Emily Szymkiewicz, Executive Committee, Treasurer/Secretary  Market Vice President, United Federal Credit Union

Emily Szymkiewicz, Executive Committee, Treasurer/Secretary
Market Vice President, United Federal Credit Union


What inspired you to become a part of United Way?

I’d lived in several different communities prior to moving to southwest Michigan ten years ago, and it didn’t take long for me to see what made this place so special. Community involvement and development is important to me, and over the years I have seen just how much the United Way of Southwest Michigan is not just a service-minded organization, but a true a pillar in this community. The impact they make on the lives of others is positive and immense, and the leadership group is comprised of energetic, fun and genuine individuals. Works of goodwill paired with people who love and believe in what they do—that’s something that should be an inspiration to us all.

Why do you serve on the board?

I knew I wanted to serve on a board of an organization that had similar values to my employer—United Federal Credit Union—where our philosophy is all about “people helping people.” For decades, the United Way of Southwest Michigan has made its mission about strengthening people’s lives and improving our community, so it’s a natural fit. My experience working with credit union Members, listening to their needs, and developing beneficial solutions for them, translates well to making a difference for the United Way and for those we serve.

What is your leadership philosophy?

I believe an effective leader is self-accountable. A team expects a leader to always follow through with what they say they will do, and that’s why I exhibit the type of behavior I expect from others and push my team to be the best version of themselves. Being a leader is also about being open to learning, and my group of high-performers teaches me something new every day.

What is your most memorable volunteer experience?

Most recently, handing out gift cards to those in need during the holiday season with the United Way. The joy on those individuals’ faces was absolutely touching to see. It was incredible to witness the excitement of them knowing, for example, they could go buy Christmas gifts for their children.

What’s your motto?

Treat the janitor with the same respect as the CEO

Who are your heroes in real life?

My parents & grandparents – their work ethic was unwavering and I’m thankful to have observed that growing up.