47 CU professionals become Certified CU Development Educators (CUDEs)

Foundation’s transformational CU training held in Madison

MADISON, WI (November 17, 2017) — Forty-seven 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 November 1 – 8, 2017 at the Lowell Center in Madison, Wis.

After completing the November DE Training, John Cote, Director of Information Services at the Association of Vermont Credit Unions, said, “The simplest thing I can say is that I’m a different person than who I was 7 days ago. Along with some of the most amazing people I’ve ever had the privilege to work with, I was absorbed into an entity that became far greater than the sum of its parts. And I know now that I’m a small part of an even bigger, global entity that can accomplish anything.”

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 training’s final case studies, participants worked through and presented solutions to critical issues that included financial stability among young adults and families, credit union board development, building microfinance programs in the Philippines, credit union solutions to predatory lending, the increasing issue of homelessness in America, and rejuvenating a stagnant credit union.

Class Graduates

The most recent DE graduating class included credit union movement representatives from across the U.S, as well as a representatives from the United Kingdom, Malawi and Kenya. They are: Sarah Arnoldy, Simplicity Credit Union in Wisconsin; Michael Bishop, Salal Credit Union in Washington; Sedric Brinson, Statewide FCU in Mississippi; Peter Bullard, Credit Union of the Rockies in Colorado; Luke Campbell, Southwest Financial FCU in Texas; Victor Corro, World Council of Credit Unions in Wisconsin; John Cote, Association of Vermont Credit Unions in Vermont; Chris Court, Service 1st FCU in Pennsylvania; Andrew Davey, The Co-Operative Credit Union in the UK; Ceci Davila, GECU in Texas; Cheryl DeBoer, Advia Credit Union in Michigan; Bree Dronen, Laramie Plains Community FCU in Wyoming; Linda Fales, Suncoast Credit Union in Florida; Richard Folse, Gesa CU in Washington; Josh Franzen, InTouch Credit Union in Texas; Karen Gilliam-Brown, Afena FCU in Indiana; Katie Greene, Millstream Area CU in Ohio; Joe Hankey, CUNA Mutual Group in Wisconsin; JoAnne Harper, Peach State FCU in South Carolina; Ali Heidenreich, CUNA Mutual Group in Wisconsin; Lori Higgins, Mobiloil FCU in Texas; Holly Jones, Black Hills Federal Credit Union in South Dakota; Prince Kapondamgaga, Farmers’ Union of Malawi in Malawi; Adam Lee, Filene Research Institute in Wisconsin; Joe Luedke, CUNA Mutual Group in Wisconsin; Traci McGlathery, Spokane Teachers CU in Washington; Mike Mohney, CULIANCE in Florida; Andrea Molnau, Minnesota Credit Union Network in Minnesota; John Nduru, New Fortis Sacco in Kenya; Christine Nice, Bayer Heritage FCU in West Virginia; James Ole Nkiti, Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives in Kenya; Jose Ortiz, Ohio Credit Union League in Ohio; Matthew Parrott, GCS Credit Union in Illinois; Merry Pateuk, PSCU in Florida; Marty Pell, Coastal Federal Credit Union in North Carolina; Aaron Persons, University Federal Credit Union in Texas; Tom Sakash, Credit Union National Association in Wisconsin; Renee Sattiewhite, African American Credit Union Coalition in Georgia; Russell Sawyer, Credit Union National Association in Washington; Kathleen Schilb, Horizon Credit union in Washington; Patsy Smith, Peoples Advantage FCU in Virginia; Randy Stolp, My Community CU in Texas; Troy Sturdevant, Vocal CU in Montana; Andrew Walker, Peoples Trust FCU in Texas; Tonya Wood, TwinStar CU in Washington; and Emily Woodbury, Changing Seasons FCU in Maine.

2018 DE Trainings

The Foundation is holding four DE Trainings next year, all taking place in Madison, Wis. Anyone interested in participating in one of the 2018 DE Trainings can visit to learn more or they can email to be put on a notification list for when registration opens up.

More November DE Training Testimonials

“DE Training was one of the most humbling and positive experiences I have encountered in my career,” said Patsy Smith, CEO at Peoples Advantage Federal Credit Union. “My credit union prides itself on serving our members, but DE provided me untapped passion to go beyond just serving our members. I can’t wait to take my new found passion and truly make an impact on my community and their needs.”

“DE Training, especially for someone who already believes that they are very empathetic, is an eye-opening and life changing experience,” said Katie Green, Executive Assistant/Compliance Officer at Millstream Area Credit Union. “It was the absolute best training I could have ever taken in my life.”

“DE Training was an amazing experience for me,” said Luke Campbell, VP of Member Loyalty and Opportunity at Southwest Financial. “It opened my eyes in many different ways in how credit unions can help serve their communities, which goes so far beyond account types and lending. DE made me think outside of the box and realize what is going on out there on a more global level and how I can have a direct impact on improving peoples’ lives.”

*Note to editors: for a high-resolution version of the November graduation picture & individual pictures, please visit:

Graduates of the November 2017 DE Training stand with training staff inside the World Credit Union Center Campus in Madison, Wis.

About 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.

About the DE Program

The mission of the Credit Union Development Education (DE) program is to promote credit unions’ social responsibility and domestic and international development through interactive adult education and professional networking. By linking credit unions’ past and present, the DE program brings renewed relevance to credit unions’ seven cooperative principles and the philosophy of “People Helping People.”

Since 1982, more than 1,800 credit union advocates from over 35 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. For more information on the DE program, visit under “How We Help”.


Danielle Brown

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