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Congratulations to the September ’22 DE Class

September 2022 DE Class

54 credit union leaders from across the United States, Kenya, and the Kingdom of Eswatini were designated as Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs) after completing the National Credit Union Foundation’s signature Development Education (DE) program in September 2022.

Delivered as an immersive week-long in-person event, the DE program is a unique, transformative training experience. It provides lessons in credit union structure, purpose and the “why” that differentiates credit unions from other financial institutions. Participants engage in small and large group exercises and interactive speaker sessions focused on the credit union difference, empathy, and financial well-being for all.

“While the needs and wants of today’s credit union member continue to evolve, the one thing that remains steadfast is their need to achieve financial well-being while also being supported with empathy and compassion from the credit union movement,” said Tobi Weingart, the Foundation’s director of programs.

Each session provides insights into how credit unions can leverage their unique business model to help their members and communities overcome the financial and developmental issues they face.

“Participating in DE was really a huge paradigm shift for me,” said Sara Freeman, community advocate at Truity Credit Union and graduate of the September DE Class. “I had spent a great deal of time telling members why we were like a bank, in order to feel competitive. Now I want to share all the reasons we are not like a bank and let that be our competitive difference.”

“While it has been a little over three years since I was a participant, the time between my ‘best class ever’ to this one seems like a lifetime ago,” said Hazelmae Overturf, program director at Kaua’i Credit Union and September session mentor. “I feel like the world and myself have shifted so much, and I’m amazed that our purpose remains constant. The DE program continues to create catalysts of inspiration, connection, and change to solve human problems with our credit union difference at the center. This mentoring experience gave me a great reminder that we still have work to do and the hope that we can keep doing it together.”

Brent Rempe, CSO at Allegiance Credit Union and a member of the Foundation’s DE Advisory Committee, joined the class during their graduation ceremony and noted “that the newest group of DEs was emboldened with the cooperative spirit by watching their final presentations. DE provides a great foundation on the credit union difference. Applying the concepts of DE will help credit unions maintain relevance and set us apart from banks.”

Class graduates

The most recent DE graduating class included credit union movement representatives from across the United States, Kenya, and Eswatini.

  • Tom Anonson, Class Act FCU in Kentucky
  • Dianne Ballesteros, Credit Union National Association in California
  • Blair Blanchard, Advancial FCU in Louisiana
  • Dana Bledsoe, Gesa CU in Washington
  • April Bradshaw, Rio Grande CU in New Mexico
  • Kati Buchanan, Cornerstone League in Texas
  • Edith Campa, Ventura County CU in California
  • Christina Carstens, Unity One Credit Union in Texas
  • Kelsey Coonce, Great Lakes CU in Illinois
  • Rob Delgado, Northeast Family FCU in Connecticut
  • Anneliese Elrod, U.S. Eagle FCU in New Mexico
  • Celeste Erickson, TwinStar CU in Washington
  • Ashley Franklin, SchoolsFirst FCU in California
  • Sara Freeman, Truity Credit Union in Oklahoma
  • Kendra Galloway, The DISTRICT Credit Union in Colorado
  • Gen Garner, Ent CU in Colorado
  • Stacy Gilbert, Peach State FCU in Georgia
  • Juan Carlos Gonzalez, EdFed in Florida
  • Dusty Guerton, Altra FCU in Minnesota
  • Joe Hamilton; Unitus Community CU in Oregon
  • James Higgins, Skyline Financial CU in Connecticut
  • Julie Hill, Fort McClellan CU in Alabama
  • Susan Hochsprung, CUNA Mutual Group in Minnesota
  • Kaity Johnson, Rivermark Community CU in Oregon
  • Betsy Kommers, CoVantage CU in Wisconsin
  • Marjorie Lockwood, Christian Financial CU in Michigan
  • Tena Lozano, RMJ Foundation in California
  • Chris McCullough, GDS Link in Texas
  • Mac McDermott, United Community CU in Texas
  • Cambridge Mdlalose, ACCOSCA in the Kingdom of Eswatini
  • Janell Mendenhall, Heartland Credit Union in Kansas
  • Portia Mila, CUNA Mutual Group in Utah
  • James Mwambi, Mwalimu National Sacco in Kenya
  • Wellington Otiende, Mwalimu National Sacco in Kenya
  • Carma Parrish, NorthPark Community CU in Indiana
  • Kristen Pepper, Suncoast Credit Union in Florida
  • Judy Price, Vizo Financial Corporate CU in South Carolina
  • Cheryl Purrington, ACFCU in Texas
  • Tyler Richards, On Tap CU in Colorado
  • Alli Rodriguez, Lone Star CU in Texas
  • Jess Schade, Sooper CU in Colorado
  • Dani Sherman, Fort Community Credit Union in Wisconsin
  • Sheri Sicka; University CU in California
  • Brandon Smith, Reliant FCU in Wyoming
  • Jocelyn Strand, First Financial of MD FCU in Maryland
  • Billy Thomas, Peninsula Community FCU in Washington
  • Christin Vaughn, Allegiance CU in Oklahoma
  • Jill Vicente, BECU in Washington
  • Eric Weatherly, VyStar Credit Union in Florida
  • Carolyn White, CoastHills CU in California
  • Tawanaca Williams, SRP FCU in Georgia
  • Alejandro Yu, Raiz Federal Credit Union in Texas

Training staff

The program was facilitated by the Foundation’s Program Director, Tobi Weingart and Chad Helminak, chief impact officer, and coordinated by Maggie Wolff, senior manager, products. The class was mentored by Dan Marquez, Corelation Inc. in California; Dawn Groshopf, United One CU in Wisconsin; Hazelmae Overturf, Kaua’i Credit Union in Hawaii; and Kevin Shaw, Illinois Credit Union Foundation in Missouri.

Interested in attending DE?

Learn more about the Foundation’s signature education program or email [email protected] to be put on a notification list for registration information.

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