Kathleen Fey Executive Leadership Program

The CrossState Credit Union Foundation’s Kathleen Fey Executive Leadership Program

The Foundation Credit Union Executive Leadership Program is now available through the CrossState Credit Union Foundation to members of the Emerging Leaders, a professional networking group at CrossState Credit Unioin Association.

The Executive Leadership Program was created for the future leaders of the credit union industry and provides more than $15,000 of funding for each participant for a six-year curriculum of credit union leadership development. Each year, two active Emerging Leader members will be selected as Credit Union Fellows to participate in the program. This program is a significant commitment on the part of both the CrossState Credit Union Foundation and the participant. Careful consideration to this commitment should be given prior to applying for this program.

Program Vision: To encourage and advance the capabilities of credit union leaders by providing access to outstanding professional development opportunities and through building relationships with other Fellows and leadership coaches. 

Applications for 2024 are closed.

Program Description

The Credit Union Executive Leadership Program is an exceptional in-depth series of training opportunities designed for credit union employees who have an interest in and demonstrate the aptitude to assume greater roles and responsibilities. The program also strives to identify employees who aspire to be credit union leaders but also demonstrates the credit union philosophy of people helping people.

The positive impact on an employee ignites a passion that keeps participants motivated as they develop the leader within. They will delve into real life case studies through interaction with peers, developing deep relationships that enhance and strengthen the credit union community. Private one-on-one mentoring/coaching sessions are key to the individual’s success and, thus, the credit union’s success.

This investment in developing credit union leaders directly improves quality, efficiency, and performance within teams, offices, and branches thus improving the credit union’s bottom line. Improved accountability, stronger work ethic, better employee relations, greater retention, and better conflict management are the expected results of participating in this program. It is the direct application of leadership concepts that makes the Foundation’s Executive Leadership Program a valuable professional development opportunity.

Program Details

Leadership Mentors

Fellows will be matched with a different Leadership Mentor every one to two years of the program. Each mentor will be a resource to the Fellow during their journey through this training. By having multiple mentors, participants can garner the greatest breadth of experience and networking.

Six Years of Trainings

The program is divided into three areas of training and covers a six-year time frame. Fellows are sent to CrossState Leadership School, the National Foundation for Credit Union’s Development Education Program, and CUNA Management School. See below to learn more about the breakdown of the program.

CrossState Leadership School

Fellows will participate in the CrossState Leadership School, a week-long training held each year in the summer in State College, Pennsylvania. The school is sponsored by the CrossState Credit Union Association, in cooperation with Penn State Corporate Learning. The faculty members have advanced academic degrees and years of experience facilitating leadership training for adults. The CrossState Leadership School offers an excellent opportunity to develop the important management skills so critical to success.

Development Education (DE) Program

The National Foundation for Credit Union holds a week-long DE Program in Madison, Wisconsin four times a year. Graduates earn certification as Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs) and join a networking group of thousands of graduates from across America and other countries.

CUNA Management School

In cooperation with the University of Wisconsin Graduate School of Business, CUNA Management School is an intensive management program helps you learn and implement principles that make you a more dynamic and effective manager and leader. This school allows students to hone their leadership strengths while rounding out the areas where they need more practice. Graduates earn a certification as a Certified Credit Union Executive (CCUE).

Years One & Two

The first year Fellow will attend CrossState Leadership School under the Basic Management track, designed to build skills in the basic roles, responsibilities, and relationships needed for participants to become tomorrow’s credit union leaders. Fellows will develop practical skills in core competency areas that are key to the successful supervision and leadership of others.

The second year the Fellow will attend the Advanced Management track, designed for experienced leaders who want to keep their knowledge and skills up to – or a step ahead of – the demands of today’s credit unions.

In addition to the core curriculum, a full day is dedicated to current credit union topics. This day is designed to show attendees how to apply the management theories learned to address challenges facing credit union leaders. Executives from credit unions from New Jersey and Pennsylvania are invited to share their personal insight on how to meet these challenges, and experienced credit union professionals will lead breakout sessions on a variety of selected topics.

Year Three

The second phase of the Executive Leadership Program is participation in the National Foundation for Credit Union’s week-long Development Education (DE) Program held in Madison, Wisconsin.

Linking our past with credit unions’ present, the DE program brings renewed relevance to the philosophy of “People Helping People.” This unique and transformative training provides critical lessons in cooperative principles, credit union philosophy, and international development issues while incorporating challenges credit unions face today.

Participants are involved in group exercises, field trips, encouraged to ask questions of visiting speakers, and are required to complete team projects proposing solutions for credit unions to help alleviate or eliminate challenging situations in any given area. Benefits or the program include:

Graduates acquire skills in credit union outreach initiatives, problem solving, technical assistance, team building, and public presentations.

Years Four Through Six

The final component to the training is enrollment in the three-year CUNA Management School. Each July, the University of Wisconsin and the city of Madison become home to credit union professionals who are investing in their careers and the credit union movement’s longest-running high-level educational program. While in Madison, students will have the opportunity to learn from credit union experts as well as professors from the University of Wisconsin School of Business. Students will develop a breadth of skills including leadership techniques, financial operations, and executive responsibilities.

The CUNA Management School program builds dynamic leaders with a rigorous blend of university classes and experiential learning activities. Students attend classes for two-week terms over three consecutive summers; the first year is one week with pre-work. In addition to on-site sessions, students complete two substantial written projects during the three-year period. In preparation for their second year, students are required to complete a research project and background analysis of their credit union. The third-year project develops a strategic plan that charts the course for their credit union in the short- and long-term future.

An experiential learning event is scheduled for each class every year. The experiences will be challenging with a focus on team building, communication, combining competition and cooperation, forming strategic alliance and servant leadership. These experiences will show how a group can work together to learn trust, leadership, and teamwork. Further, students find themselves immersed in a nonjudgmental and supportive environment. Experienced facilitators guide all activities illuminating and anchoring how the experiential activity relates to the credit union’s mission and goals.

CUNA Management School is recognized throughout the credit union movement as an honor and mark of accomplishment and has a well-earned reputation as an outstanding three-year executive education program that has prepared thousands of students.