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Living the Mission

Nancy Williamson exudes energy. You are just as likely to find her under the dining room table playing the Big Bad Wolf with her grandsons as you are to catch her driving a check to a ServU Credit Union member’s home during a snowstorm because, as Nancy explained, “He needed it, and I had it.”

Her career at ServU started in 1973, when she entered the credit union to withdraw money to buy her parents an anniversary present. During a quick conversation with the teller, she was invited to interview for a part-time file clerk position. She secured that job and after graduating from Corning Community College and Elmira College, she had a choice to make.

“At my father’s suggestion, I took two sheets of paper, drew a line down the middle of both and listed the pros and cons of working at the Credit Union and Corning, Inc.,” said Nancy, explaining that she had been offered a position with both organizations. “I knew the Credit Union. I knew what it stood for, and I valued its mission. I picked the Credit Union and have never questioned my decision.”

ServU is about helping people. Nancy became the Chief Executive Officer in 1979, and under her leadership the Credit Union works diligently to build relationships with its members that engender trust. Driven by a desire to “make someone’s day and earn a hug around the waist,” Nancy looks for ways to help people. Sometimes, she does this by buying a half gallon of milk for a stranger in the grocery store. Other times, she empowers members of her staff to distribute Subway gift cards to students on local college campuses. 

Her methods for helping others are creative, fun, and fair, and the impact of her efforts was recently recognized by Corning Community College’s Alumni Association. The recipient of the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award, Nancy is adamant that CCC has been and remains a part of every facet of her life.

She enrolled at CCC out of high school and worked four part-time jobs to pay for her education. After taking every math and science course and realizing her need for numbers was still unmet, she enrolled in Professor Dave Quattrone’s accounting class.

“The light bulb went off,” said Nancy. “I’d been searching for my place, and I found it. Crunching numbers, balancing profit and loss statements. That is my world.”

As time went on, though, she realized there was room for more. Sharing knowledge through teaching is also immensely rewarding. Enter CCC again: in 1982, she became an adjunct professor, teaching CCC students for more than two decades. She has also served as a member of the College’s Development Foundation Board and more than 50 percent of her staff has taken classes or graduated from CCC.

“CCC is good for the community,” said Nancy. “It’s a staple. Like our hospitals and financial institutions, we need it. The College keeps the community young and ensures that everyone has access to an affordable education.”