Diversity Ranks High Among the First 2009 Graduation Class of Credit Union Development Educators

DELAVAN, Wis. (6/9/09) – Thirty more credit union professionals — new hires as well as seasoned veterans — are now passionate credit union advocates after graduation from Credit Union Development Education (DE) Training. Their range of credit union experience was as diverse as their ages.
The smiling graduates with their mentors and training faciliators
Stacy Dugan, CUDE with DE training facilitators Lois Kitsch (left) and Tom Decker (right).Stacy Dugan admitted having limited knowledge of credit unions when she arrived for DE training after serving as executive director of the Michigan Credit Union Foundation for only three months. “My plan was to listen and learn. I knew the people there would have plenty of great experience, insight and ideas that I could bring back to my work.” According to Dugan, she got even more. “The best part for me was finding my own voice. DE showed me that I could contribute to the cooperative credit union movement, and how by adding my voice and input to everyone else’s a better result was achieved. I came back to my position energized and excited.”
Angela McCathran on graduation day with DE training facilitators Lois Kitsch (left) and Tom Decker (right).As a credit union veteran of almost 30 years, Angela McCathran, president and CEO of People’s Trust Federal Credit Union in Texas, really didn’t think that anyone could teach her anything more about the credit union movement. “Every single day that I walk into my office I know, understand and believe in the credit union difference and the difference our existence makes in the lives of our members,” said McCathran. “My experience at DE training gave me the opportunity to discover what I had forgotten and has given me a whole new perspective on my role in the credit union movement. I learned to listen to the very many voices and diversity and how their lessons learned has forever changed the way I think and make decisions.”

Team Projects

CUDE Training is made up of small working groups that work on team projects throughout the week.During the week-long program, participates are involved in group exercises, encouraged to ask questions of visiting lecturers and are required to complete team projects proposing solutions for credit unions to help alleviate or eliminate challenging situations in any given area. The team projects were to:
  • Establish credit unions in the rebuilding of Iraq;
  • Decide whether to merge or not to merge a small CU with a large CU;
  • Develop a plan to serve a low-income community;
  • Decide whether to convert or not to convert a CU to a mutual bank;

  • Determine how credit unions can rebuild the community after the fallout of the sub-prime lending crisis.

Listing of Graduates

The spring 2009 graduating class included credit union movement representatives from the U.S., Caribbean, Kenya, Philippines, and United Kingdom. They are: Ray Ayag, Philippine Telephone (Philippines); Dana Broadwater, Mantanuska Valley FCU (Alaska); Josie Collins, National Credit Union Foundation (Wisconsin); Jim Drogue, Wisconsin Credit Union League; Stacy Dugan, Michigan Credit Union League; Melvin Edwards, World Council of Credit Unions (Caribbean); Fred Fernandez, Bethex FCU (New York); Juan Fernandez, Credit Union Association of New Mexico; Julia Gee, Community United CU (Ohio); Mikal Gilliant, Brewery CU (Wisconsin); Chris Goebel, Anoka Hennepin CU (Minnesota); Andrew Griffin, State Employees CU (North Carolina); Jennifer Hausserman, Millstream Area CU (Ohio); Chad Helminak, Wisconsin Credit Union League; Stuart Hudson, State Employees CU (North Carolina); Jennifer Kloepping, CUNA Mutual Group (Wisconsin); Angela McCathran, People’s Trust FCU (Texas); Johnnie Morris, Destiny CU (Wisconsin); Victoria Ndolo, Decentralized Financial Services (Kenya); Susan Nduati, WOCCU USDA-Kisumu (Kenya); Raquel Portal (Philippines); Brandon Pugh, South Carolina Credit Union League; Carlos Rodriguez, Eagle Community CU (California); Jason Schmitt, New Mexico Educators FCU; Brenda Scramlin, Copoco Community CU (Michigan); Rick Shearer, KEMBA Financial CU (Ohio); Wendy Soria, Bethex FCU (New York); Brenda Tristan-Marrone, American Airlines FCU (Texas); Kevin Waters, Staffordshire Credit Union, Ltd. (United Kingdom); and John Wiley, Credit Union Times (California).

Timely Economic Discussions

Team Building is a big part of DE Training. At IslandWood this is explored on a challenge course.“Throughout 2009, DE training will incorporate emerging economic discussions while continuing to provide critical lessons in cooperative principles and credit union philosophy,” assures DE Training Facilitator Tom Decker, director of social impact management for NCUF. “We plan to show this year’s trainees how the member-centric business model will enable credit unions to weather the economic storm better than most for-profit institutions.”

The second of this year’s scheduled DE training classes will take place from August 12-18 at IslandWood located on Bainbridge Island in the state of Washington. IslandWood is designed to use the environment as a classroom.

Who Should Attend - And Why

DE training is open to everyone from new employees who need a credit union orientation to seasoned executives who need to recharge. Participants cite many benefits of attending DE training:
  • Graduates acquire skills in credit union outreach initiatives, problem solving, technical assistance, team building, and public presentations.
  • Graduates earn certification as Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs). They join a networking group including over 800 graduates across America and 10 other countries.
  • CUDEs realize that local issues are indeed global – and that credit unions grow stronger by working cooperatively.
  • CUDEs return to their jobs with new understanding of how to promote cooperative principles and credit union values as distinct advantages in today’s competitive financial services marketplace.

More and more CUDEs are sharing their life-changing experiences on blogs. “I cannot recommend the DE program highly enough,” posted 2007 CUDE John Godwin, vice president of business development/strategic alliances at MECU in Baltimore, Md. “It is a very robust program that will inspire you and increase your knowledge about credit union history and philosophy. I strongly feel that CUDEs are the champions of the credit union movement.”

Scholarships Available

Scholarships are available through NCUF’s DE Fund and through several state credit union foundations and leagues.

“We realize that the economy is tough, so we are doing everything we can to make it easy as possible for credit unions to send representatives to DE training,” Decker confirms.

Credit union advocates interested in a scholarship can contact their state foundation or league, or contact Decker at tdecker@ncuf.coop or 800-356-9655, ext. 4374.
A List of States Confirming DE Scholarships.

More About the DE Program

The mission of the Credit Union Development Education (DE) program is to promote credit unions’ social responsibility and domestic and international development through interactive adult education and professional networking.

By linking credit unions’ past and present, the DE program brings renewed relevance to credit unions’ seven cooperative principles and the philosophy of “People Helping People.”

Over the past 27 years, more than 800 credit union advocates have graduated from DE Training to become Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs). Once they earn their CUDE designation, people return to their jobs with a sense of personal enrichment and renewed energy to share what they have learned. This growing corps of credit union advocates devotes professional and volunteer time to spreading the credit union message to audiences throughout the country.

CUDEs represent a cross section of the cooperative sector, including active volunteers from US credit unions and leagues, and from Australia, Canada, England, Fiji, Ireland, Korea, Mexico, Philippines, Scotland, and the West Indies.

The National Credit Union Foundation is the primary sponsor of the DE program. Support is provided by CUNA Mutual Group, the Credit Union National Association, the World Council of Credit Unions, state foundations and leagues.