2021 award winners honored at CUNA Operations & Member Experience Council and CUNA Technology Council Virtual Conference

WASHINGTON, DC (September 29, 2021) — CUNA Operations & Member Experience Council and CUNA Technology Council recognized its best and brightest via 10 awards presented at the recent CUNA Operations & Member Experience and CUNA Technology Council Virtual Conference, September 21-23. The winners and their accomplishments will be featured in an upcoming issue of Credit Union MagazineClick here to view the full awards presentation.

“We are pleased that so many credit union professionals joined us to help honor their peers’ achievements,” said Brad Aspgren, chair, awards & recognition committee and SVP Operations, American Airlines FCU. “The award winners’ work was inspirational.”

The Excellence in Technology Awards recognize credit union technology professionals who have shown outstanding commitment and innovation in their field. This year’s winners included:

  • Best of Show: Kinecta FCU in Manhattan Beach, CA, for their “Preapproval of Credit Cards using Machine Learning” entry (assets > $500 Million)
  • Mountain America CU in Sandy, UT, for their “Automated Balance Transfer Payoff Tool” entry (assets > $500 Million)
  • GECU in El Paso, TX, for their “Virtualization of GECU’s On Premise Core Mainframe Processing Infrastructure” entry (assets > $500 Million)
  • UFCU in Austin, TX, for their “Reinventing the Loan Application Experience” entry (assets > $500 Million)

The Excellence in Operations & Member Experience Awards are likewise awarded to professionals who have facilitated unique, innovative or otherwise outstanding approaches to member service at their credit unions. This year’s winner’s included

  • Best of Show: Workers CU in Littleton, MA, for their “Workers PlanIt: Design and technology to enhance personal service and advance member financial wellness” entry (assets > $500 Million) in the Branch Design category
  • Capital CU in Fargo, ND, for the Branch Design category for their “New Veterans Blvd. Branch” entry (assets > $500 Million)
  • Carter FCU in Shreveport, LA, won in the Contact Center / E-Support Operations category for their “2020 RDC Growth: How Carter CU Was Prepared to Maintain the Pandemic “Lift” to Volume” entry (assets > $500 Million)
  • UNFCU in Long Island City, NY, won in the Miscellaneous category for their “Digital Card Access” entry (assets > $500 Million)

The Professional of the Year Award for both the CUNA Operations & Member Experience Council and the CUNA Technology Council recognizes the individuals who exemplify excellence in all aspects of operations and member experience and information technology. This year’s winners:

  • 2021 Operations & Member Experience Professional of the Year: Amy Rodriguez, Chief Experience Officer, New Orleans Firemen’s FCU, Metairie, LA
  • 2021 Technology Professional of the Year: Stephenie Southard, CISO, BCU, Vernon Hills, IL

The Top Community Contributor Awards recognize the value and expertise shared with peers through collaboration within the CUNA Councils Community. This year’s winners include:

  • 2021 Operations & Member Experience Top Community Contributor Award winner: Joe Corna, Branch Manager, Honda FCU, Marysville, OH
  • 2021 Technology Top Community Contributor Award winner: Theresa Fichtner, VP Information Technology, NW Preferred FCU, Tigard, OR

Finally, Vendor Speed Rounds provided fast-paced, high-impact opportunities for exhibiting vendors to showcase and demonstrate their products and services to conference attendees. This year’s Best of Show winner is:

  • 2021 Speed Rounds – Best of Show winner: – Artificial Intelligence-powered Phone has developed an AI-powered Phone Banking to solve all call center-related challenges for Credit Unions using Intelligent Virtual Assistant (IVA) Technology.’s AI-powered Phone Banking is helping credit unions seamlessly manage their increased call volumes by automating the majority of the calls in just a few weeks, ensuring CUs are maintaining high service levels, and providing human-like personalized experiences on the call center 24×7.

CUNA Operations & Member Experience Council and CUNA Technology Council congratulates the 17 worthy nominees from credit unions all over the country. Next year’s conference will be September 21-24, 2022, in Las Vegas. Visit for more information.

About CUNA

Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is the only national association that advocates on behalf of all of America’s credit unions, which are owned by 135 million consumer members. CUNA, along with its network of affiliated state credit union leagues, delivers unwavering advocacy, continuous professional growth and operational confidence to protect the best interests of all credit unions. For more information about CUNA, visit To find your nearest credit union, visit

About CUNA Councils
CUNA Councils is a member-led, collaborative community of credit union leaders providing vibrant peer interaction, new ideas and innovation to foster professional development for our members while advocating for the overall success of the credit union movement. There are eight CUNA Councils with a network of more than 7,600 credit union professionals. For more information, visit


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