Cornerstone League

Cornerstone Leadership Academy

Leadership Academy

February - October 2023

The application deadline for the 2023 program has passed. Check back at the end of the year for information regarding the 2024 program.

The Cornerstone Leadership Academy is an exclusive 9-month program covering each department in the credit union and how they work together to enhance their members’ financial well-being. The program was designed as higher education by credit union professionals for credit union professionals with a clear focus on engaging and developing tomorrow’s leaders.

High-level objectives of the Leadership Academy are to promote the credit union industry, invest new leaders in the movement, and provide an avenue for mentoring and understanding leadership philosophy.

In addition to leadership, students receive education in the following areas:

  • History and culture 
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Government relations 
  • Resources 
  • Foundation

  • Intro to compliance 
  • Deeper look at compliance 
  • Branch operations 
  • Lending 
  • Project management 

  • Information technology 
  • Human resources 
  • Marketing 
  • Accounting  
  • Finance 

Successful completion of the program requires attendance to all modules, homework assignments, and participation in a team capstone project. Teams are carefully composed to ensure different viewpoints and diverse thought.

“The Cornerstone Leadership Academy was an eye-opener to all things credit union and is a great buffer for the Southwest CUNA Management School. Not only did the class cover the industry, but it really delved into what leadership truly is, which proved to be invaluable and what I got most out of the Academy. The small class size allowed for a more personal experience, and I will carry what I learned with me not only at work but in life as well.”

~ Kimberli Felts, Branch Manager at MTCU


  • Students will receive nine educational modules, nine discussion sessions, and two bonus educational sessions.
  • Students will read, analyze, and discuss two cutting-edge leadership books and receive all materials for classes.
  • Students experience nine open-forum lunch-and-learns with a CEO, which allows students to learn from the experiences, challenges, and mindset of seasoned leaders.
  • Graduates will receive a diploma.

Added Benefits

  • Leadership Academy students receive a cuLEAD360 subscription for self-directed learning about a wide variety of hot leadership topics.
  • Leadership Academy students can enter the Cornerstone Mentorship Program.
  • Graduates of Leadership Academy are granted permission to join the alumni group.
  • Leadership Academy provides a stepping stone to Southwest CUNA Management School.

General Schedule

(subject to change)

Class Times: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. CT

9:00 - 11:30 a.m.Morning Session
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.Lunch
12:30 - 1:30 p.m.CEO Session
1:30 - 4:00 p.m.Afternoon Session