38 earn Credit Union Development Educators designation

April 16, 2022

Thirty-eight credit union leaders from across the United States were designated as Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs) last week after completing the National Credit Union Foundation’s (the Foundation) signature Credit Union Development Education (DE) training.

DE training is a unique experiential program that provides lessons in credit union structure, purpose and the “why” that differentiates credit unions from other financial institutions. Participants engage in small and large group exercises and interactive speaker sessions focused on the credit union difference, development issues, and empathy.

Each lesson provides 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.

“Participating in the DE program was so transformative for me. Beyond the outstanding class material, I enjoyed the brave sharing of ideas and the opportunity to connect with credit union professionals across the United States,” said graduate Lori Timm, Allegacy Federal Credit Union. “The virtual format allowed me to participate in DE and I was amazed at how the program design truly engaged participants via Zoom. DE training reenergized me, equipping me with resources and tools to drive positive change in my own community.”

“We’re proud to have these 38 credit union leaders join the ranks of one of the oldest and largest credit union networks,” added Chad Helminak, director of programs and impact at the Foundation. “We look forward to watching them carry forward a legacy of DEs putting learning into action.

“This year, we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the DE Program and while the program has evolved over years, we keep its purpose constant by focusing on how we can improve peoples’ financial well-being and offer humanity through financial services.”

Class Graduates

The most recent DE graduating class included credit union movement representatives from across the United States. They are:  Danielle Anderson, Altra FCU in Wisconsin; Noreen Cady, Park Side Credit Union in Montana; Maricela Castillo, CUNA Mutual Group in Wisconsin; Abby Churchill, CUNA Mutual Group in Wisconsin; Lily Currin, Rio Grande Credit Union in New Mexico; Sabrina DeFazio, Western Connecticut FCU on Connecticut; Tanya Dittberner, Cornerstone League in Texas; Christa Dotson Dean, EdFed in Florida; Ning Duong, Credit Union West in Arizona; Michael Dyrdahl, Whitefish Credit Union in Montana; Candice Elders, Honor CU in Michigan; Matthew FitzGerald, Verity Credit Union in Washington; Coquise Frost, CUCollaborate in Illinois; Stephanie Harney, Chartway FCU in Virginia; Leslie Jenkins-Jones, Civic FCU in North Carolina;  Erica Johnson, Vizo Financial Corporate CU in Pennsylvania; Randy Kahlich, PSCU in Florida; Crystina Laffin, Bridge Credit Union Inc. in Ohio; Nicolette Luna, Upward CU in California; Shawn Mathey, Health Care Professional FCU in Ohio; Brittany McCary, SchoolsFirst FCU in California; Yvonne Meeks, SRP FCU in Georgia; Marcy Mitchell, Reliant Community CU in New York; Karey Neal, Prodigy in Idaho; Avery Ragsdale, Family Savings CU in Georgia; Bobbi Randall, North East Welch FCU in Pennsylvania; Jennifer Rathke, Westconsin Credit Union in Wisconsin; Karen Rigoni, American Airlines FCU in Texas; Matthew Rivera, TwinStar CU in Washington; Allison Beck, Cutting Edge FCU in Washington; Annie Snead, Ent CU in Colorado; Todd Spiczenski, Credit Union National Association in Wisconsin; Lori Timm, Allegacy FCU in North Carolina; Alondra Vazquez, Coopera Consulting in Colorado; Teresa Woodie, Coastal Credit Union in North Carolina; Yolonda Woodson, Resource One Credit Union in Texas; Brian Wringer, iDiz Incorporated in Indiana; and Elizabeth Zamora, El Paso Area Teachers FCU in Texas.

Training Staff

The program was facilitated by Chad Helminak, the Director of Programs & Impact at the Foundation, assisted by Maggie Wolff and Tobi Weingart from the Foundation.

Interested in Attending DE Training?

2022 DE training dates and learning environments are available here. Email us at to be put on a notification list to stay up to date on upcoming 2022 registration information.