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Annual Meeting & Board of Directors Election

It has been said and cannot be over-stated that the events of this past year have been unprecedented. Due to this and pursuant to Community Choice Credit Union By-Laws, State and Federal regulations, we delayed our Annual Meeting and Board of Director Election. Although change is always constant, COVID has in some ways accelerated process improvement. In an effort to engage a larger percentage of our membership, the Board of Directors have implemented the advancement of an electronic voting process and Annual Meeting.

The Community Choice Credit Union Annual Meeting will be held virtually on Thursday, August 26, 2021. On this date, three (3) of the nine (9) Board of Director seats will be filled in accordance with the Community Choice Credit Union Election Procedures. The open seats will be for three-year terms.

The Nominating Committee has selected four (4) candidates for the three (3) open seats. You can learn about the candidates in the section below.

The eligibility requirements for petition candidates, not nominated by the Committee, to be eligible for nomination by petition for the Board of Directors are:

  • Not less than 18 years of age;
  • A member in good standing of Community Choice Credit Union;
  • A completed and signed application (download here), resume, photo;
  • A collection of signatures of at least 200 current members of Community Choice Credit Union — each signature is subject to verification to ensure each is from a Community Choice member in good standing.

Those seeking nomination as a candidate for a Board of Director seat by petition must submit all materials by June 25, 2021 to Kathy Carlson, or 6163 NW 86th St, Suite 105, Johnston, IA 50131. The nomination by petition required documents can be accessed online (download here). There will be no nominations taken from the floor at the Annual Meeting.

If any position is contested, that is, there are more than three (3) nominees for the three (3) Board of Director seats to be filled as a result of the election process, electronic ballots will be made available to each member on or before July 26, 2021.


Debra DeGraff

Executive Office for United States Attorneys 

Deb served as an Associate Director with Community Choice for eight months, learning and experiencing the current dynamics of the Board operations and then as a full board member since 2017. Deb has experience and a background in both finance and law. She hopes to bring diversity and unique skills to the current Board. She is asking for your vote and the opportunity to serve you in the coming years. 

Deb worked for the local United States Attorney’s Office as a paralegal/supervisor for 33 years before joining the Executive Office for U.S. Attorney’s full-time in 2018. She is now a Regional Program Specialist supporting 15 districts across the county in the area of financial litigation. Her experience has been in both the civil and criminal area of law, as well as working as an automated litigation specialist for several years.

Joe Yamen

Business Owner, Insurance Company and Realty Offices

Joe has been an owner of a personal lines insurance office affiliated with Shelter Insurance for 29 years. In addition to insurance, he is part owner of Keller Williams Realty franchise in West Des Moines, Ankeny and Ames covering central Iowa. Over the years he has started and sold 3 other business. Joe is a true entrepreneur at heart. His background is in insurance working with small to large businesses along with individuals. He has been involved in the planning and implementation of many start up and ongoing business concerns.

Joe has been a member of Community Choice Credit Union for 9 years. He has served on the board for 3 years and this year is serving as vice chairman on the executive board.

Joe has been married to Tiffan Yamen for nearly 27 years and they have 2 daughters ages 20 (Isabela) and 16 (Zoe).

Joe has been actively serving his community his entire working life. He served on the boards for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the national kidney foundation, 3 terms for Entrepreneurial Organization, Des Moines Golf and Country Club, and still an active volunteer at Drake University in the Business school as they need his help with activities.

Joel W. Gabrielson

Retired Iowa Department of Revenue

I try to spend as much time as possible with my wife visiting the grand kids. I’ve been a member of the Credit Union for over twenty five years and served on the Board for 19 years.

I received an Industrial Administration BS degree from Iowa State University in Finance, Logistics, Management Info Systems, My wife Kathy and I have four children and four grandchildren.

I participate on the Story City Historical Foundation board and participated on the Economic Development Board in Wright County, Past President of the STORY CITY LIONS, and Past National Chairman for the ESOP Association of America in Washington, DC for 14 years.

I served on the Belmond City Council over 20 years, Past Wright County Supervisor, and a small retail business owner for 25 years.

My many experiences in government, private retail business ownership, and national association experiences helped develop my ability to be an active strategic planner, and a good listener. I am interested in serving your member's concerns. I hope to be more active with Community Choice board needs now that I have retired.

Community Choice has designed an exciting path to the 21st Century and beyond. It’s time to all get together and have some fun along the way to a successful financial future. If you have a concern, or a question, or would like to talk about your ideas contact me, I am your eyes and ears on the board; I will speak for you.

“I would appreciate your vote for the Community Choice Credit Union Board Position, thanks.”

Tom McEntee

Retired from EMC Insurance Companies

Tom retired as an Application Systems Manager from EMC Insurance Companies in September of 2020 after a long career in IT spanning almost 45 years. During the last 33 years of his career, he managed teams that were responsible for the Personal Lines Auto and Homeowners systems, Claims systems, Personal and Commercial Lines Billing systems, Accounting systems, Claims and Policy systems help desks and the Access Point system.

Tom has served on the St Boniface Parish Council. During his tenure on the Parish Council a new church was built. Tom also volunteered his time to participate on several fund raising campaigns for St. Boniface. He has served as the Chairperson on the initial Waukee YMCA Parent Swim Team Committee. Under his leadership this committee was responsible for setting up all home swim meets for the Waukee YMCA. Tom was a Level II Swim Team which allowed him to run and officiate YMCA swim meets. He also volunteered his time to officiate regional and state YMCA swim meets. Tom is a regular blood donor and is a member of the 7 gallon club. Tom and his wife Cathy live in Waukee. They have two daughters, Chelsey and Sarah, and one son, Eric. Tom and Cathy welcomed their first grandchild, Zoey, in March of 2021.

Tom was a member of EMC’s Credit Union for over 35 years before their merger with Community Choice Credit Union in the spring of 2017. While a member of EMC’s Credit Union he held positions of Secretary, Membership Officer and Vice President. Tom has served as the Board Secretary for Community Choice Credit Union for the past 2 years and for the past 3 years has held the position of President on the Community Choice Foundation Board.

It has been a privilege and honor to serve our members while on the Community Choice Credit Union Board. Implementing new products and services for our members is our priority. We are always looking for ways to enhance our member experience while putting our members first.