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CUNA CEO Council Conference


2023 details are being finalized. Request to be notified.

See 2022 speakers below

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John Best John Best

Founder and CEO

Best Innovation Group

Recognized as a thought leader and visionary of technology advancements and financial application development within the financial industry, John Best is a futurist, an Amazon bestselling author, an award-winning speaker, hosts a globally recognized podcast show, is the Co-Founder and CEO of Best Innovation Group. 

John previously served as CTO and Senior Vice President of Wescom Credit Union as well as head of technology for Wescom Resources Group. In 2014, John left Wescom to form his own company called Best Innovation Group, or BIG for short. BIG was created to provide clients with the resources to quickly implement digital solutions and adopt cutting-edge technologies. BIG provides research and development in areas including voice banking, distributed ledger and machine learning, as well as a wide array of development, integration, and consulting services. 

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Gordon Howe Gordon Howe


UNIFY Financial Credit Union

Gordon Howe is the President/CEO of UNIFY Financial Credit Union (UNIFY), and has been in the credit union business of “people helping people” for over twenty-five years. Prior to joining UNIFY in 2005, Gordon was the President/CEO at Santa Ana Federal Credit Union. He also held several executive level positions, over some 15 years, at SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union.

Gordon is passionate and committed to helping advance the future of credit unions. He is a proponent of emerging fintech innovation solutions including cryptocurrency, and looks to consider the development of new markets, such as cannabis banking, as potential areas of opportunity for the industry.

He also volunteers his time supporting credit union efforts outside of UNIFY, serving as chair for several Credit Union Service Organizations (CUSOs) and participating on industry related boards.

Gordon studied Finance at California State University, Long Beach earning his B.S. and M.B.A. degrees. His downtime is filled by playing a variety of recreational sports, travelling, and being a father to his four daughters—another position he is grateful to hold.

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Diana Kander Diana Kander

New York Times Best-selling Author

A New York Times best-selling author and innovation consultant, Diana Kander has spent her career challenging assumptions and asking big questions - what kind of culture needs to exist in an organization to ensure innovative ideas and practices? How has Snoop Dogg continued to innovate decade after decade to stay relevant to the next generation? What causes name brands to lose relevance with their customers and go out of business? A serial entrepreneur who entered the United States as a refugee at the age of 8, she has launched and sold millions of dollars’ worth of products and services. Her first book, All In Startup, has been used by over 100 universities in their innovation courses and countless large organizations to help their employees think more like entrepreneurs. Her second book, The Curiosity Muscle walks readers through a methodology to keep curiosity alive and thriving inside of an organization, ultimately, future-proofing the business.

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Joe Keller Joe Keller

VP Digital Assets

Visions FCU

Joe joined Visions Federal Credit Union in 2022 to help drive their path within the Digital Asset ecosystem.  Over the years, he has worked at many large financial institutions within all three lines of defense with a focus on risk and compliance, technology, and regulatory action remediation.  His broad knowledge of financial services and innovation pairs well with his intellectual curiosity to enable risk-based growth initiatives.  He has been playing in the digital asset space for several years and is excited to see Credit Unions develop opportunities to better support their members and communities.

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David Mooney David Mooney

President and CEO (Retired)

Alliant Credit Union

Chicago, IL

Dave Mooney served as President and CEO of Alliant Credit Union for 17 years, retiring in 2020.  Based in Chicago, Alliant is the 8th largest credit union in the U.S. with $15 Billion in assets and members throughout the country. A national digital direct institution and perennial industry leader in financial return to members, Alliant was named “Best Banks” and “Best Credit Union in America 2020” (Bankrate); “2019 Best Banks and Credit Unions” (NerdWallet); “Best Credit Union for Savings, Checking and Online Services” (GoBankingRates); “Best Credit Union in America 2019-2020” (Money Magazine); and “Best Credit Union 2019” (MyBankTracker).  Alliant was also awarded Gallup’s “2020 Great Workplace Award” and Great Place to Work 2020 “Best Medium Workplaces”.

Dave’s career in financial services includes experience across a range of business lines, markets, and functions at leading financial companies.  Prior to being appointed to Alliant’s top leadership position in 2003, he held a number of executive level and management roles at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and its predecessors Chase Manhattan Bank and Chemical Bank.  Dave currently serves on the Advisory Board of Datanomers, an AI/ML/BI startup and as an advisor to Hyperscience, a provider of intelligent document processing solutions. He also serves on the board of NADAP, a workforce development agency, and chairs the Midwest Board of Operation HOPE.

Dave holds a B.A. in Economics from Boston College. He and his wife, Melinda, live in Lake Forest, Illinois.

