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A Dozen Cornerstone Professionals Become CU Development Educators
Friday, May 15, 2015 6:25 AM

Dozen Cornerstone DEs
Graduates of the Spring 2015 DE Training stand with training staff inside the World Credit Union Center Campus in Madison, Wis.

Forty-seven credit union professionals, one of the largest classes yet, became Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs) after being guided by dedicated program facilitators and mentors through the intensive Credit Union Development Education (DE) Training from the National Credit Union Foundation. The Spring DE training was held April 29-May 6, 2015 at the Lowell Center on the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison.

After attending the Spring DE Training, Doug Bedner, chief operating officer of Resource One CU in Dallas, said, "So many of us get caught up in learning how to do our jobs that we never truly reflect on why. The DE program helped me to understand why credit unions are here to serve. This was more than a conference. It was an awakening to the credit union movement."

Team Projects

DE Training provides critical lessons in cooperative principles, credit union philosophy and international development issues while incorporating challenges credit unions face today. During the recent week-long program, participants were involved in group exercises, field trips, discussions with speakers from around the credit union system, and are required to complete team projects proposing solutions for credit unions to help alleviate or eliminate challenging situations in any given area.

For this class' final case studies, participants worked through and presented solutions to critical issues that included opening an Islamic banking center, board development, and recruiting, including the debate over compensation, credit union solutions to predatory lending, microfinance to women in Africa, building member engagement for growth, and a small credit union merger dilemma.

Class Graduates

The spring 2015 DE graduating class included 47 credit union movement representatives from across the U.S, as well as a representative from Trinidad and Tobago. The 12 Cornerstone region graduates include:

  • Joshua Alberto, Houston Highway CU in Texas
  • Doug Bedner, Resource One CU in Texas
  • Rhonda Bouldin, Peoples Trust FCU in Texas
  • Melissa Burleson, Tarrant County's CU in Texas
  • Jerold Labeaux, Peoples Trust FCU in Texas
  • Damian McIntosh, Peoples Trust FCU in Texas
  • Stephanie Miller, Communication FCU in Oklahoma
  • Len Naidoo, Catalyst Corporate FCU in Texas
  • Shana Richardson, Ser Technology Corporation in Texas
  • Pamela Stephens, Texas Trust Credit Union in Texas
  • Mike Tambourine, Resource One CU in Texas
  • Jackeline Tamez, Houston Highway CU in Texas

2015 Fall DE Training Registration Already Filled

"The strength of the DE program is growing, and we are excited to have already filled up the Fall DE program," said Foundation National Program Director and Spring DE Co-Facilitator Lois Kitsch. "We will soon open registration for the 2016 DE Training sessions."

For credit union professionals interested in 2016 DE Training, visit to learn more about the program and upcoming registration dates, or you can email to be put on a notification list.

More Spring DE Training Testimonials

"As I work to craft stories designed to build an emotional connection with members and citizens far beyond the features and benefits of our products and services, it is the DE Training experience which will make all of the difference in making a difference," said Tyler Miller, director of brand marketing for LSC in Naperville, Illinois.

"DE Training is a solid foundation on which to explore the present and future of cooperative finance," said Damian McIntosh, chief information officer at People's Trust FCU in Houston, Texas.

"DE Training has been a life-changing experience for me," said Karen Viets, CEO/treasurer of Metropolitan District ECU in Hartford, Connecticut. "It has rekindled a passion and prepared me to share it with others. From getting down to the basics of the credit union movement and the cooperative principles to life lasting relationships with others that are working for that same common goal. It was the best experience of my life!"

The mission of the 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 1,400 credit union advocates from over 34 countries have graduated from DE Training to become 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".

The National Credit Union 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 Foundation grants and programs, credit unions provide widespread financial education, create greater access to affordable financial services, and empower more consumers to save, build assets, and own homes. Donations to the Foundation enable credit unions to help their members reach life-changing goals and achieve financial freedom.

The National Credit Union Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization. The Foundation continues to earn the Better Business Bureau seal of approval as an "Accredited Charity" for meeting all 20 BBB Wise Giving Alliance Standards for national charities.