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No. 1 LARGE | SUMMIT CREDIT UNION Summit builds talent, cultivates a culture of helping members

No. 1 LARGE | SUMMIT CREDIT UNION Summit builds talent, cultivates a culture of helping members

From the Meet the Madison area's Top Workplaces in 2020 series
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A Summit Credit Union employee practices yoga at the credit union’s new headquarters in Cottage Grove. The credit union has provided for employees’ physical wellness with a workout room, a yoga room and healthy menu options in its cafeteria.

Engaged leadership, a culture of building employee skills and a commitment to helping members boosted Summit Credit Union to the top spot among large firms in this year’s Top Workplaces project.

“Employees deserve the best leadership we can provide – that’s something we owe people,” said Kim Sponem, Summit’s chief executive officer and the winner of a Top Workplaces special award for leadership skills. “We’re a company that’s very aligned in what we do and how we do it.”

Summit, which has an asset base of $3.7 billion and more than 195,000 members, has a new Cottage Grove headquarters and about 400 of its 620 employees work in Dane County.

“I also believe that we need to give people the skills, training and education to stay marketable,” Sponem added. “I want everyone to have the skills and ability to go somewhere else if they want to. … But because they choose to be at Summit, I think we really get a committed and engaged team.”

The credit union has programs for both education and student-loan reimbursement for employees. “If we’re benefiting from the fact that you got an education and have some student loans, we will help with the payment,” Sponem said.

Summit also believes in reaching out to employees to get their feedback on what the credit union can do better. When Summit was planning its new 160,000-square-foot headquarters, Sponem said leaders reached out to employees to determine what they wanted in the facility.

Sponem believes that one of the keys to Summit’s workplace culture is empowering employees to find financial solutions for members.

“We expect employees to think about what makes the most sense for that situation and that member,” Sponem said. “Employees feel a deep commitment to our purpose. We are driven by what our members’ needs are. I think that’s really inspiring to people. We talk a lot about connecting with people, taking action, inspiring and to do our best to help people.”


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