46 credit union professionals become Certified CU Development Educators (CUDEs) in Dallas

Foundation adds 4th CU Philosophy Training Session in 2016

Forty-six credit union professionals became Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs) after being guided by dedicated program facilitators and mentors through the intensive Credit Union Development Education (DE) Training from the National Credit Union Foundation (the Foundation). The DE training was held January 13-19, 2016 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.

After attending the January DE Training, Jim Ladner, CFO at Resource One CU, said, “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.”

Additional 2016 DE Training Planned for November

The next DE Training is scheduled for May 18-25, but has been sold out since last year. The Foundation has decided to hold an additional DE session in November of 2016 to meet the growing demand of the program.  The September 14-21 and November 2-9 sessions will both be held in Madison, and registration will open this Spring. If you are interested in either 2016 DE Training (or 2017 DE Trainings), visit to learn more or you can email to be put on a notification list for when registration opens up.

Team Projects

DE Training provides critical lessons in cooperative principles, credit union philosophy and international development issues while incorporating challenges credit unions face today. During the recent week-long program, participants were involved in group exercises, field trips, discussions with speakers from around the credit union system, and are required to complete team projects proposing solutions for credit unions to help alleviate or eliminate challenging situations in any given area. For this class’ final case studies, participants worked through and presented solutions to critical issues that included student loan debt, board development and recruiting including the debate over compensation, microfinance to women in Africa, credit union solutions to predatory lending, building an Islamic banking center for Afghan Americans in Virginia, and credit union growth and increased awareness. 

Class Graduates

The most recent DE graduating class included credit union movement representatives from across the U.S, as well as a representatives from Barbados, St. Lucia, Ireland, Kenya, St. Lucia and Brazil. They are: Tracy Blaske, Credit Union National Association in Wisconsin; Cody Buchholz, Tinker Federal Credit Union in Oklahoma; Nathanial Burns, Patelco Credit Union in California; Vicki Christner, Credit Union National Association in DC; Wilfred Clarke, Light and Power Employees Co-op Credit Union Ltd in Barbados; Phillip Crocker, Resource 1 in Texas; Junia Emmanuel-Belizaire, St. Lucia Civil Service Cooperative Credit Union LTD in St. Lucia; Lauretta Farrell, Affinity FCU in New Jersey; Tracy Florida, Credit Union Resources in Texas; Patrick Flynn, People’s Trust FCU in Texas; Jeannie Fye, CSE FCU in Ohio; Lorri Gaither, Cornerstone Credit Union League in Texas; Joel Garcia, First Class American Credit Union in Texas; Jeanell Garness, Laborie Co-Operative Credit Union Ltd in St. Lucia; Rogerio Griguc, Sicredi in Brazil; Troy Hall, South Carolina Federal Credit Union in South Carolina; Michelle Herrera, Randolph-Brooks FCU in Texas; Shainika Jacobs, Mountain West Credit Union Association in Colorado; Andrew Johnson, National Credit Union Foundation in Wisconsin; Melanie Kennedy, Southwest Financial Credit Union in Texas; Linda Krakora, NuMark Credit Union in Illinois; Sarae Kurth, Denver Community Credit Union in Colorado; Jim Ladner, Resource One Credit Union in Texas; Mistie Leeds, Communication FCU in Oklahoma; Rena Macapagal, San Francisco Federal Credit Union in California; Marisa Oliva Marshall, Barbados Cooperative & Credit Union League in Barbados; Sara Moorehead, BECU in Washington; Hazel Moreno, Credit Union of Texas in Texas; Karen Nadal, Pyramid FCU in Arizona; Rael Naemeka, Fairfax Credit Union in Virginia; Rosemary O’Doherty, Derry Credit Union Limited in Ireland; George Ototo, KUSCCO LTD in Kenya; Jamie Patterson, Christian Financial Credit Union in Michigan; Tom Penna, NCUA in New York; Calvin Pham, Houston Highway Credit Union in Texas; Jennifer Platt, Suncoast Credit Union in Florida; Sandi Rogers, Houston Highway Credit Union in Texas; Shana Runck, Nusenda Credit Union in New Mexico; KaLeigh Sanders, Matagorda County Credit Union in Texas; Alex Savon, Suncoast Credit Union in Florida; Clark Smith, Suncoast Credit Union in Florida; Stephanie Smith, America’s Credit Union Museum in New Hampshire; Tracy Thornburg, Montana Credit Union Network in Montana; Corina Tynsky, Trona Valley FCU in Wyoming; Bryn Vaupel, BC Consulting in Maryland; and Camila Viana, Sicredi in Brazil.

“One of the DEs, George Ototo, has been working on raising funds and showing people in Kenya how to farm pineapples,” said Lois Kitsch, National Program Director at the Foundation. “This class was unique in that we raised money for 18 poor farmers to start pineapple farming and using the land that they own.  It was a very special moment and was a perfect example of the credit union philosophy of people helping people.”

More January DE Training Testimonials

“The DE program is a transformative experience that is so much more than a training or conference,” said Sarae Kurth, Community Relations Coordinator at Denver Community CU. “Through immersive and collaborative learning, I left inspired and reenergized to make a difference in more ways than I could have imagined. I would highly recommend the DE program to any professional, regardless of their experience, as it is an opportunity like no other to apply credit union philosophy and cooperative principles at all levels of operations.”

“Before DE I knew I was working in a great industry,” said Tracy Thornburg, Director of Compliance at the Montana Credit Union Network. “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.”

“The program, as any DE Training graduate will tell you, was life changing,” said Cody Buchholz, AVP/Manager of Financial Empowerment at Tinker FCU. “It amplified my understanding of the credit union philosophy, our social responsibility, and the impact we can have on humanity. It is an honor to be associated with such an elite group of change agents.”

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