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Barry Nelson Barry Nelson

President & CEO (Retired)

Travis Credit Union

Barry Nelson is the retired as President and CEO of Travis Credit Union in April 2022. Headquartered in Vacaville, CA, Travis Credit Union has $4.7 Billion in assets, 225,000 members and 725 employees. Nelson served as President and CEO from 2014 – 2022. He held other senior positions during his 22 years at Travis CU, including EVP, SVP/COO and SVP/CFO.  Nelson led the organization to attain Forbes “California Top 10 Credit Unions” in 2020, 2021 and 2022.  In three of the past four years Travis CU was also recognized by the Defense Council of Credit Unions as best credit union. Prior to joining Travis, Nelson served as CFO at First Metropolitan Credit Union  and as CEO at Super U Credit Union

Nelson earned the Certified Chief Executive designation from Credit Union Executive Society and is a graduate of CUNA Financial Management School. He held Series 7 Securities License. Nelson served as an Advisory Board Member with Fiserv-Raddon and is past board chair of  the Solano County Economic Development Corporation.  He has been involved numerous community organizations, as well as the California Credit Union League, and is an Honorary Commander at Travis Air Force Base.

Nelson is a graduate of Santa Clara University, where he received a  Bachelors of Science in Accounting and he received a Masters of Business Administration from Columbia Southern University

Barry enjoys golf, soccer, exercise and spending time with family and friends. He and his wife Karen live in Peoria, AZ.

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Jill Nowacki Jill Nowacki



Jill Nowacki started with credit unions in 2001. She has taken on leadership roles at credit unions and state and national trade associations, including serving as the President/CEO of the Credit Union League of Connecticut.

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Jim Nussle Jim Nussle

President & CEO

Credit Union National Association

Washington, DC // Madison, WI

Jim is president and CEO of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). Since his appointment in September 2014, he has worked to position credit unions as America's best financial partner. By streamlining the association's structure and operations, he has shaped CUNA into a lean, strategic and results-driven organization recognizing that credit unions demand value of membership and advocacy results.

Jim is a former nine-term congressman and director of the White House Office of Management and Budget for President George W. Bush. He served in the U.S. House from 1991-2007 as a Republican representative for Iowa’s 1st and 2nd congressional districts. From 2001-06, he served as chairman of the House Budget Committee, a key panel which oversees the federal budget process, including review of all bills and resolutions on the budget. The panel also monitors agencies and programs funded outside of the budgetary process.

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Mike Schenk Mike Schenk

Deputy Chief Advocacy Officer for Policy Analysis and Chief Economist


Mike Schenk has 35 years of experience in the financial services industry. In 1992 he joined the Credit Union National Association (CUNA)—the largest and most influential national trade association advocating for America's credit unions. There are nearly 5,500 credit unions nationwide, with more than 120 million memberships and nearly $1.5 trillion in assets

Mike currently is Deputy Chief Advocacy Officer for Policy Analysis and Chief Economist for CUNA and conducts economic research and supports CUNA's public relations and advocacy efforts.  His analyses regularly appear in trade publications such as Credit Union Magazine. He also is a frequent contributor to the financial media.

Schenk serves on the board of Summit Credit Union in Madison, Wisconsin—a $3 billion financial cooperative with over 160,000 members. He serves as Board Chair and also has chaired the credit union's Asset-Liability Management and Risk Management/Internal Audit Committees. 

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Maurice Smith Maurice Smith


Local Government FCU and Civic FCU

Raleigh, NC

Both credit unions are member-owned cooperatives serving the financial needs of employees, appointed officials, elected officeholders and volunteers of local governments in North Carolina. Smith celebrates 41 years in Credit Union Movement.

Maurice received his BS in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and earned a Juris Doctorate from the NC Central University School of Law. He is licensed to practice law in North Carolina, the United States Supreme Court and the District of Columbia. Maurice is also a North Carolina Certified Superior Court Mediator.  He is a Certified Credit Union Executive.

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William (Bill) Taylor William (Bill) Taylor

Co-founder and Founding Editor

Fast Company

Bill Taylor is a best-selling author, celebrated entrepreneur, and groundbreaking thinker who shows organizations and their leaders how to compete, innovate, and win—during times of growth as well as times of crisis. He made his name as co-founder and founding editor of Fast Company, one of the most influential magazines of the last two decades. Fast Company has won countless awards, from “Startup of the Year” in its early days to “Magazine of the Year,” the highest honor in its field, and has earned a passionate following among executives and entrepreneurs around the world. Its editorial success led to great business success. A company that began in borrowed office space in Harvard Square eventually sold for $340 million—the second-highest price for a single magazine is U.S. history. Fast Company recently celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary and continues to shape the global conversation about business.

