Sandra Ludlum considers her current position and her education her greatest achievements: “Not by virtue of the title, but because of my opportunity to get there,” she says, explaining that she joined Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union with an associate’s degree, and then — through its tuition reimbursement program — went on to receive her bachelor’s degree and MBA. “I’ve had the privilege of working at a level where I can contribute significantly to the long-term growth of the credit union,” she says. Ludlum — who grew up in Glenham, attended Beacon City schools, and now lives in Hyde Park — also became the first in her family to graduate from college.
Ludlum feels fortunate to be aligned with an organization that supports gender equality, something that was a given in her childhood home. At Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union, “It’s part of our culture; our CEO is a woman. I’ve always felt opportunities were available.”
How do you balance empathy, listening, and compassion with analytical decision-making?
“I absolutely don’t believe they’re mutually exclusive. But I believe you have a tendency to be one and you have to be trained/methodical about the other — or surround yourself with others that help.”
At work, Ludlum has helped implement various HVFCU initiatives, providing resources and direction to a computer system upgrade, rebranding, and the creation of an Employee Value Proposition. “It’s important to always be open to change, and to be a continuous learner.” She also led the credit union’s conversion to a community charter in the early 2000s — a major milestone — balancing the twin imperatives of growing the credit union while maintaining a consistent level of service.
“We were able to add branches and provide services to more members,” she says, “which gave strength to our credit union and our community.”
Giving back to the community is important to Ludlum. She’s served on the Boards of Family Services and Hudson Valley Mental Health in Poughkeepsie, including tenures as each organization’s Chairman of the Board. “I’m fortunate and I have a very good life. Helping others to do the same is a goal.”