DE Program Testimonials

What is Credit Union Development Education (DE) Training? Over the years, we've collected hundreds of testimonials and rave reviews from attendees of this unique and transformative training. A sampling is below:

What is DE Training? Staff & Attendees Explain in this Video:

"The DE Program wasn’t a training - it was a life experience. I walked away with a heartfelt understanding of who we are as a movement, and profound respect for what it took to get us where we are today. I’m energized and ready to do all I can to help better the lives of others.”

Julia Sohn, CUDE 2016
Vice President of Human Resources
SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union

“DE Training helps you bridge the gap between who you are and who you dream of being.”

Cindy Beauregard, CUDE 2016
Heart of LA FCU

"DE Training was truly one of the most eye opening experiences of my life.In addition, coming home from DE, my heart was completely full; full of passion for the credit union movement, full of gratefulness for all the things I take for granted each day, and full of love for not only my family, but for all the individuals I met during my time there. DE helped me realize that you don’t have to set out to change the world, but instead, just start one step at a time, to change someone’s life.”

Katie Dressler, CUDE 2016
Vice President of Communications/Awareness
CU Association of the Dakotas

“DE Training reignited my devotion to the credit union philosophy, and profoundly impacted me on a personal level. I would highly recommend DE Training to credit union managers, executives, directors, and yes, even skeptical CFOs.  I promise, DE Training will change your life.”

Jim Ladner, CUDE 2016
Resource One Credit Union

“DE Training was life altering. I was asked before I went, ‘Are you going to drink the Kool-Aid?’ When I got there I found out there is no Kool-Aid, only caring people who believe in a movement that seeks to lift people up. What better calling is there? Thank you for fanning the flames of possibility and challenging us to do better with what we've got.”

Tom Olney, CUDE 2016
VP Learning Process & Architecture

“I’ve worked in credit unions for over 15 years, but this experience truly changed my perspective on our role. My empathy for what our members experience has grown, and I feel renewed to find ways in which I can make a difference!  Absolutely one of the best training experiences of my career!”

Leah Friedenberg, CUDE 2016
Director of Payment Services
Pima FCU

“Before DE I knew I was working in a great industry.  With 30 years of credit union experience, I didn't think I could learn anymore about credit unions.  After 'walking the talk' at DE Training, I know I'm part of a powerful, and amazing movement.  CUDE is by far the most important, and gratifying, credential I've ever achieved.”

Tracy Thornburg, CUDE 2016
Director of Compliance
Montana Credit Union Network

“DE was one of the most amazing experiences of my life!  I have been renewed and re-energized, ready to incorporate the founding principles into my credit union and my personal life.  I have never been more proud or excited to be part of the credit union movement!”

Jeannie Fye, CUDE 2016

“I feel like I've learned more in one week of training than I learned in my entire 35-year career.”

Crystal Long, CUDE 2015

"The DE program is a life changing event, personally and professionally.  The energy you feel for carrying out the credit union philosophy of "people helping people" is so spectacular that you want to shout it from the rooftop and get everyone on board immediately.  This is a must for all staff involved with credit unions to get in touch with where we came from, why we are where we are today, and to never stop working to help members."

Gena Carroll, CUDE 2015
Vice President of Operations
Meridian Trust FCU

"DE was not a training, nor a conference, nor anything I've experienced before.  It was a recharging, invigorating, in depth experience that challenged the heart, mind and soul of the passion of credit union existence - we all need DE!"

Shannon Duran, CUDE 2015
Senior Vice President/COO
PBC Credit Union

"DE Training has been a life-changing experience for me. It has re-kindled a passion and prepared me to share it with others. From getting down to the basics of the credit union movement and the cooperative principles to life lasting relationships with others that are working for that same common goal. It was the best experience of my life!”

Karen Viets, CUDE 2015
Metropolitan District ECU

"So many of us get caught up in learning how to do our jobs that we never truly reflect on why. The DE program helped me to understand why credit unions are here to serve. This was more than a conference. It was an awakening to the credit union movement.”

Doug Bedner, CUDE 2015
Chief Operating Officer
Resource One CU

"The DE program is the future of the credit union movement. It was a very meaningful and humbling experience for me and DE should be required training for every leader within our organizations. I would challenge my fellow CEOs and others to sign up for the next available training to take a deep dive back into the principles and beliefs that have made this movement the success that it is."

Ken Olson, CUDE 2015
Old West Federal Credit Union

“Getting back to our credit union roots and what makes our movement unique was really important to me and I head back to my organization with a clear understanding on how we can do things better. Simply put, I can tell our credit union story better than I ever imagined."

