CUES 66: 2018 CUES Next Top Credit Union Exec Competition Winner, An Interview with Lynette Cupps, CIE

CUES Podcast

In this show, Lynette Cupps, CIE, VP/organizational Development with $1.3 billion MAX Credit Union in Montgomery, Alabama, describes her excitement at being named 2018 CUES Next Top Credit Union Exec. Cupps also talks about her project—how to support non-profit organizations by partnering to provide training for their staff and volunteers; this year’s competition process; and where to go for information on participating in next year’s contest.

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“It was such an honor to be considered and to see the rally of support my idea had and the way that we can support these non-profits,” Cupps says in the interview. Winning was “really unreal because I was so honored to be among the (five) finalists. The other finalists had such good ideas. … Any of them would have been incredible winners.

“Some of the excitement and passion that they brought made me even more excited about the credit union movement and the changes that we could make in the future,” she added. “It was all really friendly and laid back; it was really great to work with them. What was cool was even through the competition we would bounce ideas off each other of things we were doing at our credit unions, so it was just a great networking opportunity as well.”

During the episode, Cupps describes her winning project. “My focus was to use a lot of the investment in our internal staff members through education and certification to help raise business acumen in non-profits. We know how to run businesses, develop leaders, focus on innovation, marketing campaigns, compliance, and non-profits may not have that background or skill level because so much of the time they’re focused on uplifting the communities they serve. We have the opportunity to share our knowledge and expertise with these non-profits to help them continue their mission.”

The show also gets into:

  • Where her project idea originated

  • How she implemented her project

  • How competing in the Next Top Credit Union Exec helped her build out her project

  • The benefits of this kind of a program for both non-profits and credit unions

  • Her perspective on the $20,000 educational package she received from CUES/DDJ Myers as a prize for winning

  • Suggestions for getting involved in the 2019 contest

  • Be sure to tune in!

+ Original article

Adoption Line of Credit Helps Create Families

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KSTP TV

A Twin Cities-based credit union is offering a different type of loan.

It's for families needing financial assistance with adoption - a very common, but expensive decision.

Firefly Credit Union's adoption loan has been in existence for less than a year, but already a dozen families have taken advantage of it.

"We said what's easiest for the borrower and how can we make this a seamless process for them," Firefly Community Engagement and Communications Specialist Geoff Bullock said.

Bullock has two adopted children himself. And his experience told him something had to be done to make it easier for families financially.

"We said 'Let's do a line of credit, kind of like a home-equity line of credit where you only take what you need, and only pay interest on what you need,'" Bullock said.

Whether it is the cost or another reason, fewer people in Minnesota are choosing adoption. Below are the latest statistics available from the National Council For Adoption.

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This has been a busy year for Amy and Derrick Andrist. Unable to have children biologically, they adopted Emmett in March.

Within four months of bringing him home, they got another call, this one about little Edison.

"Our plan was to adopt one baby, and it was quite the journey, and plans change and we were blessed to adopt two baby boys," Amy said.

The cost of adopting their now-8-month-old boys surpassed $100,000—creating a huge financial concern.

"You go back to your bills and look at what can we cut, what do we need to cut, we'll do whatever it takes... we'll do anything for a child," Derrick said.

That's when their bank told them about Firefly Credit Union's adoption loan.

"You have a certain amount that you qualify for, and then the funds are available as you need them," Amy said.

The newly-created Andrist family knows they have much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.

"Every day you can have a good or a bad day, but when you come home to those two boys and a beautiful wife, it's just the best ever," Derrick said.

For more on resources available to those adopting children, visit the mnadopt page from the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

+ Original article

CETNET Interviews: DDJ Myers Peter Myers and MAX CU’s Lynette Cupps Recollect the NTCUE Training Process

CU Broadcast

DDJ Myers Peter Myers and Next Top Credit Union Exec winner/MAX Credit Union VP Organizational Development Lynette Cupps joined us in the Studio Lounge to share a behind-the-scenes look at how the NTCUE contestants train for their competition each year. Lynette provides a some examples of how she prepared and executed her videos and presentations, as well as Peter adding how he and his DDJ Myers team guided each of them as finalists. Pretty cool stuff here, setting the stage for these folks to excel in their careers.

Check it out and let us know your thoughts.