Since starting Fast Company, Bill has written three books on creativity, leadership and change. His most recent book is Simply Brilliant: How Great Organizations Do Ordinary Things in Extraordinary Ways. His previous book, Practically Radical, was a Wall Street Journal bestseller and his first book, Mavericks at Work, was a New York Times bestseller and was named a “Business Book of the Year” by The Economist and the Financial Times.

Bill has published numerous essays and CEO interviews in the Harvard Business Review, and his column, “Under New Management,” ran in the Sunday Business section of The New York Times. He now writes regularly for

A graduate of Princeton University and MIT’s Sloan School of Management, Bill speaks with intellectual authority and real-world experience on how to stand for something extraordinary in a world of hyper-competition and nonstop change, the connection between who you are in the marketplace and how you lead in the workplace, and the importance of making sure that what you know about your field doesn’t limit what you can imagine about the future. Provocative and inspiring, he offers firsthand accounts of how game changers are transforming their companies and shaking up their industries—and insights into how you can do the same in your own organization.

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Chris Thomas Chris Thomas


The Intrepid Agency

Chris Thomas, President, The Intrepid Agency. For more than 25 years, Chris has worked closely with Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, professional sports teams, and even families in crisis. He’s developed dozens of crisis and issues management plans and managed more than 300 crises.

Chris has been named one of the nation’s top crisis communicators by PBI Media, awarded seven Silver Anvils, recognized as Utah’s Professional Communicator of the year and is a recipient of the National Guard’s Minute Man Award. Under his leadership, Intrepid has been named Utah’s top public relations firm 14 times, including the past 11 years straight.

Chris earned a bachelor’s degree in communication from Westminster College and holds a certificate in negotiation from Harvard Law School.   

The Intrepid Agency - Under the guidance of Chris Thomas’s 25 years of expertise, Intrepid has a national reputation for crisis and issues management. They’ve managed more than 300 crises and consulted on countless more.  The Intrepid Agency’s crises & issue management resources include a full array of immediate crises response services as well as resources for proactive crises planning.

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Linda White Linda White

President and CEO

Upward Credit Union

Burlingame, CA

Linda White, CUDE is president and CEO of Upward Credit Union in Burlingame, CA. She recently announced her plans to retire on September 1, 2022.  Linda has been with Upward Credit Union since 1985, and has served as president and CEO of the organization for the past 24 years.

White graduated from Western CUNA Management School (WCMS) in 1990. She also attended   Stanford Executive Development School.

White received the Distinguished Service Award along with the Grassroots Leader of the Year and the Kim Bannan Eternal Flame Award in 2012 and 2018, respectively, honors bestowed by the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues. She became a Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE) in 2019, a special program of the National Credit Union Foundation.

White has been a thought leader throughout the credit union industry, serving on numerous committees with the California Credit Union League, Credit Union National Association (CUNA), CUNA Mutual, and the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI). She is a founding board member of the Healthcare Credit Union Association (HCUA);  a founding member of the Credit Union Women’s Leadership Alliance (CUWLA) and a member of the World Council of Credit Unions’ – Global Woman’s Leadership Network.

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Brenda Worrell Brenda Worrell

Chief Operating Officer

Idaho Central Credit Union

Pocatello, Idaho

Brenda Worrell is the Chief Operating Officer of Idaho Central Credit Union (ICCU), one of the fastest growing credit unions in the country with over 520,000 members and $9 billion in assets. In June  2022, she was selected by the ICCU Board of Directors as the next CEO and will take on her new role at the end of 2022. For the last 26 years, she has had the privilege of being an integral part of ICCU’s significant growth serving in several capacities including Accounting Officer, VP of Operations, Senior Vice President, Executive Vice President, and Chief Operating Officer. In her current position, she oversees Strategic Initiatives, Service Quality, Information Technology, Lending, Commercial Services, Deposit and Card Services, Private Banking, Wealth Management, Insurance Services, HR, branch and call center operations.

Brenda holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and a Master of Business Administration from Idaho State University and is also a Certified Public Accountant. She is an Excellence in Finance award winner and CUES Certified Credit Union Executive.

She serves on the Board of CURQL Collective, a collaborative organization that brings investment capital, credit unions and Fintech together to revolutionize and innovate how people engage with their money. She also serves on the Northwest Credit Union Regulatory Affairs Committee, Idaho Credit Union Governmental Affairs Committee and Southeast Idaho Parade of Homes Committee.

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