David Hinchey, CUDE 2014
Director of Community Impact
Connecticut Credit Union League

“DE Training is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn deeper and broadly experience the movement you are a part of – more than any other credit union industry education you may ever go through. By mentoring, team-building and engaging in hands-on exercises and simulations, you leave this week-long session as a devoted advocate for credit unions in the U.S., and around the world. You are committed to action – looking at ways to improve our financial cooperative structure and outreach to be the best for our members … now and into the future.”

Debra Trautman, CUDE 2014
Vice President-Corporate Marketing
Maine Credit Union League

"There are a lot of tough decisions having to be made in the credit union industry right now. DE Training is a solid reminder to always ask ourselves ‘What's best for our members?’, and when we keep that as our focus, those tough decisions aren't so tough anymore."

Danielle Frawley, CUDE 2014
Vice President- Marketing & Communications
Fort Community CU

“DE training was an enriching experience that will stay with me for years to come. While I have 35 years of experience in the credit union industry, my week at DE Training re-kindled my passion and spirit for our cooperative movement and roots.”

Laida Garcia, CUDE 2014
floridacentral Credit Union

Testimonial Video

"The passion of all my DE Training classmates and the training material itself really ignited my flame for the credit union movement. I know now this is my calling and where I belong. DE changed my life!”

Brandon Walker, CUDE 2014
Government Affairs Specialist and Credit Union House Manager
Cornerstone Credit Union League

"DE training was hands-down the most educational, inspirational, and emotional training or conference I've ever been fortunate enough to be a part of. I learned of the principles on which credit unions were founded and how these principles should remain at the heart of every decision that we make today. It is not possible to attend this training and not, as a human being, be changed significantly."

Michael Waylett, CUDE 2014
Vision Financial FCU

“While there is certainly substance to the DE program, brought through case studies and projects related to real-world issues facing the credit unions, there is also a robust focus on the philosophy and guiding co-operative principals of the movement. While many of the historical elements of the training were not new to me, the in-depth discussion of how the events of the past are applicable and relevant to current events was stimulating. Participation in programs such as DE training can bring new perspectives to drive innovation or perhaps just rejuvenate a weary soul.”

Greg Michlig, CUDE 2013
New Jersey Credit Union League

“DE Training was a transformational experience for me. It gave me the opportunity to collaborate with some of the best and brightest in the cooperative space and took my mind to places I didn’t think possible. DE has reinvigorated me to share my passion and keep the flame alive for credit unions and cooperatives alike."

Shannon Bradley, CUDE 2013
VP of Member Experience
Pioneer West Virginia FCU

“The DE experience was an opportunity to top off my tank of passion for assisting our members and the communities we serve. Through experiential learning, collaboration, and engaging with bright minds from within and around the credit union industry, the program ignites synergy in many different ways. Together CUDEs will drive the passion that our industry needs to ‘Unite for Good’ and continue to benefit millions of credit union members in this country and around the world.”

Jim Morrell, CUDE 2013
Peninsula Credit Union

"DE training has been the single-most enlightening experience I have had since joining the credit union movement. Regardless of your age, title, experience or where you call home, DE provides exactly what you need to come home energized about the world of possibilities available to credit unions. It’s a wake-up call, a recommitment to our founding principles, and a call to action.”

Stephen Pagenstecher, CUDE 2012
Vice President of Member Relations
Valley Credit Union

"Participating in the US DE program enabled me to commence applying Caribbean and worldwide experiences of the past 27 years into academic thought and frameworks, especially in the unprecedented trauma facing the global economy and financial sector. The exchange of ideas and perspectives with other development planners and educators enriched knowledge transfers and HR competencies strengthening processes throughout our respective movements. Ultimately, we will change more lives for the better through credit unions – in keeping with World Council's global vision.”

Melvin Edwards, CUDE 2009
Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions (CCCU)

"I am so much more aware of a whole other world, outside my credit union, that is full of folks who need the same services that my members need – specifically, those who are underserved. Individuals who get to participate in this experience become a part of the credit union movement in a different way. This is not just another conference – this is a life-changing event! DE is really about getting down in the dirt.”

Sue Douglas, CUDE 2007
Senior VP/Chief Operating Officer
NC State Employees’ Credit Union

“DE is the only program I am aware of that focuses on making the business case of why cooperative financial services make sense in the larger financial services marketplace. The old adage that ‘philosophy is good business’ is demonstrated time and again in this intensive training.”

Dick Ensweiler, CUDE 1989
Cornerstone Credit Union League

For More Information... Lois Kitsch, National Program Director, at (407) 616-2409 or