3 steps to supporting a bright future for credit unions

For seven years running, the CUES Next Top Credit Union Exec challenge has been making a positive difference in the professional lives of the young credit union professionals (non-CEOs, age 35 and under) who take it on. Participating means blogging with text and video and—for those who make it to the Final Five—presenting live at CEO/Executive Team Network—about a project they’re leading at their credit unions.

One way the contest supports a bright future for credit unions is by underscoring for these rising stars the idea they can excel in their work at credit unions. For example, 2014 winner Alex Castley, CHRP, talent acquisition/development manager at $1.3 billion Integris Credit Union, Prince George, British Columbia, said:

“Being named the winner has given me a huge boost, both personally and professionally. It validated the work we are doing at my credit union, and gave a shot of confidence to all of us.”

Another positive impact of the competition is that winners receive the prize of attendance at two segments of world-class CEO Institute. This is a great opportunity for them to develop as leaders and puts them on the path of earning the well-respected Certified Chief Executive designation. In some cases, the CUES Next Top Credit Union Exec experience is what puts the possibility of being a top leader in the credit union industry on the radar of these young professionals.

For example, 2011 winner Devin Selte, CCE, now senior manager of member experience at $14 billion Servus Credit Union in Edmonton, Alberta, said: “Because of this competition and going on to achieve my CCE designation (by attending the three segments of CEO Institute and completing the between segments projects), I have set forth a future goal of becoming a CEO in the credit union movement. The CCE designation will definitely assist me in working toward reaching that goal.”

In addition, each year’s Finalists get to meet both their competition peers and longtime credit union leaders when they present at CEO/Executive Team Network. “Winning the competition has expanded my network exponentially and allowed me to learn from credit union leaders across the country,” says 2016 winner Jimese Harkley, CUDE, who was philanthropy and community relations manager with $1.4 billion America’s First Federal Credit Union, Birmingham, Ala., when she won and now is stewardship/development director for Filene Research Institute, Madison, Wis.

Notably, the contest does not just benefit the winners. Participant blogs clearly demonstrate the energy all the entrants have gotten from the experience of vying to be the CUES Next Top Credit Union Exec. The Top 15 also receive a remote executive coaching session from challenge sponsor DDJ Myers, a CUES Supplier member and strategic provider based in Phoenix.

As I write this column, the five 2016 Finalists have been named. Already more than 5,700 votes have been cast up to this point in the contest this year—up almost 60 percent over last year’s vote tally. And it’s not over yet. You can still be a part of the positive impact this year’s competition will make by taking the following three steps:

  1. Get to know the 5 Finalists.
  2. Watch the live stream of the final presentations at CEO/Executive Team Network on Oct. 24—or see them in person by attending the event in Savannah, Ga.
  3. Vote. Voting will open at approximately 3 p.m. Eastern time on Oct. 24, and end at 5 p.m. Eastern time on Oct. 25.

Be sure to mark your calendars and plan to vote. By doing so, you’ll support credit unions’ bright future.


John Pembroke

John Pembroke

As president/CEO of CUES, John Pembroke came full circle in his career. His first exposure to business was a high school internship working in his father’s church credit ... Web: www.cues.org Details