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Laurie Baker

President and CEO, The Summit Federal Credit Union

Years in current role: 2

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Being a credit union CEO allows me the opportunity and leverage to make a difference every day — that’s what I enjoy most. Credit unions are mission-driven organizations that exist to serve their members. They are member-owned cooperatives uniquely focused on improving the financial well-being of their communities. Society benefits from the existence of credit unions. At The Summit, we exist to improve our member’s lives — it’s as simple and straightforward as that.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve dealt with over the past year?

The biggest challenge has been the effect that COVID has, and will continue to have, on our society and our business. Members and employees have different expectations now. Many enjoyed spending more time at home during the peak of the pandemic. As a result, behavior and expectations have changed.

The world and the workplace are now being viewed through a different lens. We have focused on accommodating employees by offering more flexible work arrangements, such as hybrid work schedules. We created a “virtual branch” that allows our members to meet with one of our employees virtually — from the comfort of their own home. We are doing what we can to remain relevant and competitive. Agility is key. I tend to view challenges as opportunities, so this is a pretty exciting time!

What community organizations do you support as a volunteer and why?

I serve as a board member for the Mary Cariola Center. I’m also a long-time supporter of the Villa of Hope and serve on their Nominating Committee. Both organizations make a tremendous impact on young people and their families.

Mary Cariola serves children and young adults through academic, residential and community outreach programs. Their commitment to working with youth with disabilities is unparalleled. The Villa of Hope partners with individuals and families struggling with chemical dependency, mental or behavioral health concerns, or recovering from trauma. The organization is dedicated to providing hope and a sense of purpose to so many who are struggling.

I also serve as a board member for the New York Credit Union Association to support the “credit union community.”

This profile is part of Rochester Business Journal's Power 30 Banking & Finance list for 2021. Information used in this profile was sourced from the honoree. View the full list at https://rbj.net/2021/12/17/rbjs-power-30-banking-finance/.

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