by Shawn Marie Brummer, Communications & Media Specialist
Two Dakota credit union professionals were recently designated as Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs) after completing the National Credit Union Foundation’s Credit Union Development Education (DE) Training earlier this spring. Congratulations to: Lexie Kroeger, Member Service Rep at GEM FCU, Minot, North Dakota; and Erica Clements, Marketing Specialist, East River FCU, Madison South Dakota.
DE Training is a unique experiential training program that provides lessons in credit union structure, purpose and the “why” that differentiates credit unions from other financial institutions. During the Foundation’s signature program, 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.
“Even though it was a remote experience, there was the ability to really connect with other attendees,” said Clements. “The Foundation did an outstanding job providing small group opportunities to learn more about each other. The virtual format, partnered with the scholarship opportunity, gave me the ability to participate and I learned so much about the credit union movement and what it truly means to embrace the ‘people helping people’ philosophy.”
She continues, “I would highly recommend this training to anyone, regardless of how long you have been at a credit union or what your position is. We all play a role in helping our members and in the credit union movement in general; it takes each and every one of us. I especially enjoyed being able to talk with peers from across the country about what is going on in their credit union and their communities. After a year spent with a global pandemic, I was seeing things in such a limited, local perspective. I was able to hear stories from people who worked through completely different situations than what we faced in South Dakota – and the common factor all those stories had in common was these credit unions and their employees still went to amazing lengths to serve their members,” she concluded.
Kroeger agrees. “CUDE was life changing,” she stated. “The Foundation does
an excellent job of getting you to understand your ‘why’, and how to address different developmental issues that prevent financial health for our members.
It was so awesome to collaborate with other credit union professionals in different exercises that focused on the credit union difference.”
Kroeger did not see the virtual program as being a detriment. “I truly feel that I was able to reflect deeper on our conversations and what I had learned that week on my off time rather than jumping into the next lesson on the next day. The training was held Mondays and Tuesdays all day via Zoom – and each week we had small reflection assignments and we were able to set up a meeting with a classmate if we chose to do so. I am thankful for the Foundation’s option of holding the training virtually! One day I hope to attend class on the CU Campus, however I know that financially and physically the virtual setting was the only way for me to attend this training,” she added.
The 2021 spring program was facilitated by Chad Helminak, Director of DE and Cooperative Culture at the Foundation, assisted by Kalli Shelton from the Foundation and coordinated by Maggie Wolff from the Foundation.
Learn more about the CUDE program here. The fall session is already sold out, but you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to be put on a notification list for upcoming opportunities.
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