+ Original article

CETNET Interviews: Unitus Community’s Blaine Bartholomew Details His NTCUE Project ‘Member Rewards Account Program’

CU Broadcast

Blaine Bartholomew, AVP of Member Experience at Unitus Community Credit Union and Next Top Credit Union Exec finalist discusses details of his his Member Rewards Account Program that focuses on the ownership/membership difference, promoting technology and saving, and attracting Millennials. Check it out and let us know your thoughts.

+ Original article

CETNET Interviews: Fort Knox’s Clark Duncan ‘Flips the Switch’ for His NTCUE Competition Project

CU Broadcast

Fort Knox Federal Credit Branch Manager Union Clark Duncan, joined us in the Studio Lounge following his conference presentation to further outline his "Flip the Switch" program for future leaders in innovation. Check it out and let us know your thoughts.

+ Original article

CETNET Interviews: MAX CU’s Lynette Cupps Shares NTCUE Project Supporting Communities Beyond Money

CU Broadcast

Lynette Cupps, VP Organizational Development at MAX Credit Union, visited the Studio Lounge following her Next Top Credit Union Exec contest presentation to further describe her project that supports small businesses and community organizations beyond the money. Check it out and let us know your thoughts.

+ Original article

CETNET Interviews: Libro’s Emily Strybosch Shares Her NTCUE Project ‘Plan With Purpose’ App

CU Broadcast

Emily Strybosch, Brand Specialist at Libro Credit Union, stopped by the Studio Lounge following her Next Top Credit Union Exec contest presentation to further explain her "Plan with Purpose" app, displaying how we can help members plan for their future and keep them on track to achieve their personal prosperity. Check it out and let us know your thoughts.

+ Original article

CETNET Interviews: Central Minnesota’s Jodi Maus Describes Her NTCUE Online Management Course Project

CU Broadcast

Jodi Maus, Talent Development Specialist at Central Minnesota Credit Union, stopped by the Studio Lounge following her Next Top Credit Union Exec presentation to further outline her contest project: online Management Courses for executives. Check it out and let us know your thoughts.

+ Original article

CETNET Interviews: CUES 2018 NTCUE Winner is… MAX Credit Union’s Lynette Cupps

CU Broadcast

Another stellar group for CUES 2018 Next Top Credit Union Exec competition. Five finalists delivered five fine presentations in a room full of credit union CEOs ... but only one could win. And that winner is ... MAX Credit Union's VP Organizational Development Lynette Cupps. Congratulations, Lynette!

We invited Lynette to the Studio Lounge, along with NTCUE creator and Currency Marketing President and Creative Director Tim McAlpine, to get their reactions on the contest's results -- as well as what this win means for Lynette's project, the $20,000 prize, and advice for future NTCUE competitors.

Check it out and let us know your thoughts.

+ Original article

CETNET Interviews: 2018 Next Top Credit Union Exec Presentations Feature Five Fabulous Ideas for CUs

CU Broadcast

CUES 2018 Next Top Credit Union Exec finalists took the stage to share their innovative ideas that will benefit the credit union industry in more ways than one for sure. Former winner (2015) and now CUES Vice President of Membership Jimese Harkley kicked off the competition, sharing how the contest changed her professional life helping her get to where she is today.

Next Top Credit Union Exec Creator and Currency Marketing President & Creative Director Tim McAlpine then commenced with the finalists introductions for the audience and judges to listen to their polished presentations -- and hopefully vote for the one of them as the 2018 champion.

First up was Fort Knox Federal Credit Branch Manager Union Clark Duncan, outlining his "Flip the Switch" program for future leaders in innovation.

Second was Emily Strybosch, Brand Specialist at Libro Credit Union, explaining her "Plan with Purpose" app, displaying how we can help members plan for their future and keep them on track to achieve their personal prosperity.

Third was Jodi Maus, Talent Development Specialist at Central Minnesota Credit Union, outlining her online Management Courses for executives. Jodi plans to develop and implement an eight session “Management” courses customized to the needs of current and future leaders of the credit union. 

Fourth was Lynette Cupps, VP Organizational Development at MAX Credit Union, describing her project that supports small businesses and community organizations beyond the money. Lynette's project provides cost effective professional development to smaller credit unions, local small businesses and non-profit organizations to support the credit union movement, community advocacy, and employment stability and economic growth. 

