Susan Kemen is a Maryland native. She graduated from Aberdeen High School and received her associate’s degree in business from Harford Community College. Like many students, Susan worked a few part-time jobs through school, including as a teller for Aberdeen Proving Ground Federal Credit Union (APGFCU). She has since moved her way up the ranks to Senior Vice President of Consumer Lending, a new role she started in January of this year. “I became a part-time teller not ever thinking that it would become a full-time career,” says Kemen. She progressed from teller to collector, from accepting deposits to collecting delinquent loans. It was in this capacity that Kemen says she learned the most about the people in her community, their struggles and stories. She also learned about herself and how to find a balance between sympathizing with a neighbor and accomplishing her job. Kemen was promoted to collection department manager and then to consumer loan manager. Later she became the credit union’s first financial counselor and then was promoted to senior vice president of operations, a position she held for six years.
Kemen knew that if she wanted to further progress in the business world, she would need to go back to school. Ten years after getting her associate’s degree, she enrolled part-time at the College of Notre Dame Maryland. As a full-time professional, a wife, and mother of two – her son works at Aberdeen Proving Ground and her step-daughter (recently graduated high school) will be attending Marine Corps boot camp in September – it took Kemen 11 years, one class a semester, to earn her bachelor’s degree in business management. “I wouldn’t recommend doing it the way I did; it was tough,” but it was what she needed to do. With the support of her family and the network at APGFCU, she was able to achieve her goal and continue to better her position within the company. When asked why she was so passionate about her job the conversation quickly turned to the community. In her new role in lending it is her mission to help people succeed; APGFCU is a financial cooperative and is dedicated to improving the economic and social position of its members. Kemen is consistently working to get the message out to the community that she is there to help. The credit union is the solution.
Her devotion to the community doesn’t stop at the office. Kemen is on the board of directors of the Arc Northern Chesapeake Region Inc. The goal of the Arc is to give adults with developmental disabilities the education and training they need to enter the job market successfully. Kemen particularly enjoys her work with the Arc because of the overwhelming gratitude and appreciation she receives from those she helps.
So what keeps this highly successful businesswomen, wife, mother and volunteer going? Running. Her passion in life is to be outside with her husband and a group of distance runners training for their next event. Kemen started running after her son was born 20 years ago to get back into shape. She and her husband joined the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Maryland. The organization facilitates training for an event, like a marathon or triathlon, in exchange for fundraising. She started out small, but after watching her husband complete the Marine Corps Marathon she decided long-distance events were for her. More than the physical benefits, it is the camaraderie and companionship that Kemen finds fulfilling. She is currently training for her fifth ultra-marathon (a race over 26.2 miles, typically 31 miles), which will take place in March. In 2012, Kemen served as race director and helped to raise $4,000 for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Harford County. When she isn’t on a run, she is volunteering at her small church where she was the youth group coordinator for eight years. She recently passed on this role to another willing member of her faith community as her daughter graduated from the program. Well, except for one last annual mission trip. This July she will be taking a group of young adults to areas of Pennsylvania to repair houses. She came into these roles while her kids were in school and the previous coordinator resigned. She saw a need and filled it.
“When you’re passionate about something, it’s easy to succeed,” says Kemen.
She certainly has a lot on her plate; however, she is dedicated completely to meeting, if not exceeding her goals. She knows better than to pile on too much because for Susan Kemen, mediocrity is not an option. I95