2022 Awards of Excellence - Christopher Hendry

CEO of the Year


Nomination Letter:
Christopher P. Hendry has shattered the mold on what it means to be a “typical” Credit Union CEO. He’ll be the first to admit he doesn’t know much about banking and whole-heartedly enjoys not being the smartest one in the room. Chris joined IC as President and CEO in February 2021 coming from the Healthcare industry having served as the Senior Director of External Affairs for UMass Memorial Health Alliance-Clinton Hospital. He transitioned to IC as President & CEO after being a member of IC’s Board of Directors and Supervisory Committee for the past seven years. His time on the board, coupled with his background in strategic direction for marketing, communication, philanthropic and community-benefits programs, were a perfect fit for the organizational change maker IC needed to reignite its culture.

Coming to IC as CEO with minimal industry background, he has no preconceived notions or expectations about systems, processes, organizational structure, etc. The advantage of a leader with a blank slate is that nothing is impossible. You can often find Chris asking the most basic question: “why?” usually on repeat. He’ll jokingly say the repetition sounds just like his four year old son, but the simplicity of the question is highly effective in pushing his team to peel concepts back to the most basic layer and encourages them to be possibility thinkers.

As a proven executive leader in the non-profit and higher-education space, Chris brings a new and energizing vision to IC by helping the team return to what they all loved best – serving their membership. With a renewed focus on the credit union’s members, internal culture, and our surrounding communities, IC has seen unprecedented growth in a short period of time.

Going into last winter, Chris spearheaded an innovative way to empower our members to help us give back to our community by introducing The Great Holiday Giveback. We raffled off the chance for a member to choose the charity of their choice to receive a $1,000 donation in their name. Ten charities nominated by IC members were awarded $1,000 each, and ten charities nominated by IC team members have also received $1,000 donations. Additionally, each charity nominated by IC team members that didn’t receive the winning sum received $100 – all for a total of more than $22,000 going into local non-profit organizations. The winning organizations were all deeply engaged in empowering and assisting community members in need. Food pantries, school associations, indigenous advocacy groups, and even local public broadcasting were among the groups nominated by both members and team members.

If you ask Chris his secret, he’ll turn and point to his team. Through a series of internal promotions and new hires, he’s focused on getting the right people in the right roles asking the right questions. He strongly feels that the best strategy is to be surrounded by a team of passionate and energetic professionals who can are excited to embrace new ideas and look for ways to innovate.

Despite not taking much of the credit, his team will tell you that the trust, support and manner in which he empowers those around him is unmatched. From the front line branch bankers to the executive leadership group, Chris reminds the IC team that their role is to, first and foremost, always do what is in the best interest of the members.

Looking forward, the future of IC is brighter than ever. Under Chris’ leadership, IC has seen record asset growth in a short period of time from $530M to just teetering over the $600M mark – an incredible milestone! He has lead the team to making strategic investments in infrastructure, technology and team members.

A recent example of these strategic investments was brought to life through deployment of a conversational AI chat bot called Ivy, which was paired with an omni-channel tool to facilitate member interactions through chat, voice call, video messaging and co-browsing. By developing a close relationship with the technology partners and dedicating expert internal resources, IC was able to bring a very advanced member experience channel to market in only a few short weeks; all of which was done to serve the evolving needs of our membership. With other strategic technology upgrades on the horizon, the next few years are gearing up to be memorable!

There is no doubt that Chris Hendry will leave a significant mark on this organization by his forward-thinking, change-making, outside-the-box mentality. The importance of this nomination to the 2022 Awards of Excellence is to recognize the tremendous impact of his authentic and transformational leadership style in such a record time. Since joining the IC team as President and CEO, Chris has left a lasting impact on, not only the credit union and its membership, but in the personal/professional lives of his team members, community and everyone he comes to contact with.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, Executive and Senior Leadership and all 130+ team members at IC Credit Union, we graciously nominate Christopher P. Hendry for the distinguished honor of CCUA’s CEO of the Year. While Chris may prefer to grind hard in silence, his success is his noise.