Speaker Bios

2018 CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Conference


OPENING KEYNOTE – Authenticity Above All Else

Tony Hawk, Skateboarding Legend, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist
Encinitas, CA

Tony HawkTony was nine years old when his brother changed his life by giving him a blue fiberglass Bahne skateboard. By 14 he’d turned pro, and by 16 he was widely considered the best skateboarder on earth. World Champion for 12 years in a row, Tony continues to skate demos and exhibitions internationally, making him the most recognized action sports figure in the world. According to some marketing surveys, Tony is the most recognizable athlete of any kind in the United States. In 1999, he teamed up with Activision to create the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video game. His life would never be the same. In a stroke of good timing, at the X Games that same year, Tony became the first skateboarder to ever land a 900, the holy grail of vert skateboarding.

Today, his business skills have helped create a Tony Hawk brand that includes a billion-dollar video game franchise, successful businesses such as Birdhouse Skateboards, Hawk Clothing, and the Tony Hawk Signature Series sporting goods and toys. A savvy marketer with social networking, Tony’s fan base numbers in the millions on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. His video game series has surpassed $1.4 billion in sales with the most recent version, Tony Hawk’s Pro radio’s Faction channel. His autobiography, HAWK—Occupation: Skateboarder, was a New York Times bestseller, and in 2010 Wiley Publishing released How Did I Get Here? The Ascent of an Unlikely CEO. In 2012, in partnership with Google, Inc. Tony’s film production company, 900 Films, launched the RIDE Channel, and has since grown into the biggest skateboard destination on YouTube.

Tony is a role model for fans of all ages. His Tony Hawk Foundation has given away over $5.5 million to 572 skatepark projects throughout the United States. Tony’s foundation helps finance public skateparks in low-income areas in all 50 states and other parts of the world through their partnership with Skateistan, providing a safe place to skate, and helping to build the self-confidence of youths from Marathon, Florida to Sitka, Alaska. Skateparks that received financial assistance from the Tony Hawk Foundation currently serve over 5-million kids annually.


CLOSING KEYNOTE – The Irresistible Power of Strategic Storytelling

Kindra Hall, Author, Communication Expert, and Professional Storyteller
Phoenix, AZ 

Kindra HallKindra is an award-‐winning columnist, author, and national champion storyteller. As a former Director of Marketing and VP of Sales, Kindra discovered the most effective method for capturing attention and increasing revenue—great storytelling. Kindra’s work can be seen in a weekly column at Inc.com, and has been featured in SUCCESS Magazine, Entrepreneur.com and behind the scenes in New York Times best selling books. A former board member of the National Storytelling Network, and with a Masters’ Degree in Organizational Communications & Management, Kindra now teaches innovative brands and executives to close more sales, become better leaders and blow up brands with the irresistible power of strategic storytelling.

Patrick Adams, CEO
St. Louis Community Credit Union, St. Louis, MO

Patrick AdamsPatrick loves to have fun. Credit unions long ago stopped being a vocation and became an avocation. Based on your mood, Patrick can either be motivating or aggravating. He provokes thought and makes you think extra hard about those issues that should be on a credit union’s radar screen. Patrick has devoted 39 years to the credit union movement and has worked for St. Louis Community CU for the past 29 years. Patrick was appointed president of St. Louis Community CU in January, 2008.
Patrick has never met a paradigm he wouldn’t like to change. He has spoken to audiences all over the world and helps them to question the “because-we’ve-always-done-it-that-way” mentality and develop real-world solutions. He emphasizes the importance of embracing continuous change, and challenges audiences to accept and adapt to the “next generation” …no matter how painful the process.

Michelle Anderson, Partner
Fisher Phillips, New Orleans, LA

Michelle Anderson
 With the unique combination of nearly 20 years’ experience in the realms of employment and successful workforce business practices, Michelle brings practical knowledge and experience to help businesses address numerous workplace issues. She defends businesses against claims of unlawful discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliation, breaches of contract, violations of leave and disability laws, wage and hour violations, unfair labor practice charges, ADA public accommodations and workplace safety violations.

Michelle also enjoys a successful, national employer advice practice that includes: state and national employee handbooks, policies, and procedures; workplace investigations; ADA compliance; human resource management and systems; supervisor training; multi-state employment applications, criminal background check compliance, and wage and hour audits.

