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Cornerstone CU Professionals Become CUDEs
Thursday, September 25, 2014 6:55 AM

Forty-four credit union professionals became certified Credit Union Development Educators last week, nine of whom belong to the Cornerstone region. Students were guided by program facilitators and mentors through the intensive Credit Union Development Education (DE) Training from the National Credit Union Foundation.

The Fall DE training was held Sept. 10-17, 2014, at the Lowell Center on the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison. During the week-long program, participants were involved in group exercises, field trips, and discussions with speakers from around the credit union system. They were required to complete team projects proposing solutions for credit unions to help alleviate or eliminate challenging situations in any given area.

For their final case studies, participants worked through and presented solutions to critical issues surrounding the opening of an Islamic banking center, board development, and recruiting. This included debate over compensation, credit union solutions to payday lending, microfinance to women in the Philippines, credit union membership growth and engagement, and a small credit union merger dilemma.

Please help us congratulate the following new CUDEs from the Cornerstone region:

  • Kyle Brisendine – Resource One CU
  • Carol Davis – American Airlines CU
  • Judy Ensweiler – Cornerstone Credit Union League
  • Gina McNeal – Border FCU
  • Nikki Moore – Space City FCU
  • Biutel Moreno-Emeric – American Airlines CU
  • Tiffany Sharpensteen – Amarillo Community CU
  • Frances Tiger – American Airlines CU
  • Debbie Ybarra – People's Trust FCU

In the Words of the Graduates

Graduates have much to say about their experiences at DE Training. Here are just a few of the great comments from the new CUDE designees:

Nikki Moore, Executive Vice President, Space City FCU

Nikki Moore said, "The exchange of ideas and perspectives with like-minded credit union professionals at DE was thought provoking and exhilarating. Removing myself from my local credit union environment and focusing on DE gave me a chance to examine credit union operations and philosophical ideals on a global level."

Moore notes that her CUDE designation means that she is now connected to other credit union professionals who are passionate about the global progression of credit unions and the cooperative principles. "Learning what the founders and pioneers of the credit union movement went through to lay the framework for some of the amazing things credit unions are doing globally today was truly heartening," Moore adds. "My DE experience was awe-inspiring and re-confirmed my steadfast commitment to the Credit Union movement."

Kyle Brisendine, Director of Sales and Service, Resource One CU

Kyle Brisendine called his experience life changing. "Earning the CUDE designation is something that I am very proud of. It has opened my view of what credit unions actually stand for—believing and practicing the true co-op philosophies in my organization and the communities that I am involved in."

Brisendine notes that in the past, it was all about budget, bottom line, etc. "Although we must take that into consideration," he said, "I look at it as 'Will this affect our members? And if so, how and why?'"

Tiffany Sharpensteen, Education Coordinator, Amarillo Community CU

Tiffany Sharpensteen reports that she's honored to have received the CUDE designation. "The DE experience really brought to the forefront of my mind the credit union cooperative principles," Sharpensteen said. "I think too often we lose sight of those, and I appreciated diving into each principle and the credit union difference." She adds of her experience, "I almost feel like I deserve a t-shirt that says 'I survived DE!'"

Frances Tiger, Administrator-Business Development, American Airlines FCU

"DE training is by far, a life changing event," said Frances Tiger. "I had no idea about the depth of what I was a part of in the credit union movement and would recommend this training for all employees of credit unions."

Debbie Ybarra, Education Specialist II, People's Trust FCU

Debbie Ybarra has been in credit unions since 1997 and worked for four different ones. "I really did not think there was much I could learn after all of that time," she said. "What a surprise! I had never heard of the cooperative principles at any of the other credit unions I had worked for. All of the work that credit unions around the world was a very pleasant surprise also, along with a whole lot more!

Ybarra feels privileged to be part of a special group of bright individuals who have made such a difference in the credit union arena and, for that matter, the world. "I have come back from the fall DE class reenergized and ready to share. I want everyone to understand what a great institution a credit union really is. It is not just a "banking opportunity," but a world where we really can make a difference, from Houston, Texas, to the Philippines and Africa. What a great group to be a part of."

Interested in Obtaining Your CUDE?

DE training is open to everyone, from new employees who need a credit union orientation to seasoned executives who need to recharge. If you're interested in obtaining the CUDE designation, go to the NCUF website at Register for DE Training.

The NCUF will be hosting the first ever DE training in Dallas in January, 2015, at the American Airlines Training Center, followed by two sessions in Madison, Wisconsin, during April/May and September.