2023 Spirit Award Winners
Small Business Lender | The Farmers Bank | Frankfort, IN
2023 Community Spirit Award Winner, Indiana
Susan Ruch, Small Business Lender at The Farmers Bank in Frankfort, Ind., received the 2023 Community Spirit Award for Indiana. Susan was nominated for her excellence in affordable housing, economic development and as an emerging leader. Through her leadership, The Farmers Bank has participated in several FHLBank Indianapolis grant programs including the Accessibility Modification Program, Neighborhood Impact Program, Elevate Small Business Grant and the Affordable Housing Program which has brought a total of $1.5M to her local community. Susan leads the Mentorship Program at the Farmers Bank – a six-month program, currently in its 3rd cohort – with the most participants yet. As part of the cohort, Susan helped lead the team to propose a process for helping employees build a career portfolio to have a visual of how the employee has progressed over the years. Susan is one of the first to volunteer for any community activity the bank may sponsor. When she sees a need in the community, she harnesses resources both internally and externally to the bank to help the family, organization or effort. Community Development is her passion and she shares that joyfully with others.
HR Manager | United Bay Community Credit Union | Bay City, MI
2023 Community Spirit Award Winner, Michigan
Michelle LaClair-Ziembo, HR Manager, at United Bay Community Credit Union in Bay City, Mich., received the FHLBank Indianapolis 2023 Community Spirit Award for Michigan. Michelle was nominated for her excellence in promoting a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture and as an emerging leader at United Bay and throughout the community. Michelle’s efforts have added programs that impact United Bay members and employees. She led a 12-month program that earned a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging & Accessibility (DEIBA) certification. The program included policy review, intense social discussions, interviews and ongoing education, with metrics tied to a viable DEIBA plan. She also created Employee Resource Groups, led community partnerships with minority-owned businesses, launched wellness and new benefits programs, and inspired numerous volunteer activities. She was also instrumental in promoting forward-thinking, positive messaging for staff that resulted in a Top Places to Work win in 2022, and Top Culture awards in 2021 and 2022. Michelle’s leadership has transformed the United Bay’s culture into one that is truly invested in the communities they serve.