Legacy Of A Servant Leader
IN MEMORIAM – R. DALE OWEN (7/18/1968 – 11/14/2020)
There is something to be said when an organization is blessed with a servant leader; and that is what Ascentra had in Dale Owen. He cared deeply for his credit union, its members, our staff and the communities we serve. These four aspects were, and will continue to be, a guide for decision-making and growth of our organization.
From his early days as a teller at the former First National Bank of Moline, to his role as President and CEO of Ascentra, Dale always strived to provide the perfect fit of financial services to consumers that would best meet their needs. Leading Ascentra Credit Union was never about profit, it was always about people helping people, and it will always be about people helping people. This is the credit union philosophy, and Dale’s passion for service was a genuine example of how providing financial services should be done.
Dale joined our organization in 1999 as Vice President of Lending. From that point on, he was a fierce advocate of the credit union movement and improving the financial lives of others. He connected with new faces by fondly introducing himself as “a reformed banker”, something he proved in his own caring way. Over the years he fought against pay day lending businesses, participated in mortgage advisory committees, and served on the boards of Quad City DollarWise and Davenport Neighborhood Housing Service. Dale’s service gave excellent insight to these efforts and organizations, ultimately protecting the consumer and providing resources to those in need.
In 2013, Dale became President and CEO of Ascentra following the sudden passing of our former President and CEO, Paul Lensmeyer. Dale and Paul both had a passion for community, and in particular, ensuring that our organization, Ascentra Credit Union, was a viable part of several communities.
The communities in which we live and work were a priority for Dale. A thriving community means improved financial well-being for citizens. Dale served with the Quad City Chamber Regional Opportunity Council, was a founding member of the Downtown Bettendorf Organization, and participated in the Bettendorf Business Network as well as the Bettendorf Development Corporation. When Ascentra looked to build our new headquarters, it wasn’t a question if we would stay in downtown Bettendorf. This was our home, and Dale wanted to spur growth and opportunity by being a cornerstone to progress in downtown Bettendorf. He did just that. Now, part of our old location has been repurposed into municipal parking so the community can enjoy free parking while supporting local business. Also, the main building of our prior location is being repurposed into a new eating establishment. This is what Dale would call progress!
Dale was a community volunteer. He had so much to give, and he spread his time and talents across many organizations. Dale had the opportunity to serve with many members of our communities within the following organizations: United Way of the Quad Cities, Boys & Girls Club, Junior Achievement, Children’s Miracle Network, Habitat for Humanity, Augustana Alumni, and Bethany for Children and Families. His reach even spread across Iowa, serving on boards with the Iowa Credit Union Foundation, Community Business Lenders Service Company, LLC, Affiliates Management Company, and the Iowa Credit Union League.
Dale Owen was a servant leader. He encouraged all of us at Ascentra to do the same. This is why many of our staff volunteer at non-profit organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters and Junior Achievement. This is why our staff participate in Casual for a Cause days to provide a little extra financial resources for those in need. This is why Ascentra, as a community organization, encourages payroll deduction for the United Way and participates in United Way Day of Caring events. This is why we have community shred events. This is why we sponsor reading programs for first graders in Bettendorf, Pleasant Valley, North Scott, Moline, and Davenport school districts. This is why we donate to the Salvation Army, Toys for Tots and the River Bend Foodbank. Ascentra is a servant organization. We are first and foremost here to serve you, our members, fair financial products and services while giving back to those in need in our communities.
We were all saddened by the passing of our servant leader on Nov. 14 after a five-month battle against pancreatic cancer. Throughout the battle, our board and staff sent encouragement and positivity to Dale and his wife Angie through cards, letters, a birthday parade, memory books, and many, many other gestures. #DaleStrong was our motto. He was strong, and he fought hard. We have all mourned with the Owen Family.
We know that Dale’s positive spirit and legacy will live on at Ascentra through our passion of people helping people. During his illness, Dale would continue to connect with others, always asking first “how are you?”, and then reminding each and every one of us to “be the light” for others. We will honor your legacy, Dale, we will serve others, we will “be the light”, we are #AscentraStrong.