Our fifth and final finalist was Blaine Bartholomew, AVP of Member Experience at Unitus Community Credit Union, sharing his Member Rewards Account Program that focuses on the ownership/membership difference, promoting technology and saving, and attracting Millennials.

Check it out and let us know your thoughts -- and stay tuned for the winner announced on Wednesday, November 7.

+ Original article

NTCUE Interviews: Unitus Community's Blaine Bartholomew Outlines His 'Member Rewards Account Program'

CU Broadcast

It's that time of year again when we feature some pretty amazing folks: the CUES Next Top Credit Union Exec finalists. (Stay tuned for more finalist features over the next few days.)

First up is Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Branch Manager Clark Duncan sharing his "FLIP the Switch" project. Clark also discussed why he entered this year's NTCUE contest, as well as career goals, how he sees the competition benefiting the industry, what he's learned throughout the contest's process, and much more.

Check it out and let us know your thoughts. Another exceptional group of NTCUE finalists, so lend them your ear and give them some support. More than likely, they are our industry's future leaders.

Created by Currency Marketing
Supported by DDJ Myers

+ Original article

NTCUE Interviews: Libro’s Emily Strybosch Shares Her Contest Project — ‘Plan with Purpose’

CU Broadcast

Our next Next Top Credit Union Executive finalist is Emily Strybosch, Brand Specialist at Libro Credit Union in London, Ontario, Canada. Emily's project consists of how might we help credit union members ("owners" in Canada) plan for their future and keep them on track to achieve their personal prosperity.

Fascinating topic for sure. So take a few minutes and check it out and let us know your thoughts.

Created by Currency Marketing
Supported by DDJ Myers

+ Original article

NTCUE Interviews: Central Minnesota’s Jodi Maus Shares Management Course Series for CU Execs

CU Broadcast

In our continuing coverage of CUES Next Top Credit Union Exec finalists, we talk with Jodi Maus, Talent Development Specialist at Central Minnesota Credit Union. Jodi joined us to discuss her competition's project Management Courses for credit union employees looking to enhance their careers.

Jodie's 8-session “Management” courses are customized to meet the needs of current and future leaders of credit unions nationwide. Check it out and let us know your thoughts.

Created by Currency Marketing
Supported by DDJ Myers

+ Original article

NTCUE Interviews: MAX Credit Union’s Lynette Cupps Shares Her Unique Small Business Support Project

CU Broadcast

In our continuing series of featuring CUES Next Top Credit Union Exec finalists, we chat with Lynette Cupps, VP Organizational Development at MAX Credit Union. Lynette's project involves supporting small businesses and community organizations beyond the money -- certainly a different twist here.

Lynette's plan is to provide cost effective professional development to smaller credit unions, local small businesses and non-profit organizations to support the credit union movement, community advocacy, and employment stability and economic growth.

Check it out and let us know your thoughts.

Created by Currency Marketing
Supported by DDJ Myers

+ Original article

NTCUE Interviews: Fort Knox FCU’s Clark Duncan Shares His ‘FLIP the Switch’ Project

CU Broadcast

It's that time of year again when we feature some pretty amazing folks: the CUES Next Top Credit Union Exec finalists. (Stay tuned for more finalist features over the next few days.)

First up is Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Branch Manager Clark Duncan sharing his "FLIP the Switch" project. Clark also discussed why he entered this year's NTCUE contest, as well as career goals, how he sees the competition benefiting the industry, what he's learned throughout the contest's process, and much more.

Check it out and let us know your thoughts. Another exceptional group of NTCUE finalists, so lend them your ear and give them some support. More than likely, they are our industry's future leaders.

Created by Currency Marketing
Supported by DDJ Myers

+ Original article

Affording Adoption

Minnesota Parent | By Abbie Burgess

Two Minnesota families are helping others find funding for their forever families.

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An Adoption LOC

Geoff and Nicole Bullock of Brooklyn Park can’t imagine life without their daughters, 7-year-old Alaya, who brings her diary wherever she goes, and 5-year-old Annika who wants to be outside in the backyard 24/7.

“You don’t know how many times I’ve watched Frozen,” their dad said. “I know it word for word.”

