Foundation Executive Leadership Program






Apply Now for 2018! (2018 Deadline extended to is Friday, December 15, 2017)

Meet the Executive Leadership Scholars

2017 Cohort
  Bree Dronen, Laramie Plains Community Federal Credit Union, Laramie WY Bree is a Member Service Manager whose work at Washington State University earned her a BS with honors. A Big Sister, Coach, U of W Recreation Advisory Board Member, and university teaching assistant.
Jennifer Hernandez, Canyon State Credit Union, Phoenix AZ Jennifer has credit union experience starting as a teller moving to an FSR, loan officer and, an underwriting supervisor and mortgage lending.  Jennifer has volunteered in Special Olympics, DECA and Credit Unions for Kids
  Nina Myers, Fitzsimons Federal Credit Union, Aurora CO In her credit union Nina, has assembled work teams, planned budgets, grew loans, built cultures, and centralized loan underwriting.  She volunteers as an AmeriCorps leadership team, Denver Botanic Gardens, Xcel Energy Park Clean up and more,
2016 Cohort
  Peter Bullard, Credit Union of the Rockies, Golden CO As the Vice President of Member Experience, Peter manages the Lending and Collections, Operations, IT/Systems and Marketing departments of Credit Union of the Rockies. His volunteer work includes teaching young students about personal finance, and as a Summit County Outreach volunteer he teaches core values of courage, discipline, and wisdom.  Peter is a Purdue University Graduate.
  Leah Friedenberg, Pima Federal Credit Union, Tucson AZ Leah’s 16 years in credit unions has prepared her for her leadership journey.  She has worked as a teller, a security officer, and the Director of Payment Services.  Leah serves in a leadership role engaged in community volunteer work including financial literacy and many other fundraising initiatives.
2015 Cohort
  Matt Ballou, WyHy Federal Credit Union, Cheyenne WY Matt has worked in credit unions for the past 4 years as a supervisor. He is a licensed property and casualty insurance professional and volunteers for the Kiwains as its board President.
  Gena Carroll, Meridian Trust Federal Credit Union, Cheyenne WY A CUNA Management School graduate and certified as a CUNA Branch Operations Professional, Gena has worked in many areas of credit union operations including IRAs, ACH, and collateral protection insurance.  Gena has also worked as a branch manager and as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, the local Chamber and much more.
  Victoria Gomez, Landings Credit Union, Tempe AZ Victoria supervised a call center and now works in indirect lending.  She has worked in many areas of the credit union including member services, lending, and as a teller.
  Brian Kayton, Ent Credit Union, Colorado Springs, CO Brian has served on the board of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Credit Unions and is now its President.  His work with LoDo District Community Development Committee and Habitat for Humanity is just the start of his volunteer work.  Brian is an Area Manager for Ent Credit Union where he leads 6 branches.
  Adele Smith, Premier Members Credit Union, Boulder CO Adele chaired the Colorado Leadership Development Committee of the Denver Area Chapter and now serves on the board. Adele Received the Emerging Leader of the Year from the Foundation. She has served Premier Members as a loan officer, a branch manager, and Assistant Vice President.  Her volunteer work in JA, Food Bank of the Rockies, and Cares Colorado Shares underscores her commitment to the community.
  Justin Wolfe, Canyon State Credit Union, Phoenix, AZ Justin oversaw 14 branches as a service manager.  His leadership journey led him to senior branch manager and then Vice President of Retail Banking. Justin was the 2016 Foundation Emerging Leader award recipient.  He also served on the steering committee of the AYIN, on the Junior Achievement Executive Advisory Council, and received many top sales and service awards.
2014 Cohort
  Choua Ly, Partner Colorado Credit Union, Arvada CO Choua received the credit union’s top performer award and worked within the Humoug American community as a volunteer, and is an indirect lending professional at Partner Colorado Credit Union.
 Not Pictured Lisett Olsen, SunWest Federal Credit Union, Phoenix AZ Lisett was named employee of the month and employee of the quarter at Alhambra Credit Union and now works at SunWest Federal Credit Union.  She volunteers at Alhambra School District and is a member of the AYIN Steering Committee.  Lisett is responsible for the teller line at the credit union and has 14 years of front line experience 
  Angel Phillips, Reliant Federal Credit Union, Casper WY Angel is an Association HOPE award recipient. She volunteers for meals on wheels, in Financial Literacy, and as a member of the credit union’s Champion Program. Angel has worked in marketing and member engagement at Reliant Federal Credit Union.
2013 Cohort
  Maggie Camacho, Colorado Credit Union, Littleton CO Maggie served on the Denver Area Chapter Board as its President.  She has worked in operations, IT and senior management.
  Jeremy Gibson, Trona Valley Federal Credit Union, Green River WY Currently the CEO, Jeremy started the ELP as a Western CUNA Management graduate and a Foundation Emerging Leader winner.  He started his work in credit unions as an information and technology professional and worked in many back-office capacities.
  Adrianne Rexius, Landings Credit Union, Tempe AZ Adrianne has served as an Arizona Saves Board member, and is a dedicated advocate for CU4Kids.  She started her work in credit unions as an administrative assistant and is now the Chief Human Resource Officer.


