PRESS RELEASE: Top Honors Go to Six CU Executives and Two CUs for Marketing & Business Development Achievements

By CUNA Councils03.14.2018

Rich Jones, Christian Albouras, Deidre Davis, Chelsea Oliver, Fred Brown, Jenna Taubel, Local Government FCU, and MIT FCU were honored for their achievements in marketing and business development during a ceremony at the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Conference, March 11-14 in San Francisco, CA.

  • Rich Jones, President/Principal, Leading2Leadership LLC, Tucson, Arizona, was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Jones brought a greater overall marketing discipline to Elements Financial FCU, overseeing a name change, overall rebranding effort and revolutionized their marketing strategy from a primarily “print, paper and postage” tactic to a digitally focused strategy. The influence of his leadership is apparent from top to bottom in Elements Financial FCU, with changes to the leadership culture and an emphasis on brand promise, mission and values. Though he no longer works with Elements Financial FCU, he still profoundly impacts the credit union industry by serving as an industry expert and instructor at the CUNA Management School, providing his knowledge and expertise to new generations of credit union leadership and shaping their minds and disciplines to set the tone for professionalism for years to come.
  • Christian Albouras, Business Development Specialist, Summit Credit Union, Madison, Wisconsin, was presented with the Business Development Professional of the Year Award. Albouras manages one of Summit CU’s most visible and community facing initiatives, the CUatWork program, a financial wellness program facilitating consumer education and behavioral change to help employees lead more financially successful, happy lives. Albouras has also supported Wisconsin’s credit unions with league advocacy efforts at 3 State Government Affairs Conferences, and is active in external volunteer leadership positions including work as a County Executive and Mayoral appointee on the Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission and Madison Police Department Policy and Procedure Review Ad Hoc Committee, respectively. Albouras served as co-chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for 2 years and still serves on this body as they enter the recommendation phase of their mandate. His efforts at the credit union, league and community levels have created deep relationships and positive change in every capacity.
  • Deidre Davis, Chief Marketing Officer, Michigan State University Federal Credit Union, East Lansing, Michigan, was presented with the Marketing Professional of the Year Award. Davis has led many successful marketing initiatives at Michigan State University FCU, bringing awareness to products while simultaneously bringing awareness to ways to give back to the community. In particular, the Get A Home, Give A Home promotion brought a partnership with the local Humane Society to pay the cat or dog adoption fee for members who opened a mortgage with MSUFCU during the promotional period, bringing awareness to mortgage offerings while also bringing awareness to the needs of the many dogs and cats in the community looking for homes. By the end of the promotion, MSUFCU received over $17 million of new mortgage balances and nine cats or dogs were adopted, while donations were made for the members who did not wish to adopt. In all, Davis has led innovative, community focused and heartfelt programs to create not just credit union success, but positive and long-lasting community relationships.
  • Chelsea Oliver, Marketing Specialist, Corry Federal Credit Union, Corry, Pennsylvania, was presented with the Rising Star Award. This award recognizes rising professionals with two years or less of experience in the credit union industry. In the last two years, Chelsea has proven to be a valuable team player at her credit union. Colleagues describe her as being “dedicated, hard-working, and eager.” She began as a part-time marketer and has made herself indispensable, paving her own way as the first marketing specialist at her credit union. Since then, her role has evolved into one that is full-time and she has been charged with leading a number of big projects such as a rebrand, launch of a new website and redesign of marketing collaterals. She is heavily involved with CUNA, having attended the CUNA Marketing & Business Development School for the last two years and plans to return this year to earn her Credit Union Certified Marketing Executive Designation. She is active in the Corry community as an instructor at the Corry Higher Education Council, teaching classes each semester to a variety of students looking to further their education in topics such as Blogging for Beginners, Intro to Facebook and Social Media for Small Business. She understands the value of sharing knowledge with others, paying if forward, and truly living the credit union philosophy.
  • Fred Brown, Director of Marketing & Member Development, Northeast Family Federal Credit Union, Manchester, Connecticut, was presented with the Volunteer of the Year Award. As a member-led organization, the Council relies on volunteers, and this award recognizes those contributions to the Council. With over two and a half decades in the marketing and communications industry, Brown has performed roles in design, event planning, motivational speaking, trade show coordinating and more. He has consistently been active in presenting ideas to the Council and a valuable contributor to council conversations, and his dedication to community involvement, financial literacy and learning extends to a wide array of volunteer positions, including three-time past President of the Rotary Club of Colchester, President of the Colchester Learning Foundation a Board position with the National Kidney Foundation Connecticut & W. Massachusetts and more. His giving spirit extends to donations of his own body, as an organ donation advocate and living donor of a kidney to a stranger in need. Brown embodies the volunteer spirit and the “People Helping People” philosophy.
  • Jenna Taubel, Digital Marketing Specialist, First Alliance Credit Union, Rochester, Minnesota, was presented with the Top Community Contributor Award. This award recognizes value and expertise shared with peers through collaboration within the Councils Community member networking platform. Jenna has been an excellent contributor – asking questions, answering posts, sharing files, and being a giving and cheerful presence for members online.

The Excellence Awards recognize outstanding new marketing and business development approaches with potential for universal application across the industry. A panel of judges selected winners based on strategy, process, application, and results. Representatives from the winning credit unions were present at the conference to accept their award. This year’s winners are (by category):

  • Community Outreach and/or Political Advocacy: Local Government Federal Credit Union, Raleigh, North Carolina, for its Development Finance Initiative (DFI), a Center of Excellence. As part of a two-pronged initiative, LGFCU partnered with the UNC School of Government (SOG) to support the creation of the Development Finance Initiative (DFI), a Center of Excellence that provides specialized finance and development expertise to guide local governments in attracting private investment for transformative projects.
  • Multifaceted: MIT Federal Credit Union, Cambridge, Massachusetts, for its Challenge to Reach and Connect with Women. MIT’s strategic plan for 2017 included developing new ways to reach the younger SEG population in a way that connected and gave them a fresh new image of the credit union itself. When considering how best to reach this younger demographic, they felt that a focus on women would be beneficial to the credit union and the community.

The winners and their achievements will be featured in an upcoming issue of Credit Union Magazine. For more information, click

About CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council

The CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council is a member-led community of marketing and business development professionals dedicated to providing relevant resources and tools essential for success to its members. The CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council is one of seven CUNA Councils, a network of thousands of credit union professionals nationwide. For more information, visit

About CUNA Councils

The CUNA Councils are member-led organizations dedicated to connecting passionate people, great ideas, original content and relevant resources to find solutions and inspire achievement through the power of peer collaboration. The CUNA Councils serve thousands of members nationwide in seven areas of credit unions including CEO; lending; marketing and business development; finance and accounting; human resources and organizational development; technology; and operations, sales and service. For more information, visit