Top 15 post: Peter Walker

The Apex Awards

“When the first Academy Awards were handed out on May 16, 1929, Hollywood had only just begun a long and illustrious expansion toward its extraordinary presence felt today. Back then, that first ceremony took place during a humble banquet held in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Attendance was 250.

In no smaller way, the OSU Federal APEX Awards began a tradition of recognizing excellence within the organization, starting in 2003.

The biggest difference? We have better emcees…

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Since the initial brainstorming sessions nearly ten years ago, I have been actively involved in developing and championing the APEX Awards. APEX stands for: "Achieving Performance Excellence," and they’re a special way to recognize unsurpassed performance that goes above and beyond day-to-day job responsibilities. Employees nominate branches, departments and individual co-workers for these awards, and we work hard to make the process fun and impactful throughout the year. OSU Federal’s volunteer board of directors chooses the final winner for each category: Innovation, Outstanding Department, Individual Internal Service, Community Contribution, Outstanding Member Solution, and the FUN Award! Awards are presented every January at our prestigious annual banquet: the Winter Gala. 

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Alfred Hitchcock, director of such classic films as Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958) and Psycho (1960), is still regarded as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. During his career he received the Irving Thalberg Award of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1967 and the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award in 1979. In the final year of his life he was even knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. But in the midst of such cinematic fame and glory, this mastermind never won an Academy Award for his direction.

It is a sad thing to see such excellence overlooked! That’s why OSU Federal and its board of directors began laying the groundwork for a unique way to recognize excellence within the credit union. We wanted to be sure to tell the stories that make up the DNA of our organization.

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Now, picture yourself under the warm glow of dimmed lights as you stand before a room filled with your esteemed colleagues. Someone out there took the time to nominate you, and the credit union’s volunteer board of directors concurred: your performance is unsurpassed. Tonight you are being recognized for excellence.

You hold the award in your hands and look out at the audience.

"It's heavier than I thought," you say...

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Dale Carnegie wrote that “a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” And that’s true, isn’t it? Hearing our names reminds us that we are valued by others; that we make a difference!

We are the folks who drive to an elderly member’s home to perform a notarization because she can’t get a ride into town. We are the folks who walk a withdrawal slip out to someone’s car because he was in an accident, and can’t easily get into the branch building. We volunteer in our communities, supervise local parades, serve on boards, and teach children… We bring life to our jobs and to the people around us. We choose passion every day. We have fun and create games during the busiest, most short-staffed moments in memory, and we laugh at mediocrity!

We are superheroes.

And so are you!

When you choose to go above and beyond your daily routine, the minimum requirements and the 9-5 grind, extraordinary things happen. Did you know that? APEX nominees and winners do. So we tell their stories – we tell each other’s stories – because that sweet sound can make the difference between a culture of average and a culture defined by its passion!

In our industry, we tell the credit union story every day. We talk to our our members, our prospective members, our neighbors and friends – anyone who will listen! We created APEX to tell our own, unique, personal stories about the OSU Federal difference.

Peter Walker, OSU Federal Credit Union