TRURO – For the fifth year in a row, Darrell Kuhn has been named one of Atlantic Business Magazine’s Top 50 CEOs.
The president and CEO of the Community Credit Union in Truro and Amherst has, because of the five-time win, been entered into the prestigious Hall of Fame.
“I was saying to some of my leadership team that when you go into the Hall of Fame, does that mean you are old and retired?” Kuhn laughed. “Maybe it’s an omen. On a serious note, five consecutive years – you don’t expect this.”
While the honour was bestowed upon Kuhn, he said one doesn’t achieve anything without a strong team.
“If you don’t have a strong team, it just doesn’t happen,” he said. “I always say this – I will put my team up against anybody. I think we have a great team, starting with the leadership group. They are just phenomenal and support me 150 per cent. It’s just been unbelievable.”
Being so involved in the community started a number of years ago. The first thing to happen was the new building on Willow Street for the Truro branch. Then it was to get the organization much more involved in the community. Things started out slowly about five years ago, but has taken off in the last three years.
“One of our principles is the wellbeing of the communities we work and live in,” said Kuhn. “It’s actually a cooperative principle. It’s one we certainly take to heart. We feel it’s in our DNA. We do take that to heart and believe that’s our responsibility.”
Over the years, the organization has been involved in a number of organizations. It started with the naming rights of the Community Credit Union Arena at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre. In Amherst, they got involved with the Community Credit Union Business Innovation Centre (formerly Amherst’s town hall), and sponsoring a building at the Lions Park.
Recently in Truro, the credit union got involved with the Canadian Mental Health Association Colchester East Hants branch’s building campaign, where it will have a kiosk when the new building opens. They also helped the Colchester Food Bank out with an interest-free loan to help with the purchase of that organization’s new facility as well.
Kuhn sits on a number of the non-profit organizations’ boards of directors, including the mental health association and United Way of Colchester County.
“One of our board members put it very well when she said, ‘the more we reach out to the community, the more the community reaches in,’” he said. “It’s fun, it’s enjoyable, and you get to see the impact.”
He said Susan Henderson, with the mental health association, and Terry Hearn, with the United Way, both have passion for their respective organizations, as do most others involved in the not-for-profit sector.
“It’s just unbelievable. We want to be part of that and support that. We see ourselves partnering with the community.”
Through the awards program, nominees are only eligible to earn the Top 50 CEO honour five times. Then, they move into the Hall of Fame.
They can then use their Hall of Fame status to nominate other CEOs.
“It’s always humbling for sure. When I listen to and see some of the past Hall of Famers that are very, very significant players – Jon Stanfield for example, and Dianne Kelderman…to be in the same conversation as those, it’s pretty overwhelming,” said Kuhn.
Kelderman was one to nominate Kuhn over the years, and said it was “pretty incredible” for Kuhn to have received the award for five consecutive years.
“It’s quite an achievement,” said Kelderman, who is president and CEO of the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council. “It speaks to the kind of person Darrell is, and speaks to his leadership, his leadership style. He’s very shy and humble.”
Kelderman said Kuhn is an incredible person, “with lots of wonderful attributes and characteristics. He’s a great leader and visionary.”
When she went into the Hall of Fame, Kelderman said she made it her mission to nominate leaders in the credit unions and cooperatives, as they seemed to be missing from the rolodex of honourees.
It’s the same thing Kuhn plans on doing, now that he’s joined the Hall of Fame.
“I have a whole list of people I want to recognize,” he said. “Especially to build the profile even more in Truro and Nova Scotia.”