Rosemary Brinkley

Rosemary Brinkley
Chair, Board of Directors
Over 40 years of service to the education community and credit union movement

Greenbelt, Maryland
Over $850 million in Assets; 87,000 Members; 12 Branches
Serving the Education Community in Seven Maryland Counties

Rosemary Brinkley has served on the Board of Directors of Educational Systems Federal Credit Union for over 40 years. Throughout the decades, she has led change by setting a positive example for members, employees and the entire Maryland education community. Mrs. Brinkley leads with a very simple philosophy in mind, “we can do better.”

Mrs. Brinkley lives the credit union mantra of “people helping people.” During the 60th Annual Meeting of Educational Systems FCU, she stated that one of the main reasons she became involved in the Credit Union was that she wanted to find a way to help educators struggling to make financial ends meet while raising families.

Throughout her years of service, Mrs. Brinkley has remained focused on helping members of the education community. Mrs. Brinkley has helped the Credit Union remain focused on its core purpose of serving the education community. It is who we are and what we do. Mrs. Brinkley’s leadership has inspired the Credit Union to conduct business like our members approach educating others – we believe in making a difference.

Under Mrs. Brinkley’s leadership as Chair of the Board of Directors at Educational Systems FCU, the Credit Union has grown from $63 million in assets in 1986 to over $850 million today. Throughout her tenure, Mrs. Brinkley has led unprecedented growth and change for both the Credit Union and the education community. The Credit Union now has 12 branches and serves 87,000 members in seven school systems and three community colleges throughout Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s, St. Mary’s and Talbot counties in Maryland. These achievements have been accomplished because of Mrs. Brinkley’s strategic vision, her unwavering commitment to the education and credit union communities and her promise that we can do better. Mrs. Brinkley is a true champion of education and credit unions!

Accomplishments of the inductee
Serving the Education Community with a Commitment to Support Education
Serving the education community is not just the core purpose of the Credit Union but also a personal belief of Mrs. Brinkley. During her 33-year career in education, Mrs. Brinkley was an educator, administrator and leader in two public school systems in Maryland. In 2013, Mrs. Brinkley was honored by the MD|DC Credit Union Association as the Volunteer of the Year for her accomplishments of serving the education community and living the mission of the Credit Union – to grow by helping members of the education community achieve their financial goals and dreams.

Mrs. Brinkley has instilled her commitment to helping the education community in our Credit Union. Everything we do is centered on our ideal and belief to support education. This means helping all members of the education community including employees of the school systems and community colleges we serve, parents and students from kindergarten through post-secondary education. Support education is our mantra and the basis for all of our community and public relations efforts and events throughout the year. For us, it’s an honor to support education. It is who we are and what we do. We are proud to serve the members of the education community and the extraordinary people who share a remarkable commitment to making a difference every day.

In 2015, Educational Systems FCU sponsored 115,000 students from 350 elementary schools in its baseball reading program, donated 6,500 backpacks to middle school students in need and awarded over $40,000 in scholarships to local students and educators. In addition to sponsorships and ongoing philanthropic initiatives to support education, Educational Systems FCU supports its employees to live the mantra of support education. In 2015, 100 employees volunteered over 750 hours to support local school reading programs, spelling bees and science fairs and to provide financial education seminars to further support education within our community.

Over the years, Educational Systems FCU has won numerous awards for its products and services designed to meet the unique needs of the education community and its unwavering dedication to support education through sponsorship, volunteerism and charitable giving. In 2015, the Credit Union was the recipient of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Dora Maxwell Award for Social Responsibility by the MD|DC Credit Union Association for its philanthropic efforts to support education. Earlier this summer, the MD|DC Credit Union Association presented the CUNA Louise Herring “Philosophy-in-Action” Award to the Credit Union for its Summer Pay account, which helps teachers save during the school year while earning a high rate of return, so they have the money they need in the summer when they do not receive a regular paycheck.