Both girls joined the family as infants through domestic adoptions through Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota.

When unexpected costs arose with their second adoption (ultimately totaling more than $35,000), the Bullocks refused to give up.

Geoff Bullock said: “We literally sold our house to adopt Baby No. 2. We were lucky we had the equity in it.”

Knowing others won’t necessarily have that option, Bullock, a financial educator at Firefly Credit Union, came up with the idea of a special line of credit for adoptive families, allowing them to borrow money as expenses arise.

Instead of paying interest on an entire sum as is customary with a traditional loan, the adoption line of credit requires a payment only on the amount borrowed, making it more affordable.

“You can take out what you need — for example, for a home study,” Bullock said of the long and involved evaluations families go through to receive adoptive placements.

On Jan. 2, Firefly Credit Union’s nine Twin Cities locations launched the new line of credit.

The idea won an industry competition and grew in momentum: Now credit unions around the country are contacting Firefly to pursue the concept.

“People are priced out of adoption,” said Bullock, who hopes to change that fact.

Keep in mind that a tax professional can help to determine eligibility for state and federal adoption credits for all types of adoptions. Also, many workplaces offer adoption benefits, including financial assistance for adoptions

and/or parental leave.

+ Original article

How Firefly Credit Union Helps Foster Families Afford Agency Expenses with Low-Interest Adoption Loans

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CardRates.com | By Lauren Keys

In a Nutshell: Minnesota-based Firefly Credit Union aims to bring families together by providing a fixed line of credit that can be used to fund up to 90% of adoption expenses. Working with two US agencies, Firefly launched its adoption loan program in early 2018 to assist growing families in managing the cost of taking a child into their homes. Today, the credit union continues to expand its network of adoption agencies as it helps families welcome kids into their forever homes.

Deciding to grow your family through adoption is one of the biggest and most impactful choices you can make — not to mention one of the most expensive.

On average, the cost of raising a child is upward of $200,000, and adopting a child in the United States can set parents back between $35,000 and $50,000. The steep cost of adoption can be a barrier that prevents parents from even setting foot in an agency.

Firefly Credit Union’s Geoff Bullock is an adoptive parent who knows the process is challenging.

Firefly Credit Union aims to make adoption more accessible to families by easing the financial burden the process entails with its new, low-interest adoption loan program, launched in February of 2018.

Firefly Credit Union’s Geoff Bullock is an adoptive parent who knows the process is challenging.

Firefly Credit Union’s Geoff Bullock is an adoptive parent who knows the process is challenging.

“Here in the United States alone, over 20,000 kids age out of foster care every year without finding a forever family and over 26 million kids worldwide are double-orphaned and in need of a home,” said Firefly Community Engagement and Education Specialist, Geoff Bullock. “We said, ‘Wow. It’s just unbelievable that all these kids will never know what it’s like to be part of a family. It’s heartbreaking.'”

As an adoptive parent himself, Bullock has firsthand experience with the intimidating price tag and complexity attached to the adoption process.

“I’ve dealt with it, and I know other people at Firefly who have as well,” Bullock said. “We felt that this was a need we could fill, and we had the resources and the opportunity to do it. We’re big believers in family.”

A Fixed Line of Credit Eases the Financial Burden on Parents

Bullock noted that, while other institutions throughout the US offer adoption loans, Firefly is unique in offering its borrowers an unsecured fixed-rate line of credit with flexible repayment terms.

“There are other institutions nationwide that have versions of adoption loans, but they’re all installment loans — and oftentimes they require collateral. One of the things we found is that not everyone has the collateral they might need to cover a forty-something-thousand dollar loan,” Bullock said.

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Amounts for Firefly Credit Union’s adoption loans start at just $5,000 and can reach a maximum of $40,000. Upon approval, borrowers have 24 months to access funds, and begin repaying the loan after funds are first used.

“With installment loans, if you take out a $40,000 loan, you have to pay interest on $40,000 the first month you’re paying the loan back. Instead of doing an installment loan, we have a line of credit. You do two years to lock it in, and then you pay 1.5% of the balance back,” he added.

The credit union estimates that families who borrow the maximum $40,000 amount and pay back the minimum balance can expect to repay their loan in full within 89 months.

