As a cheerleader for the Great Lakes Bay Region, Bridget (Looby) Staffileno comes at you with her big grey-blue eyes and embracing smile. She has a knack for reeling people in and letting them know she’s into collaborating, always with her high-pitched, giddy laughter. These are qualities that have earned her several awards throughout the region, including this year’s Spirit of Frida Amiga Award.
An “amiga” is a female supporter or advocate who is not Hispanic, but has made tremendous strides in support of Hispanic advancements. Not only in her role as vice president of community affairs for Catholic Federal Credit Union, but also as a friend, Staffileno has advanced Hispanic causes. She believes in diversity in the community and has assisted the Unión Cívica Mexicana with sponsorships for their events and their mission.
“When we wanted to start the Saginaw Hispanic Hall of Fame, with very little community support, it was Bridget who believed in recognizing Hispanics after the Saginaw Hall of Fame never recognized a single Hispanic in their 50 years of existence,” said Larry J. Rodarte, publisher of Mi Gente Magazine. “That spoke volumes about her character and she was there for our inaugural induction.”
Staffileno also assisted the Cívica with their annual Tamale Taste-Off by moving the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw to partner with the non-profit and make one of their gymnasiums available for use. The event doubled and drew nearly 800 people, thereby showcasing the authentic Mexican favorite to a bigger audience. The Saginaw American G.I. Forum is another group that benefits from CFCU with support for their annual César Chávez Luncheon.
“We are drawn to organizations that mirror the credit union’s philosophy of ‘People Helping People,’ ” said Staffileno, who is an avid marathon runner. “The Unión Cívica Mexicana and the American G.I. Forum do just that and more! Catholic Federal recognizes and celebrates their importance and immense contributions that they have in our community. It is easy to see!”
Staffileno’s awards include the 2013 “Great Women of the Great Lakes Bay Region,” and she was the inaugural recipient of the “Great Lakes Bay Region Ambassador of the Year” in 2015. Additionally, the Michigan Credit Union Foundation recently named her this year’s “Outstanding Community Volunteer.”
She has a plethora of organizations that she is involved with, from the Leadership Saginaw County program and St. Mary’s of Michigan Hospital Foundation to the “Run for Your Heart” races. It is easy to see why Staffileno is beloved in her community.In addition to all her involvement, she finds time to be a wife to Joe and run Marathons. She runs daily at 4:30 a.m. and completed the Boston marathon seven times and is looking forward to her eighth in April. “I surround myself with an amazing tribe of people! They lift me up and inspire me to be and do more! I cannot emphasize the importance of making sure that you are with like-minded people who are passionate about the same things and not willing to be okay with the status quo or taking no for an answer,” Staffileno said. Sound Familiar? Yup, she has the Spirit of Frida!¡Felicidades!