Mrs. Brinkley’s dedication to the education community is also demonstrated by her other volunteer activities. The National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education applauded Mrs. Brinkley’s community outreach and participation by presenting her with their Distinguished Alumni Award in 2010. Mrs. Brinkley has also served her alma mater, Hampton University, as a Trustee and served on the National Hampton Alumni Association Board.

Financial Education
Mrs. Brinkley has always understood the importance of financial education. Early in her career, she was one of the few public school educators to teach her students how to create a budget and set financial goals. Her passion to help the members of the education community to make sound financial decisions is what led her to serve at the Credit Union, and she continues to directly interact with members regarding this topic today. For this reason, the Credit Union focuses on providing financial education to members of the education community through in-person counseling, financial education seminars and online tools and resources.

The Credit Union has made a tremendous difference in the financial lives of members by helping them learn how to manage their money. Under Mrs. Brinkley’s leadership in 2011, Educational Systems FCU was honored by the Education Credit Union Council (ECUC), CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council, and MD|DC Credit Union Association for “Best Youth Marketing” for the implementation of the FoolProof® Program which the Credit Union made available at no cost to high school and community college teachers in the counties it serves. Today, the Credit Union offers Foolproof in 60 schools, helping over 1,500 students and provided over 100 financial education seminars to nearly 2,000 members throughout the education community last year.

Members First
A true leader is the one who picks the right people to be part of the team. Over the years, Mrs. Brinkley has recruited individuals to volunteer on the Board of Directors who share her passion and vision for serving the members of the Credit Union and the education community. Mrs. Brinkley has been committed to ensuring that the Credit Union’s volunteers are diverse in their strengths and points of view, while also sharing her commitment to serving the education community. Mrs. Brinkley’s priority of putting the members’ needs first and focusing on long-term success when making decisions has been a hallmark of her leadership and has shaped the culture at Educational Systems FCU.

Commitment to serve the african American community
Promoting Diversity and Strengthening Financial Lives
During her years of service to Educational Systems FCU, Rosemary Brinkley has led the way for diversity and growth in the credit union movement. Over 40 years ago when Mrs. Brinkley started her first term on our Board of Directors, she was one of the few African American women serving on credit union boards in the area. “Women, especially African American women, were rarely seen on credit union boards back then,” stated Mrs. Brinkley. “In addition, it was not expected that women would speak up and bring forth new ideas.” Mrs. Brinkley’s leadership has changed that perception for our Credit Union and for the credit union movement. Her willingness to speak up on important issues in a constructive way has resulted in her being sought out for leadership positions at the Credit Union and other organizations. In fact, early in her tenure on the Board, she was elected to Vice Chair, and she continued in this role for most of the next 15 years. In 1986, she was elected Chair of the Board and has continued in this role for the majority of the years since. During her tenure, she has regularly promoted diversity when seeking qualified volunteers to ensure that the Board reflects the Credit Union’s membership. To her credit, Educational Systems FCU was featured in a case study regarding board diversity in a 2008 white paper on highly performing boards.

Another credit union organization in which Mrs. Brinkley pioneered racial diversity was the Education Credit Union Council (ECUC). The Board members of Educational Systems FCU are passionate about serving the education community and have been big supporters of the ECUC over the years. Among her many accomplishments, Mrs. Brinkley became the first African American director on the ECUC Board in 1993 and was elected Chair for the last year of her term in 1997. During and after her tenure in office, Mrs. Brinkley has continued to encourage minority participation in the ECUC.

During Mrs. Brinkley’s 40 plus years of service to Educational Systems Federal Credit Union, 87,000 members of the education community have had access to a strong and growing credit union with the core purpose of serving the education community. Under her leadership, the Credit Union has remained steadfast in its commitment to support education and to make a difference in the financial lives of our members.

It is a great honor and with much pride that I, Chris Conway, President/CEO, on behalf of Educational Systems FCU, nominate our Chair, Rosemary Brinkley, for the African American Credit Union Coalition Hall of Fame.