It’s in Your Blood

Maybe it was your first job after graduation or a new opportunity you took after the last one didn’t work out, but ever since that first job in credit unions, it’s in your blood.  You love working with members, learning the ins and outs of your credit union, and getting involved in chapter events.  You know this is where you want to spend your career and now, you’re looking to step up your game.



Leaders Like You

Business teamThe Mountain West Credit Union Foundation’s Executive Leadership Program was created for you – the future leaders of the Credit Union Movement.  Unlike many of the Foundation’s professional development opportunities, this program is more than a scholarship, it’s a complete five-year curriculum built to develop leaders specifically for the credit union industry.  If you are selected for the Foundation Executive Leadership Program, you will be funded for immersive instruction in organizational leadership, credit union philosophy, and credit union operations with additional mentoring and coaching from the current credit union industry’s top leaders.


The Program

The Foundation Executive Leadership Program provides over $20,000 of full funding for five years of credit union leadership development.  The program’s curriculum is divided into four areas or Quadrants:

  • Quadrant 1:  Mountain West Credit Union Leadership Institute
    The Credit Union Leadership Institute is an in-depth series of workshops designed for credit union leaders seeking greater roles and responsibilities.  It is performance based instruction that teaches the art of leadership with well-focused, guided practices that encourage interactive participation and discussions.  You will develop skills and sharpen your abilities to guide employees in superior service, anticipate member needs, foster internal relationships, enhance the credit union culture, and strengthen your credit union’s presence to become a premier financial institution.
  • Quadrant 2:  Credit Union Development Education (DE) Training
    The Credit Union Development Education (DE) program promotes credit unions’ social responsibility and development through interactive adult education and professional networking.  By linking credit unions’ past and present, the DE program brings renewed relevance to credit unions’ seven cooperative principles and the philosophy of “People Helping People” providing you with critical lessons in cooperative principles and credit union philosophy while incorporating challenges credit unions face today.  During the week-long program, you will be involved in group exercises, field trips and issue discussions with speakers from around the credit union system.
  • Quadrant 3:  Western CUNA Management School
    This highly concentrated academic training occurs over three yearly two-week terms.  It is specially designed for future leaders who have set credit union management as their career goal and understand the need to keep abreast of developments in our industry.  The curriculum covers Strategic Planning, Operations, Finance, Marketing, Lending, Human Resources, Technology, Business Development, Economics, Business Law, Communications, Leadership, and much more.
  • Quadrant 4:  Mentoring and Coaching
    It’s a pretty heavy course load and you know you will make it – but just to help you along the way, you will be assigned a professional coach and a mentor to guide you down this path.  Your coach with make sure you are on track, help you sharpen your skills, and, when you need it, give you that pep talk to keep you off the bench.  Once your classroom training is complete, you will be paired with a current credit union leader to serve as a mentor and help apply your knowledge to real-world situations.  Your mentor will guide you through identifying and resolving current issues that require action at the executive level, giving you practical, executive management experience to move your career forward.


Ready to Start?

felp_chalk_climberApplying to the Foundation Executive Leadership Program is easy:

  1. Fill out the 2018 program application by: December 15, 2017
  2. Get a letter of recommendation from your credit union’s chief executive officer
  3. Submit your application and letter of recommendation by the deadline posted at the top of this page to:

Mountain West Credit Union Foundation
Attn: Dr. Dan Santangelo
1009 Grant St.
Denver, CO 80203

Finalists for the Foundation Executive Leadership Program will be invited to participate in a final assessment and interview process.  A total of three recipients will be selected – one from each of the three Mountain West states (AZ, CO, and WY).



For any questions related to the Foundation Executive Leadership Program contact:

Dr. Dan Santangelo, Executive Director