Prior to attending law school, Michelle had a successful career in workforce development where she operated and managed employment and training programs for a private non-profit corporation under contracts from various state, federal and local governments. Michelle’s background in executive management and workforce development yields wide exposure to the challenges facing today's business leaders.

Casey Boggs, President
Merit Marketing, Portland, OR

Casey BoggsIn addition to overseeing operations and business at Merit, Casey and the communications team partner with clients to provide public relations support through media relations, staff communications, crisis management, M&A strategy, reputation control, incident response planning and support, executive training and social media.

Before joining Merit, Casey was president of LT Public Relations where he led communication efforts for national financial, health care and legal organizations. He was also the public relations director at AIG, one of the world’s largest insurance companies. Prior to AIG, Casey managed clients for two of the largest public relations agencies, Waggener Edstrom and Weber Shandwick. Clients included Microsoft, JP Morgan, Bank of America, Credit Suisse and Allstate. Before his career in public relations, he was a broadcast buyer for the international advertising agency, Hal Riney & Partners, servicing such clients as Saturn and Sprint PCS.

Chris Brogan, CEO
Owner Media Group, Portland, ME

Chris BroganChris is a highly sought after professional speaker and the New York Times bestselling author of nine books and counting. His latest is called Find Your Writing Voice. Chris has spoken for or consulted with the biggest brands you know, including Disney, Coke, Google, GM, Microsoft, Coldwell Banker, Titleist, Scotts, Humana Health, Cisco, Sony USA, and many more. He’s appeared on the Dr. Phil Show, interviewed Richard Branson for a cover story for Success magazine, and once even presented to a Princess. People like Paulo Coelho, Harvey Mackay, and Steven Pressfield enjoy sharing their projects and best ideas with Chris, because they know he’ll share them with you. Tony Robbins had Chris on his Internet Money Masters series. Forbes listed Chris as one of the Must Follow Marketing Minds of 2014, plus listed his website as one of the 100 best websites for entrepreneurs. Statsocial rated Chris the #3 power influencer online.

Most importantly, Chris provides education and tools to help you make your life and your business thrive, by teaching you which actions will get you what you want. Through books, speeches, courses, and workshops, Chris is dedicated to helping you grow your capabilities and connections and to getting you to that next level of success, no matter where you are in the process right now. Chris also offers limited personal coaching, and offers limited consulting to businesses.

Spencer Carver, AVP SEG Development
Mountain America CU, West Jordan, UT

Spencer CarverSpencer was hired by Mountain America Credit Union in February of 2007. Including his time with Mountain America, Spencer has spent more than a decade working for the credit union movement. Prior to his time at Mountain America, he worked for two other financial institutions.
Spencer oversees the development and growth of more than 5000 Select Employer Groups (SEG). He serves in the role of a leader for his team and is responsible for delivering continued membership growth through business development, partnership and collaboration with the credit union’s business partners. He works closely with members of the branch administration, business, investment, mortgage, branches and insurance services team to ensure appropriate membership growth strategies are in place as it relates to SEG development.

Carletta Clyatt, Vice President
The Omnia Group, Inc., Tampa, FL

Carletta ClyattCarletta brings over 17 years of business-to-business consulting experience to help companies effectively select, manage and engage their biggest asset - people. She understands that the more you invest in their success, the more you get back. Carletta specializes in employee behavioral assessments for companies of any size in any industry. She can help you uncover the behavioral preferences that lead to top notch employee performance. Her presentations are enlightening, engaging and always impactful.

Carletta is a frequent speaker at corporate meetings, associations and conventions, such as American Collectors Association, Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association, Auto Success Best Practices Summit, Association of Insurance Management Consultants, American Staffing Association, Honeywell, Independent Insurance Association, and many more. She speaks and consults on topics such as Authentic Communication, Creating a Sales Culture and Power Interviewing. You can expect to gain employee selection, retention and development guidance, along with keen self-awareness insight, to take your business to the next level.

Jeremiah DeGollon, AVP-BD
Summit CU, Madison, WI

Jeremiah DeGollonJeremiah has been serving the credit union movement for the better part of 20 years. In his current role, he oversees strategic alliances, political and legislative advocacy, cooperative outreach, events & sponsorships, and Summit’s award-winning financial wellness program, CUatWork.

