CUNA Announces CUNA Mutual Group’s Discovery Session Speakers and Topics for America’s Credit Union Conference

Mark Wolff – CUNA Communications; (202) 508-6764;
Amy Nigrelli – CUNA Marketing; (608) 231-4246;

Madison, WI (February 27, 2012) – Credit Union National Association and CUNA Mutual Group announced speakers and topics for the Discovery Sessions at the 2012 America’s Credit Union Conference.

The conference will be held June 17 – 20, in San Diego, CA. Conference information can be found at

“This year’s Discovery session speakers and topics address the most urgent issues facing credit unions,” said Jeff Post, President and CEO of CUNA Mutual. “We’ve found that credit union leaders really engage with the speakers and each other at these small, interactive sessions.”

Additional speakers, session topics and programs will be announced in the weeks to come. For more information, please go to or follow @CUNAverse on Twitter.


2012 – The Year of Chip Technology: How to Eliminate Magnetic Stripe Card Fraud!
Ann Davidson, Consultant, Risk Management, CUNA Mutual Group; Leanne Phelps, Senior VP, Card Services, State Employees’ Credit Union; and Hap Huynh, Chip Center of Excellence, VISA
Attendees will learn about this innovative technology and how it greatly reduces card fraud risk. This session will retell a credit union story of how State Employees’ Credit Union has incorporated chip technology successfully into their card program.

How to Thrive in Today’s Economy
Bob Larson, Financial Support Consultant, CUNA Mutual Group; Steve Behler, President/CEO, Kemba CU Inc.; John Cassidy, President/CEO, Sierra Central
Attendees will participate in a dialogue with key decision makers from credit unions who have consistently posted successful results in spite of challenging times. Credit union professionals will explore what these credit unions are doing to combat a troubling economy.

Changing Trends in Executive Compensation
Scott Albraccio, Sales Specialist Manager, Executive Benefits, CUNA Mutual Group
Over the next five years, more than a quarter of all credit union CEOs will reach retirement age. Scott will show attendees how to prepare their credit union for building competitive executive retirement solutions to meet the evolving needs of top leadership.

Reaching Gen Y and Millennials with a Message They’ll Actually Listen To
Josh Allison, CUDE, Founder and Chief Ideator, Think Café
This session presents a blueprint for creating relevant relationships with teens and young adults through smarter marketing, social relevance and strong values.

Don’t Be an Idea Killer! The Future of Innovation at Your Organization
Tasha Dahl, Synergy Leader, Affinity Plus FCU
The innovation and change needed to push the credit union movement into the next generation of financial services will not come from the usual small group of “leaders.”  This session will explain why credit union leaders should give their employees complete control of innovation at their credit union.

Future of the Branch
George Hofheimer, Chief Research Officer, Filene Research Institute
This session summarizes a Filene Research Institute colloquium on the future of the branch. Perspectives from academic thinkers, credit union executives, and branch design/building firms sketch the interplay of different branching priorities for different types of credit unions and different types of memberships.

Effective Credit Card Program Management
Ondine Irving, Founder, Card Analysis Solutions
This session covers effective portfolio analysis techniques, how to best control the expenses of a credit union’s credit card program, and review alternative options for credit card processing.

Credit Union Sustainability: A Long Term Model for Success
Mike Higgins, Jr., Partner, Higgins & Associates
Mike will explain a sustainability model that avoids the shortcomings of traditional measures and focuses on the new drivers of longer-term value creation. He will demonstrate how the concepts can be applied to any credit union business model.

For Every Consumer Intention, There Should be an Equal and Opposite Credit Union Action
David Polet, Voice of Customer Program Manager, CUNA Mutual Group
This interactive session will investigate how economic shifts beyond the Great Recession and housing crash will likely impact members’ perceptions, attitudes and expectations of credit unions and other financial institutions and how this impacts strategic initiatives concerning insurance and investment offerings.

“Tell Me We Aren’t Doing That!”
Denny Graham, President & CEO, FI-Strategies, LLC
Denny will demonstrate how leading credit unions identify productivity enhancements from their own employees and how to build a stronger sales and service culture.  The title is a quote from a CEO after looking at the results of a survey to his employees.  

Working for Good: How Social Responsibility is Driving the Next Generation of Leaders
Brent Dixon, Young Adult Advisor, Filene Research Institute; Panel: Filene Research Institute Young Adult Group Members
In a groundbreaking research initiative, The Filene Research Institute and Net Impact have partnered to examine how doing good motivates the millennial workforce. Join this conversation on some of the most important issues driving the next generation of leaders.

Innovation Technology: Redefining What IT Means for Credit Unions
Mark Sievewright, President, CU Division, FiServ
Get a crash course in the primary innovations, enabled by technology that will impact member acquisition and retention, and the delivery of financial services in the next three years. This session will cover the rapid evolution of “Mobiliti” and the likely impact of social business. Attendees will also get a glimpse of how online banking, new payment models and member-centric tactics and techniques will look like in the future.

Superior Consumer Lenders during the Great Recession
Facilitator: Patrick McElhenie, Sales Planner, CUNA Mutual Group; Garth Strand, CEO, Hutchinson Credit Union; Joe Rossa, SVP, EECU, and TBA credit union panelist.
Hear first-hand how three credit unions grew consumer lending portfolios by more than 5% each year during the Great Recession.

Align Your Team or Forever Fight the Steering Wheel
Dr. Neil Goldman, Partner, GCS Consulting
Address the reality of the whirlwind of daily credit union life and discover new tools to create a cohesive, uniformly focused institution. Learn how to eliminate silo management and unify and focus teams for enhanced teamwork and employee engagement.

The Business Case for Employee Engagement
Randy Kohout, Vice President, Human Resources, CUNA Mutual Group
Despite the volatile economy and high unemployment, a Towers Watson 2011 Survey found almost 60% of North American companies struggle to attract critical-skill employees. This presentation discusses how to align engagement programs with your business objectives, desired culture, total rewards strategy, and attraction and retention goals.  

Digital Branding
George Hofheimer, Chief Research Officer, Filene Research Institute; and Katie Sollenberger, Account Manager, Financial Services Vertical, Google
Mobile phones, ubiquitous internet, iPhone apps and social media are all rewiring the way consumers choose and interact with brands. This session summarizes a Filene Research Institute colloquium and presents insights on how to reach, strengthen, and sell to these desired markets.

Five Best Practices for Online Cross-Selling
Geoff Knapp, VP, Online Banking and Consumer Insights, FiServ
This session will pinpoint five online retailer practices that can benefit credit unions, and identify others that do not. Attendees will learn from consumer research and focus group findings how to successfully market online.

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About CUNA:

With its network of affiliated state credit union leagues, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) serves 90 percent of America’s 7,400 state and federally chartered credit unions, which are owned by 94 million consumer members. Credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives providing affordable financial services to people from all walks of life.  For more information about CUNA, visit or the CUNAverse blog and follow @CUNAverse on Twitter.  For more information about credit unions, visit and follow @asmarterchoice on Twitter.


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