I sit down with Darrell Kuhn to find out about the man behind the title.
You can tell a lot about a man by his socks. So when I sit down with the President and CEO of the Truro Community Credit Union, Darrell Kuhn, who’s rocking a bright purple pair with polka dots that match his bright purple tie, I know he is not going to be your stereotypical corporate type. Fitting, since the Community Credit Union is not your typical financial organization! Pair his snappy sense of style with an engaging personality and bracelet that states ‘Never Give Up’ and you’ve got a man the community needs to know more about.
It’s a lot more than his sense of style that saw Kuhn inducted in to Atlantic Canada’s Business Hall of Fame this year, as part of the Top 50 CEO awards. Of course, it’s an honour just to be nominated – an even bigger honour to win. An even bigger honour still to win 5 consecutive years in a row, which Kuhn now has, earning him a spot in the Hall of Fame. In fact, he’s the first person to ever win 5 years in a row in the award’s 14-year history, and Truro is lucky enough to have him at the helm in our community! But this is not another article on his many achievements. This is getting to know the man behind the title, and what this community means to him.
Kuhn, a German name pronounced Que-ahn, is originally from Moncton. With a combined total of 40 years in the service industry, he’s been with the Credit Union for 20 years, 10 of which have been with the Truro and Amherst branches. He only planned to stay in Truro for a few years but the happy and dynamic community has kept him here. “I love this community. In fact, my wife and I talk about retiring here” Kuhn says with a smile.
In addition to his position with the Credit Union, Kuhn also sits on the boards of the United Way, and Canadian Mental Health Association, as he says he feels best when he’s involved in the community.
“In my job, what I love the best, is when I’m not in my job. It’s when I’m out in the community and providing whatever volunteer support I can do,” says Kuhn. “ I’m very much involved on boards- it gives you more perspective. You think you know what an organization is all about but I really enjoy seeing first hand what they do and the impact it has on people’s lives. Both Terry Hearn and Susan Henderson, and their teams, are so involved, it’s unbelievable. You don’t see that a lot in other communities, to this level.. ’
Kuhn says his earning this prestigious honour and award is also a recognition of everyone on his team. He believes the Credit Union is making banking fun again and that it resonates with people seeing their financial institution investing so much in to their community- 40% of their gross profits to be exact! “We see ourselves as community builders. The better we do, the more goes back in to the community.” This sentiment is evident in the recent announcement of the new 10-year partnership between the Credit Union and the Marigold Cultural Theatre which will ensure the future of theatre and performing arts in Truro. They also have a similar deal with the Canadian Mental Health Association of Colchester’s new location on Prince Street, which will feature a Credit Union Kiosk.
Kuhn and his wife Denise, who works with Moncton Airport Security, have two grown children; a daughter, Nadyne and son, Kyle who both also reside in Moncton. He’s a cat lover, and the proud fur father of Spencer, a seal point siamese and Mia, a lilac point siamese, and of course has plenty of pics on his phone to show me as he excitedly tells me the story of the day they adopted them. “Denise says they’re my cats – Spencer always has to be curled up around my neck, and Mia on my lap when I’m on the couch. They sit at the front entrance waiting for me to walk in the door!”
Even after 40 years, Kuhn’s not quite ready to retire yet! He’s currently overseeing the induction of a new banking format which will be seen in the branches late next year- a hybrid banking format that will change the branch dynamic! After this project is up and running, he feels like he’ll be ready to step aside and allow new blood to come in to the board and organization.
What does retirement look like for this self-professed workaholic? You won’t find him on a golf course! Kuhn is an avid reader of business books and has amassed quite a library. He says one thing he would love to do is write a book about his experiences some day. His love of being outside might also see him take up gardening, though he hasn’t ruled out learning to play guitar, an item on his bucket list. He joked that you may find him playing it outside the bank, he says with a chuckle.
While travel is certainly on the horizon, Kuhn would like to explore Canada first before leaving the continent – visiting smaller communities is where his heart lies. What he calls getting to know the country. First on the docket would be a train ride through the Rockies. Perhaps that’s where he’ll start writing his book, and I for one look forward to reading it.