In addition to his role at Summit, Jeremiah serves as Chairman of the Board for STAR Credit Union, which is the only youth chartered credit union in the world. Jeremiah is also a Board Director with the Madison Area Chapter of Credit Unions, and manages Co-op Connection, the largest co-op community event in Wisconsin.

Jeremiah is a graduate of Edgewood College with a bachelors and Masters Degree in Business Administration, with certificates in cooperative management and urban and rural and economic development, as well as being a CUBDP and CUDE.

Steve Ducey, Chief Experience Officer
Vibrant CU, Moline, IL

Steve DuceySteve strives to create a world class culture that generates high performance results. He successfully led the rebrand of DHCU to Vibrant Credit Union in 2015 and hasn't taken a break since. He lives and breathes culture and brand awareness. In what is otherwise usually referred to as a sometimes stuffy, sometimes boring industry, he has carefully created a unique and exciting culture at Vibrant.
Steve believes that banking doesn’t have to be boring and is dedicated to creating a culture and banking experience that proves it. This type of culture and atmosphere has led Vibrant to receive recognition as the Quad Cities Small Business of the Year, The Quad City Chamber’s Top Place to Work for Young Professionals and one of the top 5 Credit Unions to Work For in the United States.

Julie Ferguson, Owner
JRF Consulting Services, LLC, Portland, OR

Julie FergusonJulie spent 16 years at First Tech Federal Credit Union in the Pacific Northwest before starting JRF Consulting Services in 2009. Her career began as a part-time teller and took her on a journey that included stops as a loan officer, branch manager, director of operations, and business development director. While at First Tech, she developed strong relationships with SEGs like Microsoft, Amazon.com and Google. JRF Consulting concentrates on growth and member engagement.

Eric Hansing, VP, Multicultural Strategy & Market Development
CUNA Mutual Group, Madison, WI

Eric HansingAs part of the Planning & Business Services team, Eric champions deeper understanding of multicultural consumers, and is responsible for developing and executing company-wide strategies for increasing our business success in these markets. Prior to his current role in December 2015, Eric was vice president of Life, AD&D and Media for TruStage, wherein he was responsible for growing the number of members protected by TruStage life insurance and Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) insurance. He also oversaw the TruStage Media, Brand and Creative Services teams.
Eric joined CUNA Mutual Group in 1993 as a direct marketing specialist, where he focused on database-driven marketing to consumers before leading the Consumer Marketing team. Since then, he has successfully held multiple marketing and business leadership roles, working with virtually all product lines across the company, giving him significant B2B and B2C experience. Eric holds a bachelors degree in Marketing from the University of Wisconsin Whitewater and an executive masters degree in Business from the University of Wisconsin Madison.

Michelle Hunter, SVP Marketing & Development
Credit Union of Southern California, Anaheim, CA

Michelle HunterMichelle has been serving the credit union movement for nearly 25 years, working in the areas of training, communications, marketing, business development, political and legislative advocacy, and leadership. She has received industry accolades for her achievements including Credit Union Magazine's Rock Star award, multiple CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council Diamond Awards, and by being named the 2016 Marketing Professional of the Year by the Credit Union National Association. Michelle currently serves on the CUNA Advocacy Committee, CUNA Awareness Committee, is Vice Chair of the CUNA Council Executive Committee, and is the former Chair of the CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council. Michelle received her bachelor degree in communications from California State University, Fullerton, and attended the Stanford University Executive Development Program.

Douglas Kiker, Chief Strategic Communications Officer
Credit Union National Association, Washington, DC

Douglas KikerDouglas leads all of the association’s external and internal communications functions and is responsible for the development and implementation of strategies that increase awareness of and support for credit unions and CUNA’s advocacy objectives. Douglas has extensive experience in strategic communications with nearly two decades in journalism and corporate communications.

Douglas previous served as managing director at Kekst and Company, a leading New York-based strategic corporate communications firm. He served clients in a wide range of diverse situations requiring strategic communications counsel. His assignments included communications during complex legislative and regulatory challenges, crisis management, media and investor relations and stakeholder communications during transactions, bankruptcies and restructurings, and other situations. Prior to Kekst, Douglas worked for a decade as a journalist for CBS News 60 Minutes, The Associated Press and Fox News Channel.

