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Home » A Q&A With Women’s History Month Honoree, Kim Hanson

A Q&A With Women’s History Month Honoree, Kim Hanson

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Women's History month

Throughout March, we’re celebrating some of the women who made Maps (and credit unions) what they are today. Women played key roles in establishing the first steps of credit unions in the United States, but they are also at the forefront of our future. In fact, a 2021 CUNA study found a majority of credit unions (51%) have female CEOs (compared to just 3% of banks). The same report showed that women hold 33% of credit union board positions (just 16% for banks). We’re lucky to have a number of savvy, forward-thinking female leaders who are leading the way into the future. Today, we’re honoring Kim Hanson, the Executive Director of the Maps Community Foundation.

Hanson joined Maps as Executive Director of the Maps Community Foundation in January 2020. She has lived in Salem since 2004, working with many nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, including Marion-Polk Food Share, United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley, Mountain West Investment Corporation, and the Salem-Keizer Career Technical Education Center. Hanson is passionate about enriching the lives of others and works tirelessly to develop and sustain the programs that nourish the Mid-Valley communities that Maps serves. Hanson’s leadership is instrumental in both our mission to build stronger communities and our aim to be a partner for positive change. We asked her some questions about what led her to her current role and what inspired her along the way.

Maps: What motivated you to become a leader in your industry?

Hanson: I am motivated on a daily basis by my desire to support our local community and contribute to making it a healthy, thriving place that is full of opportunity for all. The credit union industry formed in a very grassroots way around the inspirational philosophy of “people helping people” with individuals pooling their financial resources to make something possible that they could not do alone. It’s this collaborative spirit that is at the core of our community giveback work today and that inspires me. I believe that we can do so much more together than when we try to go alone.

Maps: Have you drawn professional inspiration from other women? Tell us about someone personally or professionally who has inspired you.

Hanson: Yes, absolutely, constantly. One professional inspiration is our retiring Superintendent of Salem-Keizer Public Schools, Christy Perry. She leads with such heart, humility, and positivity, always taking the spotlight off of herself and putting it onto the teachers and students, while at the same time masterfully building relationships and an organizational culture that truly cares about students, sees opportunity amongst challenge, and delivers amazing outcomes.

Maps: What motivates you when things get tough?

Hanson: What motivates me is knowing that if we put in the heart and effort and work together, we can resolve the toughest challenges and make positive change happen. Knowing that we have made a difference in the life of one person keeps me in it.

Maps: What does good team leadership look like to you?

Hanson: Good team leadership involves taking the time to listen and get to know people on both a professional and personal level. It means making sure that we are unified and understand the larger goals that we are working towards, while creating a culture that encourages creativity and innovation and celebrates the wins. I aspire to be a servant leader and believe that leaders exist at all levels within organizations and communities; if we take the time to listen and engage others, the outcomes will be that much richer.

Maps: What advice would you give the next generation of female leaders?

Hanson: Believe in yourself, embrace your authenticity, and do not be afraid to take risks when you know what is right and what you believe in.

Maps: Who is your favorite female historical figure?

Hanson: Mother Teresa because of her compassion and great love for humanity. She said, “not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”

 Check out our Q&A with our Chief Operations Officer, Rachel Pross here and stay tuned for more interviews with some of our amazing leaders as Women’s History Month continues.

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