Congratulations to the 2017 Executive Leadership Scholars

 The Executive Leadership program is a five-year journey during which scholars are taught leadership skills, operational principles, and credit union philosophy while being mentored an experienced executive coach. Applicants are selected using a comprehensive process including application submission, letters of recommendation, leadership skills assessments, and panel interviews. Meet this year’s scholars [READ MORE]

Brayman-Beach Scholarship Applications Being Accepted

The Mountain West Credit Union Foundation is seeking applicants for the 2017 Brayman-Beach Scholarship. One $5,000 scholarship will be awarded to a student who is a member of a Colorado-based credit union seeking a business degree from a four-year accredited institution.

“There is no better way to convey the ‘people helping people’ philosophy and the generous nature of our credit union community than by helping your young members achieve their dream of higher education,” said Dr. Dan Santangelo, Executive Director of the Mountain West Credit Union Foundation.

The deadline for applications is Friday, March 31, 2017 at 1:00pm.

Named in honor of two visionaries of the credit union movement whose contributions have made a lasting mark, this unique scholarship opportunity celebrates their commitment by investing in our youth and in turn, the future of the credit union movement.

More information can be found here, or you can go directly to the application below.

Download the 2017 Application Now

Foundation Releases Full Leadership Study Results

The Mountain West Credit Union Foundation (MWCUF), in collaboration with the Center for Credit Union Leadership, has released the results of its most recent survey. Using strict criteria, data was collected from 20 of the top performing credit union CEOs in the Mountain West region.

Important findings of the study identified nine key leadership attributes and nine leadership traits. “These are tangible experiences, attitudes, behaviors and traits that current and future credit union leaders can emulate and build into their leadership personalities to help foster success,” Dr. Dan Santangelo, Executive Director of the Mountain West Credit Union Foundation, said. “We are constantly looking for ways to help innovate our training in order to provide the best possible outcomes for current and future credit union leaders.”

The nine key leadership attributes presented include: common behaviors; common experiences; top skills; top actions; top personality traits; influencers on beliefs, values and assumptions; top self-development skills; top attributes taught to emerging leaders; and leadership skills sought by boards. The nine key leadership traits are: high level of integrity; keen relationship builder; insightful skills builder; engaged employee developer; committed to goal setting and accomplishment; community-service minded; seeks out other leaders; steadfast creators of a well-communicated vision; and insists on the right skills/people in the right places.

The full study results can be found here and an e-book that outlines practical ways to use the research results is available here. Finally, findings gained from the study will filter into training aspects of the MWCUF’s Center for Credit Union Leadership, which trains upcoming credit union leaders in areas including: exemplifying organizational values, problem solving, empowering others, workplace prioritization, coaching, time management and setting and measuring goals. This comprehensive leadership training program has trained more than 125 new leaders from 44 credit unions in Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming.


2017 Brayman Beach Scholarship

In 2017 the Brayman-Beach Scholarship in the amount of $5,000 will once again be awarded to an undergraduate Colorado credit union member.

The Brayman-Beach College Scholarships is named in honor of two of Colorado’s credit union movement leaders (Susan J. Brayman and Carroll D. Beach).  In order to qualify for the scholarship applicants must:

  • be a U.S. citizen at least 16 years of age
  • member of a Colorado credit union
  • beginning freshmen, sophomore, junior, or senior year at a four-year accredited institution of higher learning conferring bachelor degrees and located in the U.S.
  • all scholarship funds must be used by January 31 of the following year awarded or funds will be forfeited
  • submit a complete application with required documents
  • application must be post-marked, emailed, or faxed by the deadline posted below

The deadline application is March 31, 2017 by 1:00 pm.

Download the 2017 Application Now

Thank you for your generosity

As 2016 comes to a close and as the new year dawns, it’s time to thank all of our 2016 fair share donors for your generous support over the past year. The Fair Share program is our primary fundraising opportunity and one of the key resources use to fulfill our mission. Now in 2017, the fair share donation request will be coming your way again soon.  Look for this important information in your 2017 dues packet.  click here to learn more

Where will the Next Generation of Credit Union CEOs Come From?

The Executive Leadership Program is committed to developing the next generation of credit union CEOs. Leadership development and succession planning have long been a challenge for credit unions across the country. While there are industry leadership courses available, a well-articulated career development path for credit union leadership complete with developing leader skills, operational training, and learning “the credit union way” just didn’t exist – until now.  The Mountain West Credit Union Foundation’s Executive Leadership Program now in its 5th year of operation was created to identify and develop the next generation of credit union CEOs. It’s a complete five-year curriculum built to develop leaders specifically for the credit union industry.
This year the Foundation will select three more scholars to begin the journey. The nomination process includes the submission of a nomination form, a letter of recommendation, a set of assessments, and interviews for finalists.  Once selected, three more scholars will join the ranks of this high powered training group and will receive more than $20,000 of funding over the next five-year period as they prepare themselves to become a senior level credit union leader.  The deadline for nomination has been extended to Friday, December 9, 2016.
Learn more about this exclusive program and how you can nominate a candidate in your credit union, the next generation starts now!


Foundation Board of Directors holds annual planning session

The board of Directors of the Mountain West Credit Union Foundation, led by Chairmen Todd Pearson gathered this week to conduct their annual planning session. This hardworking board remains focused on discovering and developing the next generation of credit union leaders!