Douglas graduated from The University of Virginia in 1997, and The Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2001.

Madhukar Kumar, VP Product Strategy, CX
Oracle, Redwood Shores, CA

Madhukar KumarMadhukar is a product strategist and has been running product management and product marketing teams for the last 10+ years. His areas of expertise include product vision and go to market strategies for different marketing and Customer Experience (CX) technologies including marketing automation, web content management, ecommerce, web optimization and digital assets management.
Madhukar has worked with several technology startups like Zuora and large enterprises like HP over his career helping their customers with digital marketing and customer experience strategies. In the last 10 years he has also been writing in technology journals and speaking at several industry events across the globe around disruptive technologies affecting businesses.


Juli Anne Lawrence,Chief Strategic Officer
Raoust+Partners, Hampton, VA

Juli Anne LawrenceJuli Anne is a nationally recognized financial services industry leader. As a top executive, she has helped shape such organizations as Citibank, Western Bancorp, Langley Federal Credit Union, KeyPoint Credit Union, KeyPoint Financial Services, and the National Institutes of Health Federal Credit Union. In addition, she was an adjunct professor of graduate studies at the Johns Hopkins University School of Management. She was also one of the original founders of the CUNA Council movement. Juli Anne has achieved record-breaking growth for many of the credit unions she has headed, and introduced digital innovations that raised the bar for the entire industry.

James Robert Lay, CEO
Digital Growth Institute, Houston, TX

James Robert Lay James Robert is on a mission to simplify digital marketing to help financial institutions grow from good to great by building marketing systems that guide people toward a brighter financial future. Of his many honors to date, James Robert has been named one of Financial Brand's "Top Global Financial Services Influencers to Follow," a CUNA "Credit Union Rock Star," and a CU Times "Under 40 Trailblazer." He frequently speaks at financial services conferences and events around the world and is often quoted in leading publications such as US News and World Report, The Financial Brand, American Banker, and CU Times among many others.



Chris Leone, President
WebStrategies Inc., Midlothian, VA

Chris LeoneChris is responsible for leading all the day-to-day operations of the firm including digital marketing, web development, inbound marketing, and web analytics. He is known for combining a disciplined analytics and process-oriented approach to digital marketing. His work has been featured on the Google Analytics and Hubspot blog. Chris is also a published author and speaks at industry events across the country.

Chris has built and managed hundreds of digital campaigns across a variety of different industry verticals and has led advanced, custom Google Analytics implementations for several high profile, high traffic websites.

Phil Lockwood, Founder
Creation Chamber, Denver, CO

Phil LockwoodPhil leverages decades of industry experience to grow and manage an agency known for generating results. His background in user experience design, engineering and marketing provide the highest level of insight into the intricacies of the business, while his lifelong passion for helping people fuels the company’s focus on providing value over generating revenue. It’s this mission that’s attracted long-term relationships with brands ranging from NFL teams to fast-casual food chains.

Prior to launching Creation Chamber in 2001, Phil served as a senior consultant for Romac Internationals Emerging Technologies division, where he played key roles in the development of enterprise systems for the Fortune 500 and 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

Amy McGraw, VP Marketing
Tropical Financial CU, Miramar, FL

Amy McGrawAmy has been highly successful in developing innovative marketing and promotional plans and generating news coverage for the credit union in a highly competitive financial services market. She has been in the credit union industry nearly 20 years, creating compelling, measurable campaigns and also contributing to the betterment of the industry as a whole.

Amy has also been a leader in the credit union industry and currently serves at the president of the Broward Chapter of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions. In addition she serves as a member of the Executive Committee of CUNA's Marketing and Business Development Council and was honored as the Credit Union Marketer of the Year in 2011 and the inaugural Volunteer of the Year in 2014. She has earned numerous Diamond Awards over the years and now serves as the vice-chair of the Diamond Awards Committee.

Katelyn McManamon, Marketing & BD Manager
Penn East FCU, Scranton, PA

Katelyn McManamonKatelyn has worked in the credit union industry for 10 years, gaining experience in crisis communications, marketing, and social media. As a seasoned marketer she is passionate about advancing the credit union's mission. Currently she is involved in local leadership programs and recently earned her CUDE designation.


