Foundation announces 2018 DE Leadership Transition

MADISON, WI (December 5, 2017) — The National Credit Union Foundation (the Foundation) has announced the addition of Chad Helminak as the new Director of Credit Union Development and Cooperative Values Engagement, effective January 29, 2018. Helminak will lead the Foundation’s popular Credit Union Development Education (DE) Training and engage the growing corps of Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs).

The role is currently held by the Foundation’s National Program Director Lois Kitsch, who is planning to retire from the Foundation in mid-2018. Kitsch, Helminak and Foundation leadership will be working together to ensure a seamless transition and that the DE Program continues to drive a high level of value for the credit union movement.

“I am pleased to announce that Chad Helminak has been selected as the new Director of Credit Union Development and Cooperative Values Engagement,” said Gigi Hyland, Foundation Executive Director. “Chad’s experience at many levels within the credit union system and his keen facilitation skills will serve him well as he takes over stewardship from Lois Kitsch who has so successfully positioned the DE Program as a “must do” for any credit union professional.”

“DE Training is a transformational learning opportunity for the global credit union community,” said Kitsch. “Participants come to DE Training as system leaders and leave the training as credit union champions who live the mission of our cooperative values. Chad Helminak is a well-known and respected credit union leader who has all of the qualities needed to be the perfect steward of the DE Program. I am delighted that DE is not only in good hands, but that he will continue to grow the value of the program for CUDEs, their credit union organizations and the global movement.”

“Lois leaves an everlasting and invaluable impression on the DE Program and so many of us who’ve had the pleasure of working with her through the process,” said Helminak. “I look forward to building on the great successes and traditions of DE while moving our program and network in new, exciting directions.”

Since joining the credit union movement in 2006, Helminak’s experience includes a variety of leadership and consultant roles in the areas of communications, consumer & political advocacy, program & professional development, research & innovation, and youth engagement. Prior to his most recent role as a Communications Strategist at CUNA Mutual Group, Helminak worked at the Wisconsin Credit Union League, Filene Research Institute and Heritage Credit Union (Madison, Wis.).

Helminak was certified as a Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE) in 2009 and has since served as a facilitator and mentor in U.S. and Africa DE Trainings. Over the years, he’s presented at industry events across the country, helped to grow numerous young professional networks, and co-created a music project – The Disclosures – that writes and performs songs about the importance of financial literacy and social responsibility.

Chad Helminak

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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