Steven Bugg speaks during the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Virtual Conference
Steven Bugg, president/CEO of Great Lakes Credit Union, Bannockburn, Ill., says if credit unions do the “right things as an organization” they are likely to achieve their financial goals.

Marketing: All about collaboration

CMO Exchange explores the cross-functional role of today’s marketers.

March 24, 2021

A cross-functional panel of C-suite executives explored how credit union marketers can collaborate with their peers across the organization to meet the challenges of a post-pandemic world during a CMO Exchange at the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Virtual Conference.

When focusing his team on a common goal, “it’s not about silo management; it’s about collaboration,” says Steven Bugg, CEO, president/CEO of $1 billion asset Great Lakes Credit Union, Bannockburn, Ill.

“It’s that community impact that makes a difference for all of us,” he says. “Numbers are important, but you have to separate why they are important. If we’re doing the right things as an organization, those numbers will typically come through.”

While finance people care about the numbers, they’re also willing to look toward the long term, says Casey Kucera, chief financial officer at $882 million asset Jefferson Financial Federal Credit Union in Metairie, La.

“It’s important for us to realize that a project or initiative has a profound effect on the credit union,” she says.

Marketers have to “speak the language” of other areas of the credit union and “make the effort to build bridges” cross functionally, says Fabio Biasell, senior vice president/chief marketing officer at $4.2 billion asset Travis Credit Union in Vacaville, Calif.

“It’s actually a lot of fun,” Biasell says. “I’ve learned a lot of languages in the past few years.”

That cross-functional ability has lifted the marketing leadership position to a seat among the credit union’s chief strategic roles. Bugg, for example, rose through the ranks as a credit union marketer.

“Whatever route you take, it’s important to round out your career and development,” he says. “A lot of times in my career I took lateral moves, even demotions. Whatever route you go, it’s important to understand that there are experts in other areas. You have to learn enough to ask the right questions.”

Visit CUNA News for more conference coverage and view event highlights on Twitter via the #MBDVirtual and #MBDCouncil hashtags. Learn more about the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council, a member-led professional society for credit union executives, at