Deborah Mersino, Chief Marketing Officer
Oregon Community CU, Eugene, OR

Deborah MersinoDeborah is responsible for the areas of marketing, communications, human resources, card services, product R&D, and virtual technologies. She helps foster collaboration, exceptional member experience, and the fulfillment of goals and objectives aligned with the organization's strategic plan. Prior to joining Oregon Community in 2014, Deborah was CMO for an organization dedicated to serving education leaders and influencing public policy regarding the effective use of technology to improve education.

A graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, Deborah has built a career based upon her passions, including marketing, education, digital channels, customer experience, and nonprofits. She has worked across numerous verticals and is regularly invited to speak nationally on the subjects of member experience, digital marketing, millennial marketing, and the future of financial institutions.

Julie Monahan, BDO
First Heritage FCU, Painted Post, NY

Julie MonahanJulie was presented with the Business Development Professional of the Year Award in 2017. She has been an active member of the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council since 2014. Julie also supports her local Chapter by attending various functions and roundtable events. In addition, she serves on a variety of panels, committees and boards throughout her community. She participates in four active Chambers of Commerce. She has graduated from two Chamber Leadership programs. As a long time and active board member for the Downtown Development Agency, Juie co-chairs the summer music networking program providing afterhours networking opportunities to local business members. She also leads a Brand Mobilization Council committee for the United Way of the Southern Tier where she is also a board and executive committee member. She volunteers with Junior Achievement of Western New York, where she is assigned to elementary classrooms in various communities to help bridge the gap in financial literacy. In her position at First Heritage, she builds and nurtures relations, provides financial education throughout the communities she serves, secures partnerships and created a financial wellness program that is offered free of charge for local businesses.

Royce Ngiam, Vice President, Marketing
Partners FCU, Burbank, CA

Royce NgiamRoyce’s current responsibilities include driving creative development and strategies that embrace multiple platforms to engage and activate the credit unions TWDC cast member, employee, and imagineer audience through innovative solutions that are quantifiable, repeatable, and sustainable across all channels, over a dynamic and evolving consumer landscape. His time with TWDC has reinforced his passion for marketing and his desire to be a thought leader while advancing his craft within his industry of 20 years with banking/credit unions.

Jessica Oliver, Director of Financial Outreach
Pelican State CU, Baton Rouge, LA

Jessica OliverJessica has led the financial education and outreach efforts of Pelican State Credit Union for over ten years. She leads a team of five Nationally Certified Credit Counselors to conduct Financial Literacy Workshops, one-on-one counseling, youth education programs and outreach across the state of Louisiana. Under Jessica’s leadership, the Financial Outreach Team and their award-winning education programs have reached over 16,000 individuals since their inception in 2007.

Jessica is nationally certified CU Financial Counselor. She received her BA in Marketing from Southeastern Louisiana University, MBA from Louisiana State University and is a certified Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE). She is an active member of many professional organizations such as the Louisiana Jump$tart Financial Literacy Coalition, the Alliance for Economic Inclusion, Bank on Baton Rouge, the Junior League of Baton Rouge, Denham Springs Main Street Association and the Louisiana State DECA Association.

Melina Palmer, Founder
Defying Gravity, Tumwater, WA

Melina Palmer Melina has been building and reimagining brands for a decade, most recently at Verity Credit Union where the fresh, new brand launch nearly tripled brand awareness in less than two years. Melina has always been fascinated by the psychological influences behind consumer behavior, which inspired her to pursue a Masters in Behavioral Economics from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. A Filene i3 alumna, she loves to bring innovative practices to organizations. Prior to joining Verity, Melina worked at an advertising agency and launched her own credit union consultancy, with clients across the country. She was also the first individual to graduate from the University of Washington’s Global Honors Program with a degree in business, and her senior thesis was presented at the Association of Consumer Research Symposium in Hyderabad, India. She founded her consultancy, Defying Gravity, in 2014 where she focuses on using Behavioral Economics to help brands to soar.