Firefly Expands Services After Successful Rollouts in 2018

When Firefly Credit Union launched its adoption loan program in February, it had partnered exclusively with two adoption agencies, the Children’s Home Society and Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota. Firefly recently extended its loan eligibility to include families whose adoption applications are approved by other agencies.

“We still verify and approve the individual adoption agency to make sure they’re a trustworthy place, but it’s expanded to be not just the Children’s Home and Lutheran Social Services anymore, which is a very exciting development,” Bullock said.

The complexity of the adoption process, especially in the case of international adoptions, often means that multiple agencies will be involved in a single adoption. This is because each agency is offered only a few “adoption slots” from each country, which sometimes necessitates collaboration across multiple agencies to bring a child to his or her new home.

“For instance, there was an adoption agency in Portland that was working with Lutheran Social Services in Minnesota to help a family in Wisconsin through another agency in St. Louis — and they were adopting a kid from Thailand,” Bullock said. “It’s so unbelievably complicated. Just working with one or two agencies wasn’t going to cut it; we had to expand beyond that.”

Investing in the Future: Approved Applicants Receive a Gift for Their Child’s First Savings

Firefly Credit Union’s adoption loan program exists to provide a brighter future for the children who need forever homes with loving families. From the moment kids arrive home to their adoptive parents, Firefly embraces them into the credit union culture by making a $500 deposit to an FFCU savings account in the child’s name.

“We welcome them to membership here, and we start them off with savings,” Bullock said. “We don’t just want to help them join the family, but we want them to thrive financially throughout their life, so it’s an initial deposit for them to get started.”

At its heart, Bullock said Firefly Credit Union’s adoption loan is focused on people rather than profit.

“When people ask, ‘How did you make the interest rate that low?’ and ‘Why are you giving a gift at the end?’ the answer to a lot of it is because we care about the people. It’s really a people-focused product,” he said.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

+ Original article

Financing For Adoptive Families

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CreditUnions.com | By Sharon Simpson

Firefly Credit Union’s Adoption Loan provides a much-needed, low-cost financing option to cover up to 90% of the costs associated with adoption, which can range from $5,000 to $45,000.

Minnesota's Star Tribune ran a piece in early 2018 about Geoff Bullock's adoption experience and the adoption loan from Firefly Credit Union that followed.  Read it here .

Minnesota's Star Tribune ran a piece in early 2018 about Geoff Bullock's adoption experience and the adoption loan from Firefly Credit Union that followed. Read it here.

The Need

When Firefly Credit Union ($1.3B, Burnsville, MN) launched its Adoption Loan program in February 2018, the credit union didn’t expect the niche product to have such a big impact or attract such local press coverage.

But the credit union’s own community engagement and education specialist, Geoff Bullock, knew from firsthand experience what a powerful loan this could be.

“I have two adopted daughters,” Bullock says. “When we found out the legal fees to adopt our youngest were going to be $35,000, it was a ‘what do we do?’ moment.”

Bullock’s family was able to scrape together the money, but he recognizes the challenge other prospective adoptive families face.

The Solution

Firefly Credit Union looked at the need for adoption financing from the borrower’s experience — not knowing exactly how much the fees and other expenses would total — and created an affordable, lockable line of credit.

“The product is similar to a HELOC,” Bullock says. “The draw period is two years. If a borrower takes out the maximum $40,000 and makes minimum payments, it will take eight years to repay.”

The loan is an unsecured line of credit, which offers lower rates than many signature or personal loan options. And Firefly deposits a welcome gift of $500 in the new child’s savings account.

The Results

Despite the multiple agencies involved and long waiting period that are common in the complex adoption process, the credit union has had seven families book loans so far. Six are for domestic adoptions, and one is for an international adoption.

“A few of the loans have come from members but most have come from non-members who join because of the loan,” Bullock says. “We have other families in the process but haven’t booked the loan yet.”

The credit union is now working closely with adoption agencies and has begun expanding its network. For their part, the borrowers are promoting Firefly within their own networks.

What makes the loan a standout is the fact there aren’t many true adoption financing options available. Firefly’s program is a stand-alone adoption loan with a low rate and no collateral.

“Some adoption loans are just personal loans and come with the higher interest rate,” Bullock says. “Or they’re HELOCs marketed as an option, but obviously that requires using your home as collateral.”

