47 CU Professionals Become Certified Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs)

Graduates of the June 2018 DE Training stand with training staff outside the World Credit Union Center Campus in Madison, Wis.
Forty-seven credit union professionals were certified as Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs) after completing the National Credit Union Foundation’s Credit Union Development Education (DE) Training. 

The June DE Training was held May 30- June 5, 2018 at the Lowell Center in Madison, Wis. and was attended by employees and volunteers from credit unions and system partners across the United States and Kenya. 

“DE training was well worth my personal investment of time and energy,” said Jim Nussle, CUDE, President & CEO of Credit Union National Association. “As we work hard to advocate and build awareness for credit unions, it’s critical that we take time to build our understanding and appreciation of the credit union difference so we can all share that message far and wide.” (More testimonials from the June class can be found below). 

DE Training is an experiential training program that provides lessons in credit union structure, purpose and how they differentiate from other financial institutions. During the National Credit Union Foundation’s week-long program, participants are involved in group exercises, field visits and interactive speaker sessions that provide 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. 

Class Graduates 
The most recent DE graduating class included credit union movement representatives from across the U.S, as well as a representative from Kenya. They are: TJ Adkinson, Members 1st FCU in Pennsylvania; Mike Athens, Rio Grande Credit Union in New Mexico; Solomon Atsiaya, Kenya Police Sacco in Kenya; Mitchell Aviles, Farmers Insurance FCU in California; Megan Bell, Duke University FCU in North Carolina; Augusto Bogado, Guadalupe CU in New Mexico; David Brehmer, Vizo Financial Corporate CU in North Carolina; Michelle Christie, GTE Financial in Florida; Heidi Cleveland, Verity Credit Union in Washington; Katy Cook, Ent CU in Colorado; Susan Curtis, Ascension CU in Louisiana; Barbara Demarest, Truliant FCU in North Carolina; Rebecca Dopart, National Credit Union Foundation in Wisconsin; Jeff Fielder, Advia Credit Union in Michigan; Monica Galindo, GECU in Texas; Stephanie Galligan, Filene Research Institute in Wisconsin; Helen Gibson, Denver Community CU in Colorado; Dawn Grohskopf, UnitedOne Credit Union in Wisconsin; Jennifer Hernandez, Canyon State CU in Arizona; Ronna Idzenga, Harborstone Credit Union in Washington; Dena Irwin, Energy Capital CU in Texas; Melisa Kallestad, Credit Union National Association in Wisconsin; Jeanne Kaufman, Heritage Family FCU in Vermont; Brandi Kempfer, Belco Community CU in Pennsylvania; Joy Manley, CULIANCE in South Carolina; Kevin Martin, SchoolsFirst FCU in California; Deborah Mozal, Community Regional CU in Pennsylvania; Lindsey Mueller, CoVantage CU in Wisconsin; Anthony Norman Jr, Local Government FCU in North Carolina; Jim Nussle, Credit Union National Association in the District of Columbia; Rebecca O’Brien, State Highway Patrol FCU in Ohio; Mandy Palmer, Laramie Plaints Community FCU in Wyoming; Emily Patterson, UW Credit Union in Wisconsin; Dondrick Paul, Peoples Trust FCU in Texas; Shelly Pendexter, Central CU of Florida in Florida; Julie Renderos, Suncoast CU in Florida; Mike Reuter, World Council of Credit Unions in Wisconsin; Cindy River, TwinStar CU in Washington; Patricia Rodriguez, Resource One CU in Texas; Eric Schillinger, CFCU Community Credit Union in New York; Wil Spears, Coastal Federal Credit Union in North Carolina; Angela Stempson, Red Canoe CU in Washington; Karlene Stewart, PSCU in Florida; Susan Toalson, Credit Union National Association in Wisconsin; Tonita Webb, Seattle CU in Washington; Blake Woods, Lake Trust CU in Michigan; and Staci Wright, Vizo Financial Corporate CU in North Carolina. 

Training Staff 
The program was facilitated by the Foundation’s Chad Helminak and Lois Kitsch from CU Difference, and event coordination was done by Jenni Speth from the Foundation. The class was mentored by a group of six credit union professionals and CUDE alumni: Myles Bristowe from CO-OP Financial Services in California, Shelli McCoy from Tarrant County’s Credit Union in Texas, Kevin Shaw from the Illinois Credit Union System in Illinois, Debbie Wege from BECU in Washington, Nanci Wilson from North Star Community Credit Union in North Dakota, and Katy Zaleski from Simplicity Credit Union in Wisconsin.

2018-19 DE Trainings 
The Foundation hosts four DE Trainings each year in Madison, Wis. The 2018 September DE Training is nearly sold out and registration for the November DE Training will be opening up later this year. If you are interested in participating in an upcoming DE Training, you can email cude@ncuf.coop to be put on a notification list for when registration opens up. 

Additional Testimonials from June DE Training

“The DE program is a unique experience that takes your knowledge of credit unions to a whole new level, like you wouldn’t believe. I arrived unsure and nervous but left with a classroom full of colleagues, friends, and DE family who will forever be bonded by this life changing program.” – Katy Cook, Ent Credit Union, Colorado. 

“Before being a part of the DE program, I loved working in the credit union industry. Now, I understand that I am part of a powerful and amazing “movement”. Getting back to the roots of why we do what we do is a powerful reminder that we have purpose. Everyone has a story, and everyone deserves a voice. DE is the heart of the credit union movement.” – Cindy River, TwinStar Credit Union, Washington. 

“As an operations and accounting analyst you seldom get the opportunity to connect the work that you do with the good that the CU movement does in the community and at large. DE was one of the most impactful and eye-opening training experiences I’ve had the pleasure to be a part of. I left DE with a renewed sense of purpose, drive and commitment to my Credit Union and the CU movement. I now understand that the work I do supports the ability of the CU to be a sustainable resource for our membership throughout their lives.” – Anthony Norman, Local Government Federal Credit Union, North Carolina. 

“The DE program is unmatched in its ability to demonstrate how business & social tactics must balance in order to effectively solve for domestic and international development issues. It is a requirement for anyone in the CU industry looking to grow, both professionally and personally.” – Blake Woods, Lake Trust Credit Union, Michigan. 


More about the DE Program: Since 1982, more than 1,800 credit union advocates from over 36 countries 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. Visit www.ncuf.coop for more information on the DE program, visit www.ncuf.coop.

About the National Credit Union Foundation: The National Credit Union Foundation (the Foundation) is the charitable arm of the U.S. credit union movement and works as a catalyst to improve people’s financial lives through credit unions. Through grants and programs, the Foundation is strengthening financial well-being, igniting passion and instilling knowledge about the credit union difference, and uniting resources to help credit union people during disaster. Donations to the Foundation ultimately enable credit unions to help their members reach life-changing goals and achieve financial freedom.

For More Information...

...contact Chad Helminak, Director of DE and Cooperative Culture, at (608) 231-4078 or chelminak@ncuf.coop.