Andrea Parrish, Digital Marketing Specialist
STCU, Liberty Lake, WA

Andrea Parrish Andrea is a social media and communications nerd. Over the last decade, she has been refining her professional social media skills while in various positions in marketing, communications, web, and digital marketing. She's created viral sensations, run successful Kickstarter campaigns, and developed a serious love of the power of interconnected communications. For the last three years, she has been managing day-to-day social media and social member service for the Inland Northwest's own STCU.

Jeanne Pickens, COO
Rogue CU, Medford, OR

Jeanne Pickens Jeanne has served the members of Rogue Credit Union for over 17 years in a variety of roles including Branch Management, VP of Marketing, SVP of Marketing and Loyalty and her current role as Chief Operations Officer. Jeanne has served on i3 at the Filene Research Institute and is a 2013 Honors Graduate of Western CUNA Management School.

Peter Platt, President
Accountable Digital, LLC, Rochester, NY

Peter Platt Peter is a 30-year veteran of the agency business and has been involved in Internet marketing since the early 1990s. He was also one of the first 100 people certified in the Google AdWords program in 2004. Peter’s experience brings together a unique combination of business development, account management, technology and strategic planning skills. Peter provides an active voice to the internet marketing community, blogging and writing for iMedia, presenting at an array of conferences (including MediaPost & iMedia) as well as providing specific sessions on social, search and other forms of internet marketing.

Peter has a wide range of digital marketing with credit unions and banks dating back to 2004. His client experience includes ESL FCU, AmeriCU, Reliant Community FCU, as well as First Niagara Bank.

Olivier Raoust, Chief Brand Strategist/Chief Creative Director
Raoust+Partners, Hampton, VA

Olivier RaoustOlivier was born, raised and schooled in France. His background as Art Director and Creative Director with regional and national agencies includes The One Club's One Show, CUES Golden Mirrors, CUNA Diamond Awards and BMA Best of Show awards. Raoust's first exposure to credit unions dates back to 1987, developing Virginia's Langley Federal Credit Union original, and multi-award winning creative strategy. It was the impetus needed to open Raoust+Partners in 1996, with a singular focus to help credit unions succeed. He believes each credit union possesses a unique DNA, and he continuously seeks to define that significance and value proposition to members and non-members alike. Known for his passion, curiosity and ability to getting it spot on, Olivier continues to steward brands including Massachusetts’ Jeanne D’Arc CU, and Florida's Innovations FCU among many others.

Hilary Reed, Chief Strategy Officer
Empower Strategic Solutions, Yardley, PA

Hilary Reed Empower Strategic Solutions, Yardley, PA Hilary is the founder of Empower Strategic Solutions and is an innovative thought-leader who has been involved in various aspects of strategic sales and marketing for 15 years. Prior to founding Empower Strategic Solutions, Hilary served as Chief Relationship Officer/Senior Vice President of Marketing for a Credit Union in the Philadelphia region for over a decade. She was instrumental in helping the organization gain reputation as an innovator and early adapter of social media, strategic marketing, digital advertising, brand positioning, and other non-traditional marketing techniques.

In 2015, Hilary was honored for her leadership and commitment to the field of marketing and business development and was named CUNA's Marketing Professional of the Year. Thriving on helping companies achieve success in the form of organic, strategic growth, Hilary drives organizations and their leaders to embrace change, think big, and implement new strategies by way of innovative thinking.

Randy Schultz, VP Marketing
Weber Marketing Group, Seattle, WA

Randy SchultzRandy’s value to the financial industry and his clients comes from a solid foundation of deep-rooted involvement for over 30 years of listening, mentoring, coaching and teaching c-level and marketing executives to differentiate their unique promise of value in their own lives and the financial industry they have become a part of.

Having worked as a brand strategist, marketing vice president, advertising agency principal, creative director, faculty member for financial marketing institutes and as a featured speaker, Randy’s unique, passionate approach to creating thought leadership visionaries within organizations continues to make him one of the most sought after facilitators across the country.

His highly collaborative personal brand brings out the passion and strength in clients who envision their own career path to be one of serving their organization and involvement in making a difference in their community. With an engaging sense of humor and supporting style of collaboration, Randy knows how to ask the right questions as well as be a keen listener whether to an audience of one or one hundred.

