GoWest’s Pam Leavitt Honored with Eugene Farley Award for Advocacy Leadership

Pam Leavitt, GoWest’s SVP of Regional Grassroots and Political Programs/Legislative Affairs for Oregon received the Eugene Farley Award, a national recognition celebrating league system visionaries who create and promote effective advocacy programs. The honor was presented Saturday evening at a reception during the America’s Credit Unions National Governmental Affairs Conference.

It All Started in Oregon

Pam stood up an advocacy model that has been admired and copied nationally.

When she joined the Credit Union Movement leading Oregon advocacy in 1994, immediately following a stint as a U.S. Senate staff member, Pam worked with credit unions to create an inclusive engagement platform, starting the first in-person, Credit Union Day at the Capitol events and launching CULAC Month, encouraging fun and competitive events to drive credit union employees to contribute to fundraising that elects candidates who support credit unions. Year after year, the Oregon credit unions exceeded their goals. Credit unions long supported the state Governmental Affairs Committee in helping to determine the policy advancement agendas, but Pam realized that a separate group of CU leaders and practitioners was needed to “dream big” and take a longer-term approach. As a result, the State Issues Working Group concept became reality. Today, the SWIG meets every two years in all six GoWest states to take a deep dive into the possible.

In her leadership role at the Oregon capitol, Pam helped to define and pass Credit Union Act updates nearly every two years, going back more than two decades. She’s also worked to stave off threats to the CU Movement, defeating a bank-backed attack last decade before it even got a hearing. That legislation would have taxed larger credit unions, imposed additional business lending limits, and required CRA-like reporting by credit unions.

Throughout this time, she’s also led development and passage of pro credit union legislation, including a landmark bill in 2023, requiring high school students to pass two, half-credit courses teaching budgeting and career skills financial education.

After a promotion to include a grassroots leadership role in 2022, Pam worked with her team to establish a program that defines an advocacy role for nearly every employee of a credit union.

“I am humbled to receive this award.,” Pam told Advocacy on the Move. “We worked one credit union at a time to make the case for advocacy engagement, and quickly, the Oregon credit union family leaned in and engaged in the process at every step – every in-person event, call to action, candidate fundraising, and committee service that helped define credit union priorities. It’s exciting to know Oregon credit unions worked with us to develop an advocacy model that is being used across the nation!”

As GoWest’s President and CEO Troy Stang said, “Pam joined the Oregon Credit Union Movement with a vision for successful credit union advocacy. It was dependent on the engagement of the credit unions at every level. She worked with our members to sustain it and expand on it. It’s exciting to see the deep engagement model she established, used by leagues throughout the country, helping to raise credit union awareness, stave off threats, and pass legislation that supports world-class service to members.”

Photo caption:  From left to right: AACUL Chair and CrossState Credit Union Association President/CEO Patrick Conway; GoWest Credit Union Association President/CEO Troy Stang; Senior Vice President of Regional Grassroots/Political Programs and Legislative Affairs Pam Leavitt; AACUL President Brad Miller.

Posted in Advocacy on the Move, Federal Advocacy, Oregon Advocacy.