She applied, and was hired in July of 1997 by Janice Katin. By September, she was working full-time.

“I basically started at Affinity First right out of high school, and never looked back,” she recalled. Still, she has worn many hats along the way, with increasing responsibilities. She has worked the teller line, as well as lending, marketing, and accounting. And she is quick to point out that no matter what job she held, the challenge was the same for her: Getting people to truly understand the credit union difference and how being a credit union member is a great benefit to anyone and everyone!

In 2000, Kelly was named the Operations Officer, and later, her title changed to Vice President of Operations. “I have always been in love with the operational side of the credit union,” stated Duchsherer. In this role that she held for nearly 19 years, Kelly was primarily responsible for overseeing the teller line and the day-to-day operations of the credit union’s six tellers. She was also responsible for implementing and maintaining any new programs such as debit cards or prepaid cards, data processing, and even some IT roles and marketing duties.

To enhance her work skills, Kelly became a graduate of the Center for Technology and Business Women’s Leadership Program. This course consists of a six-month program dedicated to expanding personal, professional, community, and health leadership skills for women.

In December of 2019, she was announced as the new CEO of Affinity First, following the retirement of Janice Katin. In her new role, Kelly looks forward to working closely with the board of directors and staff to continue the success of Affinity First. This transition feels like a natural next step for Kelly. She has dedicated her career to the membership of Affinity First and is excited to continue to experience the CU Difference with them. “In 2019, Affinity First Federal Credit Union celebrated our 50th Anniversary. I am excited for what the future has to hold for us! It is a big milestone for our credit union that started with such humble beginnings – a cash box in our local hospital,” stated Duchsherer.

As a seasoned credit union veteran of more than 22 years, she says the “People Helping People” philosophy and the comradery among credit union professionals is unlike that in any other industry. It is, in fact, what she most enjoys about her work.

In addition to her long career at Affinity First FCU, Kelly has served on several CUAD committees and Minot Chamber Committees, including the Energy Committee. She was also chairperson of the Junior Achievement Committee. In addition, she has served on the board of the Credit Unions United Chapter in several capacities, including chairperson. In July of this year, Kelly will be attending CUNA Management School in Madison, Wisconsin to begin her CCUE (Certified Credit Union Executive) designation.

Kelly is also a frequent volunteer in the greater community. Each year, she becomes a “Hockey Mom” for the Minot State Beaver hockey program. During each playing season, people in the community “adopt” an MSU hockey player to provide them with support while they are away from home. She has also volunteered for the Minot Hockey Boosters, Trinity Hospital, United Way, and Junior Achievement, just to name a few.

In her personal life, Kelly has been married to her husband, Mike, for 18 years. They have one son, Karter, who is 11 years old. The family also has three miniature dachshunds; two pure-breeds, Charlie and Cooper; and Katie, a stray that they rescued from the street.

When Kelly is not working, she enjoys watching her son play hockey. She is a proud goalie mom! She also enjoys camping, fishing and taking the occasional trip to try her luck at a casino. Kelly’s personal and professional life both revolve around the principle of “people helping people.” Every day at AFFCU she helps members reach their financial goals, and through her volunteer efforts she helps improve the lives of those in her community.

 

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