Parting Advice

“It’s easier than it looks,” Bullock says.

The credit union leader admits creating the product was daunting at first, but the process went more smoothly than expected. And the loan has made a significant impact.

“It is a lifelong connection you’re building with these members,” Bullock says. “They are highly motivated knowing they have an advocate in us.”

+ Original article

Firefly CU Launches New Adoption Loan

CUtoday.info

BURNSVILLE, Minn.–Firefly Credit Union has introduced a new Adoption Loan it said provides the opportunity to further support families in the communities it serves.

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“The cost to adopt can be an intimidating factor, one that may even prevent many families from starting the process,” the credit union said. “Firefly’s Adoption Loan is an unsecured, fixed rate line of credit that can be used to fund up to 90% of adoption expenses. This loan helps fill the gap between willing adoptive parents and the finances they need to grow their family.”

Once a family is approved through an accredited adoption agency, they can take advantage of Firefly’s new loan. As a welcome gift to help families celebrate and get settled in with their new addition, Firefly said it is offering to deposit up to $500 in the member’s account.

“As an adoptive parent myself, I know firsthand the vast financial hurdles that stand between parents and children,” said Geoff Bullock, Firefly’s community engagement and education specialist. “It is a pleasure to be part of an organization that extends their support to all families, for all purposes.

Info on the program can be found at fireflycu.org/adoption.

+ Original article

The Top 10 Applicants For CUES’ Next Top CU Exec Advance

CUtoday.info

Public voting has ended and CUES Next Top Credit Union Exec (NTCUE) has announced its Top 10 applicants for 2018.

The NTCUE competition–held in partnership with DDJ Myers and powered by Currency–searches for emerging leaders age 35 and under from within the credit union industry.

“We were pleased to have had 163 worthy young credit union leaders nominated for this, our ninth year of competition. Of those nominated, twenty-three applied by submitting an entry video,” said John Pembroke, CUES’ president/CEO. “After putting the twenty-three applicants to a public vote, we were delighted to see the votes flood in; we had well over 3,200 this year.”

The top five vote-getters automatically advanced to the Top 10 phase, and five additional applicants were chosen by a special judging panel of former NTCUE finalists to round out the Top 10, CUES said.

Named to the Top 10 in the CUES Next Top Credit Union Exec competition are:

  • Lorna Adams, 34, Talent Management Specialist, Anheuser-Busch Employees’ Credit Union, St. Louis, Missouri, United States

  • Blaine Bartholomew, 35, AVP of Member Experience, Unitus Community Credit Union, Portland, Oregon, United States

  • Lynette Cupps, 35, VP Organizational Development, MAX Credit Union, Montgomery, Alabama, United States

  • Clark Duncan, 26, Branch Manager, Fort Knox Federal Credit Union, Radcliff, Kentucky, United States

  • Aubrey Gallagher, 31, Compliance Assistant, Heartland Credit Union, Hutchinson, Kansas, United States

  • Brittany Martin, 24, Business Development Specialist, Mill City Credit Union, Minnetonka, Minnesota, United States

  • Jodi Maus, 33, Talent Development Specialist, Central Minnesota Credit Union, Melrose, Minnesota, United States

  • Mackenzie Schultz, 25, Loan Processor, Blackhawk Community Credit Union, Janesville, Wisconsin, United States

  • Symantha Sermino, 34, Commercial Loan Processor, Northwest Community Credit Union, Eugene, Oregon, United States

  • Emily Strybosch, 31, Brand Specialist, Libro Credit Union, London, Ontario, Canada

CUES said the Top 10 will now submit a blog post update about their project to NextTopCreditUnionExec.com. To provide additional value to the competition experience, they’ll each receive an executive coaching session from DDJ Myers. A judging panel of two CUES members and Deedee Myers of DDJ Myers will then score the Top 10’s applications and blog posts, narrowing the competition to the Final Five, who will move on to the finals.

The five Finalists will receive additional coaching, airfare, accommodations and registration to CUES’ CEO/Executive Team Network, Nov. 5-7 in Nashville, where they will give their final presentations. The winner will receive further coaching, airfare, accommodations and registration for two CUES’ CEO Institutes, a total prize package valued at $20,000.

+ Original article