Three Cornerstone CEOs join 10 others to form women’s leadership alliance

Posted: Mar 3, 2021 | Author: Cornerstone League
CUWLA  women's leadership 

Three Cornerstone-area CEOs collaborated with female credit union CEOs across the U.S. to launch the Credit Union Women’s Leadership Alliance (CUWLA), a support system that focuses on the unique challenges facing smaller credit unions. Lily Newfarmer with Tarrant County’s Credit Union, Maria Martinez with Border Federal Credit Union, and Tammy Passafiume with Diamond Lakes Federal Credit Union joined 10 other CEOs representing credit unions with asset sizes of $300 million or less to share best practices, offer opportunities for mentorship, and foster collaboration.

“Access to a trusted support system is a key factor in the sustainability of smaller credit unions that I believe are the backbone of the credit union movement,” said Newfarmer, CUWLA founder and board chair.

Facing the same bottom-line pressures and compliance mandates of larger credit unions, smaller credit unions also struggle with less staff to run similar operations to larger credit unions.

“By creating a support system such as CUWLA, women who run smaller credit unions will not only have opportunities to grow on a personal and professional level but also have the needed tools to help them grow their credit unions and better serve their members,” Newfarmer added.

Passafiume said, “Being a part of CUWLA is a way for us to build a safe community of women CEOs who are dedicated to the credit union movement and want to see small credit unions thrive. Having personally experienced how life-changing these relationships can be, I am grateful that this organization will give us the opportunity to put our arms around other CEO leaders. I can’t wait for other people to be a part of it.”

This initiative is an unprecedented effort to recognize and unite female CEOs in the smaller asset categories, amplify their concerns, and provide opportunities to leverage economies of scale within their credit unions. To learn details on joining or supporting CUWLA, visit the CUWLA website.

List of CUWLA Founders:

  • Lily Newfarmer – Tarrant County’s CU, Fort Worth, Texas
  • Linda Bodie – Element FCU, Charleston, W.Va.
  • Amy Brodersen – Family Focus FCU, Omaha, Neb.
  • Debi Keesee – Spokane Media FCU, Spokane, Wash.
  • Maria Martinez – Border Federal CU, Del Rio, Texas
  • Winona Nava – Guadalupe CU, Santa FE, N.M.
  • Jan Page – Community South CU, Chipley, Fla.
  • Carma Parrish – NorthPark Community CU, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Tammy Passifume – Diamond Lakes FCU, Hot Springs, Ark.
  • Teri Robinson – Ironworkers USA FCU, Portland, Ore.
  • Lynette Smith – TruEnergy FCU, Springfield, Va.
  • Heather Walter – Advanz CU, Louisville, Ky.
  • Linda White – Upward CU, Burlingame, Calif.


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