Credit union leaders graduate from Foundation’s first virtual DE program

MADISON, WI (October 27, 2020) — Thirty–seven credit union leaders were designated as Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs) after completing the National Credit Union Foundation’s Credit Union Development Education (DE) Training. The September DE Training was held from September 14 – October 9, 2020. This marks the first class to complete DE Training in the new, virtual learning environment. The virtual training was completed by employees and volunteers from credit unions and system partners across the United States credit union movement. 

DE Training is a unique experiential training program that provides lessons in credit union structure, purpose and the “why” that differentiates credit unions from other financial institutions. During the Foundation’s signature program, participants engage in small and large group exercises and interactive speaker sessions focused on the credit union difference,  development issues, and empathy. Each lesson provides 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.

Hear what a few graduates had to say about their experience: 

“If you want to meet some incredible credit union people from across the nation, learn how you/your organization can make a positive impact in your community, expand your credit union knowledge about people helping people, then you need to experience the virtual DE class.  The September class of 2020 was the first ever virtual DE class and I can tell you that the experience did not disappoint!!  I was able to meet credit union professionals from credit unions, leagues and CUNA that all support our mission of people helping people every day.  I learned why it is so critical to extend empathy and that this is a strength that you can share with others.  You will hear from inspiring industry leaders in the credit union industry, you will work on projects that assist with addressing development issues, and you will learn what it means to collaborate together to make a positive impact for all of the communities that we serve. I’ve created memories and experiences that will last a lifetime.  I’ve gained new credit union friends that have already inspired me to do more, giveback, and find more ways that I can make a positive impact at my organization and for our movement.” – Andrea Rusnak, PSCU. 

“The DE program was truly a rewarding experience. I have worked in this credit union system for my entire career – in Canada and the US and taking the time to focus on all things credit union by attending the DE program this year was like a tonic to me. It was so good to be reminded that what we do as credit unions is noble work. Thank you for reconnecting me to my beloved movement and what we stand for. It will stay with me forever.”  –Teresa Freeborn, Xceed Financial CU 

Class Graduates 

The most recent DE graduating class included credit union movement representatives from across the United States. They are: Erin Allen, BALANCE in Texas; Aimee Berg, Unitus Community CU in Oregon; Stephenie Brown, Gather FCU in Hawaii; Stacy Burgett, American Airlines CU in Texas; Rebecca Cooper, 1st Mississippi FCU in Mississippi; Heaven Curl, CALCOE FCU in Washington; Page Dunn, Local Government FCU in North Carolina; Janell East, Credit Union National Association in Wisconsin; Andrea Finley, SC Telco FCU in South Carolina; Teresa Freeborn, Xceed Financial CU in California; Adam Freehling, PSCU in Florida; Noel Gabler, Alaska USA FCU in Alaska; Lori Gall, Vizo Financial Corporate CU in Pennsylvania; Emily Hagen, TwinStar CU in Washington; Lisa Hales, All in CU in Alabama; Albert Hernandez, Sequoia FCU in California; Davis Hong, National JACL CU in Utah; Brady Howe, Cutting Edge FCU in Oregon; Dawn Lepore, Vantage West CU in Arizona; Brittany Libbey, Lincoln Maine FCU in Maine; Terry Louvin, Southwest 66 CU in Texas; Kacie Mach, Ent CU in Colorado; Jason Mertz-Prickett, Upward CU in California; Michael Murdoch, Wauna FCU in Oregon; Armand Parvazi, New Orleans Firemen’s FCU in Louisiana; Natasha Rivers, BECU in Washington; Andrea Rusnak, PSCU in California; Cynthia Ryan, Connect CU in Florida; Catie Shannon, Credit Union National Association in Wisconsin; Mike Shockley, TrueSky CU in Oklahoma; Jon Skelly, TrueSky CU in Oklahoma; Walter Stepnowski, Coastal FCU in North Carolina; Evan Strandberg, iQ CU in Oregon; Robert Suarez, Bethpage FCU in New York; Patricia Veal, New Horizons CU in Alabama; Morgan Waterfield, Telco CCU in North Carolina; and Sarah Waters, Tennessee Credit Union League in Tennessee. 

Training Staff 

The program was facilitated by Chad Helminak, the Director of DE and Cooperative Culture at the Foundation and coordinated by Maggie Wolff from the Foundation.  

Interested in Attending DE Training? 

2021 DE Training dates will be announced soon! Email us at to be put on a notification list to stay up to date on upcoming 2020 registration information, or click here for additional information.

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.


Danielle Brown

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