Danella Soeka, Director of Client Strategy
Creation Chamber, Denver, CO

Danella SoekaDanella, nicknamed the "champion of change", is a seasoned marketing executive with two decades of proven experience managing company startups and rebrands within the casino/hotel community, education and financial industries driving marketing, advertising, design and communication initiatives. She has strong business development and consultative problem-solving expertise and a passion for building relationships and strategic partnerships. Prior to her current position, Danella was the head of marketing and business development for a three-branch credit union in Colorado.

Danella holds a Masters Degree in Communications from Purdue University and served on the board for the Colorado Purdue Alumni Association. She is also a member of the Global Women's Leadership Network; the only credit union industry's international platform dedicated to addressing and facilitating greater gender balance among leadership. She is involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation as an event planning volunteer and Airport Angel welcoming "wish kids" and their families.

Opal Tomashevska, Multicultural Business Strategy Manager
CUNA Mutual Group, Madison, WI

Opal TomashevskaOpal joined CUNA Mutual Group in May of 2014. She brings more than 16 years of professional experience in training, change management and business support in roles at SITEL, Dean Health, and American Family Insurance. Her current role is dedicated to advancing the efforts of the Multicultural Center of Expertise, which includes gaining a deeper understanding of underserved consumers.

Opal received her bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and her MS in Organizational Development form Edgewood College.


Graeme Trayner, Managing Director
The Glover Park Group, Washington, DC

Graeme TraynerIn his role Graeme’s work spans across the firm’s Research, Creative, and Communications teams. At GPG, Graeme incorporates insight and research to assist in guiding and executing integrated communications campaigns.

Prior to joining GPG, Graeme was a Vice President at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, where he led the firm’s brand and communications practice. Drawing on his background in politics, branding and insight, he developed programs to advance corporate strategies, and helped manage issues including regulation, M&A, foreign direct investment, social responsibility, and crises. He has worked across sectors including financial and professional services, consumer industries, media and technology, and healthcare.

Graeme has extensive experience of helping define brands based on insights into organizational mission, culture and values, and has worked closely with corporate identity firms to help translate research findings into visual concepts and comprehensive brand definitions. He has a strong background in creative development research, and has worked with a range of advertising agencies.

A native of the United Kingdom, Graeme graduated from the London School of Economics. He started his career in Washington, D.C. working for political strategist, Stan Greenberg. Later, Graeme worked as a Senior Aide to Prime Minister Tony Blair’s pollster Philip Gould and Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s pollster Deborah Mattinson. Graeme writes and speaks frequently on the use of insight in branding, advertising, communications, and the role of values and identity in shaping people’s opinions. He served on the board of the UK Association for Qualitative Research.


Joni Walker,, Senior Consultant
Cascadia Business Development, Missoula, MT

Joni WalkerHaving spent most of her adult life in the financial service industry, Joni has a unique perspective on marketing, branding, sales and development. Her 20+ years as SVP of Marketing and Development at a local credit union give her vast knowledge of strategic marketing, strategic planning, business development, and working within a highly regulated industry. A nationally-recognized marketer, she and her team won several prestigious industry awards for branch design, logo design, community/PR event and social media campaign

Joni earned her MBA from the University of Montana and holds a Bachelor of Science in English from Emporia State University. She is a graduate of CUNA Management School (with High Honors) and CUES CEO Institute. The eternal student, she recently earned a certificate in Business Strategy from Cornell.

Kirby Wenger, VP, Direct Marketing & Media for TruStage
CUNA Mutual Group, Madison, WI

Kirby Wenger In her role, Kirby is responsible for evolving our multi-media approach for reaching and growing the number of members protected by TruStage. She joined TruStage in 2013 with more than 13 years of experience across various direct-to-consumer marketing functions. Prior to joining Cuna Mutual Group, she held numerous marketing leadership roles in direct mail, email, web analytics and product marketing at Lands End. She also led customer acquisition strategies at American Girl. She has a proven track record for acquiring and retaining customers profitably. Kirby graduated from the University of Wisconsin Madison with a bachelors degree in Finance and Risk Management.

TruStage is a consumer marketing brand of CUNA Mutual Group. TruStage offers insurance and investment products which empower credit union members to protect the achievements and aspirations of the people who matter most in their lives. Credit unions make TruStage products available to their members by participating in our credit union program, TruStage Insurance Program.