48 Credit Union Leaders Graduate from Foundation’s DE Program

October 1, 2019

Forty-eight credit union leaders were designated as Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs) after completing the National Credit Union Foundation’s (the Foundation) Credit Union Development Education (DE) Training.

The September DE Training was held Sept. 11-16 at the Lowell Center in Madison, Wis. and was attended by employees and volunteers from credit unions and system partners across the United States and the globe.

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 are involved in group exercises, field visits and interactive speaker sessions that provide 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.

“DE Training is life changing. The whole program is wonderfully put together, and I learned so much about the issues that credit unions and their communities are faced with. I feel empowered to be part of the change, and I am so appreciative of DE training for providing me that empowerment," said Zoe French, TwinStar CU.

"The DE program amplifies the core values and operating principles of credit unions while challenging participants to take action towards making a difference in the lives of their members. As a proud graduate of the program, I am honored to join an international network of alumni who are advocates and resources for the credit union movement. I strive to deliver the passion and energy instilled by my fellow DE’s to my credit union and my community," said Thomas Slemp, SECU.

"If I could choose one word about this program, I would say inspiring- I am inspired to be a part of the credit union movement and humbled to be in such great company.  I am inspired to be part of the change this movement is seeking and inspired to be a better human! This program also provided me a huge network with a common goal and friends that feel like family," said Sandi Widdel, North Star Community CU.

There are four trainings scheduled for 2020 all taking place in Madison, Wis. Email the Foundation at to be put on a notification list to stay up to date on upcoming 2020 registration information, or click here for additional information.

Class Graduates

The most recent DE graduating class included credit union movement representatives from across the U.S., as well as representatives from Kenya, Peru and the Philippines. They are: Jamie Affeld, Fairwinds Credit Union in Florida; Vanessa Alonso-Gonzalez, Thinkwise Credit Union in California; Steffany Arellano, Trona Valley Community Federal Credit Union in Wyoming; Mollie Bell, Ent Credit Union in Colorado; Sandra Breitschwerdt, Civic Federal Credit Union in North Carolina; Park Broome, Tallahassee-Leon Federal Credit Union in Florida; Jordan Burroughs, League of Southeastern Credit Unions in Florida; Carol Chaney, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union in California; Konstantin Comeros, VICTO National Cooperative Federation and Develome in the Philippines; Lauren Culp, CUInsight in Wisconsin; Alicia Dudley, First Family Federal Credit Union in Oklahoma; Veronica Evans, Resource One Credit Union in Texas; Nick Faber, Simplicity Credit Union in Wisconsin; Brian Finnila, Seattle Credit Union in Washington; Zoe French, TwinStar Credit Union in Washington; Bailey Germain, City and County Credit Union in Minnesota; Buddy Gill, Credit Union National Association in Texas; Tony Hall, Elements Financial Federal Credit Union in Indiana; Eric Ham, Scott Credit Union in Illinois; Angela Hayes, Local Government Federal Credit Union in North Carolina; Ronnie Jackson, Fairfax County Federal Credit Union in Virginia; Dana Jaramillo, Rio Grande Credit Union in New Mexico; Eric Kamaitha, Kenya Police SACCO in Kenya; Teresa Knox, American Eagle Financial Credit Union in Connecticut; Linsey Lee, Washington State Employees Credit Union in Washington; Melissa Leiva, Abaco Credit Union in Peru; Michele Lenox, Ironworkers USA Federal Credit Union in Oregon; Tina Liegel, Heartland Credit Union in Wisconsin; Marsha Majors, US Eagle Federal Credit Union in New Mexico; Dan McCue, Alaska USA Federal Credit Union in Alaska; Mary McDonald, Suncoast Credit Union in Florida; Roseline Ochieng, Mwalimu National in Kenya; Lindsay Owen, PSCU in Arizona; Corey Pace, South Carolina Federal Credit Union in South Carolina; Marisol Peralta, Gesa Credit Union in Washington; Christopher Poole, Vision Financial Federal Credit Union in North Carolina; Christine Quitter, Christian Financial Credit Union in Michigan; Amy Rayer, Tarrant County’s Credit Union Texas; Kalli Shelton, CUNA Mutual Group in Wisconsin; Tom Slemp, SECU in Maryland; Elsa Soogrim, Members Credit Union in Connecticut; Richard Sowell, Coastal Credit Union in North Carolina; Katie Toon, Resource One Credit Union in Texas; Michelle Traynor, Bethpage Federal Credit Union in New York; Vincent Wesonga, Kenya Bankers SACCO in Kenya; Lauren Whaley, Carolinas Credit Union Foundation in North Carolina; Sandi Widdel, North Star Community Credit Union in North Dakota; and Monica Williams, University Federal Credit Union in Texas.

Training Staff

The program was facilitated by the Chad Helminak, the Director of DE and Cooperative Culture at the Foundation and co-facilitated by Heather McKissick from University Federal Credit Union in Texas. Onsite event coordination was done by Maggie Wolff from the Foundation. The class was mentored by a group of six credit union professionals and CUDE alumni: Baboucarr Joof, GTU Co-operative Credit Union LTD in Kenya; Dave Hinchey, Credit Union League of Connecticut in Connecticut; Joanne Todd, Northeast Family Federal Credit Union in Connecticut; Mark Volz, Corporate Central Credit Union in Wisconsin; Mary Beth Spuck, Resource One Credit Union in Texas and Tobi Weingart, Credit Union National Association in Wisconsin.