Credit union legends climb to the top of the Hay-Adams to GSD!

Mitchell Stankovic Underground Collision reaches standing room only

Never a group to shy away from hard truths, the Mitchell, Stankovic & Associates Underground Collision: TikTok Thought – Bridging Relevance shined a spotlight on some of the biggest issues facing credit unions, from the future of leadership to owning the duty of bringing financial wellbeing to members. Also in that spotlight were people who had accomplished those things on a small scale, so credit unions know it can be done – and, using the collaborative philosophy, they can be achieved at scale.

Susan Mitchell, CEO of MSA and Underground founder, noted that in the world of change, when people are feeling uncertain or depressed, one of the best things that can happen is for them to feel like they’re accomplishing, they have value! The Underground demonstrated that now is the time to GSD (Get Shit Done)!

Overlooking the White House from the Top of the Hay-Adams Hotel, panelists and approximately 200 attendees authentically spoke their minds. One person suggested credit unions owned financial wellbeing. To that, Redwood CU CEO Brett Martinez simply said, “Prove it.”

Martinez explained during the Now or Never – Financial Wellbeing panel that his credit union is known for assisting members with their financial wellbeing, but that’s not enough. “I don’t want Redwood Credit Union to be known for financial wellbeing; I want credit unions to be known for financial wellbeing,” he advocated.

How to do that? Apply TikTok Thought, Mitchell said. “The Underground Collision: TikTok Thought nudged our thought leaders to get their points across is a clear, concise way,” she explained. “That’s how we need to approach our members and consumers. We must make a compelling statement that meets them where they are and not only grab their interest but hold their attention. The credit union community must reframe its story for today and the future.”

Joining Martinez on that panel were Maria Martinez, CEO of Border FCU; Chuck Purvis, CEO of Coastal CU; Maurice Smith, CEO of Local Government FCU; and moderator Gerry Singleton, VP CU System Relations at CUNA Mutual.

The Oh God or Good Riddance – Leadership Transitions panel seemed to lean toward the latter. Frank Diekmann, Chief Collaborator at CUToday served as moderator of this critical issue and Jim Hayes, CEO of SECU; Lynn Heckler, CTO of PSCU; Jill Nowacki, CEO of Humanidei and John Pembroke, CEO of CUES made up the panel.

The We Did It – Ideas into Action panel was moderated by Renee Sattiewhite, President/CEO of the AACUC and Roni Crichton, Board Director of Kinecta FCU, Pablo DeFilippi, EVP of Inclusiv, Rico Delgadillo, President/CEO of BALANCE and our very own, Zach Christensen, Director of MSA & Co-founder of CU Pride told it like it is.

Brandi Stankovic, Chief Strategy Officer for CU Solutions Group, hosted the event. Keynoter Shazia Manus, SVP of Experience Capabilities, CUNA Mutual, spoke to transformational change, curiosity and harnessing our inner renegade spirit. Samantha Paxson, Chief Experience Officer for CO-OP Financial Services brought data to life wrapped in a story.

“The agenda in its entirety outlined what needs to be accomplished and what has been done, so we can focus on getting shit done!” Mitchell concluded.

Maria Martinez, CEO of Border FCU, talks about the credit union is navigating the challenges of serving several low-income counties along the Texas-Mexican border.

About Mitchell, Stankovic & Associates (MSA)

Mitchell, Stankovic & Associates (MSA) mission is to stand up for issues that will make a difference to a diverse world of people, the bottom line for credit unions and change member lives globally. Clients glow when asked about MSA because they know what a partnership truly means – working together to reach beyond what is, to what can be. MSA believes that credit unions have a social purpose, and its advisory services emphasize doing the right thing as good business, garnering sustainable growth and relevance within the market. Serial entrepreneurs, MSA consultants have founded industry initiatives like the Underground Movement, Global Women’s Leadership Network, CU Pride, HRD Network and they volunteer on governing bodies of Worldwide Foundation and Credit Union DEI Collective.


Zach Christensen, CUDE (he/him/his)

Director, Digital Services & DEI
Mitchell Stankovic and Associates

Co-Founder, CU Pride™
(o) 855.362.2002 x707 (m) 602.390.7655

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