Award Spotlight: Outstanding Volunteers


Several Recognition Awards will be presented to New York credit union professionals and volunteers during the New York Credit Union Association’s virtual 2020 Annual Meeting & Awards Presentation from 9 to 10 a.m. on Monday, June 15. Today’s featured award is the Outstanding Volunteer Award, which recognizes volunteers who exemplify commitment to their credit unions and consistently embody the “people helping people” philosophy.

This year’s Outstanding Volunteers include: Jane Slack, chairperson of the board of directors of Reliant Community Credit Union and Gary Barello, chairman of the board of directors of Sperry Associates FCU.

Slack HeadshotJane Slack is a dedicated and steadfast volunteer both to Reliant and the credit union movement, who lives out the philosophy of “people helping people.” She began her service to Reliant Community Credit Union in 1975 as an alternate on its Credit Committee. Becoming a full member of that committee in 1976, she served until 1981, at which time she gained a seat on the board of directors, and is currently board chairperson. Since becoming board chair, Slack has seen the credit union through significant growth as well as the addition of three branch locations. She was also a member of Reliant’s Supervisory Committee from 2009 to 2019.

Slack is connected, involved, committed and engaged with Reliant, its members and leadership team. Along with her fellow board members, Slack always has growth of the credit union at the top of her mind. She has spearheaded change in the board’s governance model, adopting a strategic, top-level approach, ensuring that the board focuses on the most important items for Reliant’s members and employees and to further long-term growth.

She leads by example, ensuring that she participates in continued education to fulfill her fiduciary duties as a board member and encourages fellow board members to do the same. She commits to being present at events and conferences at state and national levels, ensuring she engages with those necessary to make a difference for Reliant and the overall credit union movement.

Outside the credit union, Slack taught Business at Newark Central School for 11 years, and then became the School Business Administrator for the Marion Central School District. In 1984, Jane became the assistant superintendent for Business at Jefferson-Lewis BOCES in Watertown. She retired from BOCES in 2001 and began a new career as a registered representative and is currently with Hazard & Siegel. She served as a member of the Board of Education at the Town of Webb Union Free School District (Old Forge) from July 2004 through June 2011. In May 2011, she became a member of the Board of Directors for the Town of Webb Historical Association and in October 2012, she assumed the role of treasurer for the Kiwanis Club of the Central Adirondacks.

Barello Headshot

Gary Barello’s philosophy of “people helping people,” is highlighted by his conviction to the principles that credit unions stand for – community service, diversity and a belief in the important role member-owned institutions serve within their member’s lives.

Barello has been chairman of the board at Sperry Associates FCU since December 2010, and a credit union member since 1981. He previously served as senior vice president of human resources at Bethpage FCU, where, as a member of the executive management team, he served as a key figure on Bethpage FCU’s strategic planning team, in addition to overseeing the organization’s full spectrum of human resource functions.

With years of service and great satisfaction of his corporate achievements, he departed Bethpage FCU to start his own human resources consulting and training practice and, in 2009 while engaging with Sperry FCU, he became a non-board member to Sperry FCU’s nominating committee. In that role, Barello was able to recruit two new board members who together helped to change the fortunes of the credit union, allowing the credit union survive tumultuous times.

In 2012, while trying to recruit a permanent CEO, Barello used vacation days from his full-time job outside the credit union to go to Sperry to approve loans, provide operational oversight and handle human resources matters. He continued to put in this extra effort when he convinced Kevin Healy to take the helm of Sperry FCU as its CEO. Barello then spent the next four years working in conjunction with Healy and the NCUA to shepherd Sperry FCU from a “troubled and severely undercapitalized credit union” to a “well-capitalized credit union.”

Barello is an accomplished senior executive in the human resources field, who dedicates his time to a variety of causes, such as serving on the board of The Maurer Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to those impacted by breast cancer and the promotion of breast health education; co-chair of the LI-STEM Hub for Long Island’s regional industrial council for manufacturing; a member of the advisory board for Manhattan-based Berkley College; and serving on the President’s Council for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Long Island. The Moxxie Mentoring Foundation recognized him as a MoXY Man of Distinction, which is given to men who have worked to advance the careers of women. The reward was the result of Barello’s longtime investment in the career advancement of women, demonstrating further his commitment towards equity and diversity.

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