In 1985, Kellie Terhune (now Kellie Terhune Neely) began what would become an award-winning 35-year career with Hughes Federal Credit Union.
Hughes was founded in 1952 with the sole mission of helping Hughes Aircraft Company employees at the Tucson plant receive the best financial guidance, and rates and terms on products and services to help them build and protect their wealth.
Today the credit union’s mission is stronger than ever. Membership has been expanded to all who live, work, worship or attend school in Tucson. And now, others can join by making a small donation to one of Hughes’ select community groups.
“Based on the credit union’s philosophy of “people helping people,” Hughes’ attracts like-minded people to serve at every level of the organization, like former Vice President of Marketing Kellie Terhune Neely, who retired in 2020 and now is volunteering for the Hughes Supervisory Committee.”
Paying it Forward
Kellie Terhune Neely is a proud 1981 graduate of the University of Arizona journalism program, which helped to kick-start her career in marketing, business and finance. Later, she would obtain an MBA from the University of Phoenix.
Her time at the University of Arizona was personally transformational, and she always wanted to “pay forward” what she had experienced with others.
Neely says her devotion to the University of Arizona comes down to receiving an excellent education, a wonderful college experience and her first job thanks to Arizona Alumni Association career services.
Through Hughes and Neely’s devotion to the university, she has helped support and continues to assist numerous programs and initiatives including:
- Junior Duel in the Desert (a youth-focused personal financial competition now called Arizona Face-Off).
- Earn to Learn (a higher education savings-to-scholarship program that has helped participants earn over $22 million in matched savings scholarships since 2013).
- Take Charge Cats (a financial literacy program for community youth and adults).
- Arizona KidCats Club (a club that connects K-8 youth to fun university sports activities).
- Angel Charity for Children Culinary Education Center (a farm-to-fork urban garden supported by UArizona, Pima County, and 4-H Youth Development at Tucson Village Farm).
- Official Arizona Athletics Sponsor and Title Sponsor Women’s Sports (support to 30 plus Arizona athletics teams and UA programs).
- Hughes Scholarship program (scholarship amount of $100,000 awarded since 2005).
Why it Matters
Those who know Neely say she leads by example and, in doing so, inspires all around her to make a difference in the lives of others.
“Personally and professionally, I can think of nothing more meaningful than ‘people helping people,” said Neely. “The credit union’s philosophy and mine are completely aligned, and I feel incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others through measures that increase financial well-being and help people achieve their goals.”
“Having just celebrated our 70th Anniversary, it’s important to acknowledge how former and current employees, volunteers and members have helped shape our organization. Kellie is a person whose leadership continues to drive positive outcomes for our members, the community and the University of Arizona.” - Robert Swick, Hughes Federal Credit Union President
Hughes has adapted quickly to help its members in good times and bad — guiding them through boom-and-bust economic conditions including the ongoing pandemic and the recent period of rising costs.
Neely said she looks forward to her ongoing role volunteering for the Hughes Supervisory Committee and working closely with credit union and community leaders to help people reach, maintain and exceed their financial goals. “That could be as simple as helping someone strengthen their credit to purchase their first car to buying a home, attending college or saving for retirement,” Neely said.
“Hughes has always shown strength and compassion in challenging economic times, I feel positive about what’s on the horizon for Hughes and who we serve,” Neely added.
What started as a two-person office in 1952 serving only Hughes Aircraft Company employees has become an award-winning credit union with more than 175,000 members and over 265 employees with seven locations across Southern Arizona and $2 billion in assets. For more information, visit HughesFCU.org.