Board Planning

Left to right: Dr. Dan Santangelo, Carla Hedrick, Todd Person, (Facilitator) Brandi Stankovic, Jan Prancan, Bob Hoel, Dennis Paul, Judy Auvil, Rainy Thone, Susan Frank, Steve Ferrero, Tyler Valentine, John Uchida, and Brain Rohrbacher

Brayman Beach Scholar Spotted at Denver Area Chapter Golf Event

The Denver Area Chapter held its annual golf event supporting the Foundation on August 3rd and the Inverness Golf Corse, and more than 120 golfers played the 18-hole course that ended with the annual lunch and golf awards.  Some of the stars in attendance included Carroll Beach for whom the Brayman Beach Scholarship is named and this year’s scholar Taylor Finley-Ponds. Taylor is a Bellco member that is headed to the University of Southern California this fall to study business. Taylor has 8 brothers and sisters, who in addition to being a Questbridge College Match Finalist and Editor-in-Chief of her school’s yearbook, she served as Student Body Co-President and President of the school’s Black Student Alliance. It was indeed an honor to spend time with both Carroll and Taylor.


Carrol and Taylor

Elevations Credit Union Contributes $30,000 to Brayman-Beach Scholarship

BOULDER, Colo.—August 1, 2016— Elevations Credit Union is proudly contributing a total of $30,000 over three years to help create an endowed fund for Mountain West Credit Union Foundation’s Brayman-Beach Scholarship—a $5,000 scholarship awarded annually to a Colorado credit union member pursuing an undergraduate business degree.

The scholarship honors two great leaders of the credit union movement: Susan J. Brayman and Caroll D. Beach. Beach has served on Elevations Credit Union’s Board of Directors since 2010.

“We are proud to support the Mountain West Credit Union Foundation,” said Dennis Paul, VP of Business and Community Development at Elevations and Mountain West Credit Union Foundation member. “The work of these two leaders has been instrumental in the success of the credit union movement in Colorado.”

The Mountain West Credit Union Foundation’s mission is to promote leadership development and the long-term success of credit unions in their communities. This 501(c)3 charitable organization provides professional development scholarships, academic scholarships, affordable financial services grants, credit union development grants and public financial education grants. To learn more, visit


About Elevations Credit Union

Elevations Credit Union is a member-owned not-for-profit financial institution serving Colorado’s Front Range. Elevations provides a broad portfolio of financial products and services including checking and savings accounts, mortgage loans, credit cards, auto loans, home equity lines of credit, student loans, business loans and financial planning. Founded in 1953 as the U of C Federal Credit Union in Boulder, Elevations has grown from 12 members and less than $100 in assets to an institution with more than 115,000 members that manages over $1.6 billion in assets and is the No. 1 credit union mortgage lender in Colorado. In 2014, Elevations earned the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, and in 2015, Elevations was named one of the Best Companies to Work for in ColoradoTM in the large category. Readers of local newspapers name Elevations “Best Bank/Financial Institution,” “Best Mortgage Lender” and “Best Customer Service” year after year. To learn more, visit

Press Contact

Meredith Powlison
Elevations Credit Union
(303) 443-4672, ext. 1169

Meet the new Gary Plank and Development Educator Scholars

Each year the Foundation awards a $5,000 scholarship to three young credit union professionals under 35 an opportunity to attend the World Council of Credit Unions meeting. This meeting to be held in July in Belfast Ireland delivers international training and networking that will benefit our scholars throughout their careers in credit unions.  This year the Foundation board developed a new scholarship aimed to provide opportunities to members of the Development Educator community.  This new scholarship will help this very deserving community become engaged with credit unions on a global scale.  Congratulations to all our very deserving scholars.

Gary Plank Scholars

Mia Martell Pyramid

Mia Martell is trainer at Pyramid Federal Credit Union in Tucson Arizona. In her role she creates hands-on training experiences at all levels of the credit union.  Mia work as a community volunteer includes awareness walks, community application day, and Children’s Miracle Network.  She has also found great satisfaction as a volunteer at the community food bank.  According to her CEO, Ray Lancaster, Mia really embraces the credit union philosophy.


Christina Morales is a marketing and graphic design professional at Space Age Credit Union in Aurora Colorado. She designs graphics for print and website and marketing promotions.  According to her CEO, John Uchida, Christina’s effort and enthusiasm is one of the things that make her an excellent candidate for the Gary Plank Scholarship.


Scott Sager Torna

Scott Sager is responsible for accounting, compliance, fraud prevention and key vendor relationships at Trona Valley Community Credit Union in Green River Wyoming. In his role he coordinates with management to prepare budgets, improve and maintain the ERM program and guide risk based decisions.  He serves on the MWYCUP steering committee, serves on the board of AdvisX, and volunteers on the Economic Restructuring Committee for the City of Rock Springs.  According to his CEO, Jeremy Gibson, Scott has a genuine passion for promoting credit unions and a community leadership.

Development Educator Scholar



Kara Kirschner oversees all the training initiatives and program development at First Credit Union in Chandler Arizona. In her role she works closely with auditors to ensure compliance and strategizes with branch managers to assess educational needs.  Kara has worked with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, was an advisory board member and speaker for the CUNA Experience Learning Live conference, and worked with the Arizona Youth Involvement network.  According to her CEO, Jay Curtis, Kara applies the mission of the Development Educator to everything she touches