Who Are Your Credit Union’s Future Leaders?

Theresa Witham, managing editor and publisher at CUES
Theresa Witham Photo
Managing Editor/Publisher

2 minutes

From the editor

CUES CEO John Pembroke regularly visits with credit union leaders, always asking, “What keeps you up at night?” The two most common responses, as he notes in his latest column (find it on Jan. 11 at, are technology and talent development.

It seems credit union CEOs are not alone in their worry. The 2018 Talent Shortage Survey from Manpower Group reports a global talent shortage affecting almost every industry: 45 percent of employers can’t find the skills they need. Managerial and executive positions are among the top 10 most difficult-to-fill roles in the U.S., while in Canada, IT experts and other professionals rank in the top 10.

If the talent shortage is already affecting your credit union, or you expect it to be a problem in the near future, start addressing the issue by developing the talent present within your organization. In our cover story, “Help Them Be Star Leaders,” we highlight several credit unions that excel at identifying and developing their high-potential employees.

One example in the feature is the award-winning IGNITE Leadership Program developed in-house at $965 million Honor Credit Union, Berrien Springs, Michigan. “It is a robust program that takes our new leaders through leadership engagement, where we cover such areas as emotional intelligence and crucial conversations, and we also take them through a coaching event that identifies key components that we’re trying to help them develop,” explains Charley Shasky, the CU’s organizational development manager.

At $2.6 billion Apple Federal Credit Union in Fairfax, Virginia, talent development efforts—including a leadership program and an internal university—have helped the CU fill job openings with internal talent. Between 2013 and 2017, almost two-thirds of open managerial jobs were filled with internal candidates.

This month we also profile the 2018-2019 CUES chair, Stewart Ramsey, CCD, CCE, CIE, CEO of $1.4 billion Pen Air Federal Credit Union in Pensacola, Florida, whose collaborative leadership style strikes me as ideal for developing leaders. “I am not a singular decision leader,” Ramsey says. “My leadership is very much collaborative. I like input and feedback and contact and engagement from staff. Generally that works out well. … I think you get much more buy-in when you engage your team in the decision-making process.”

One of Pen Air FCU’s four key values is employee commitment to expanding knowledge by constantly learning and improving. Ramsey, as a graduate of three CUES Institute programs, has ensured that commitment starts at the top. Read more about him in "Building a Culture of Collaboration".

Happy 2019, CUES members! I wish you and your credit union a wonderful New Year. I hope it involves growth for your organization and your staff. (Our new CUES memberships can help with both!) As always, don’t hesitate to reach to me with feedback and ideas at

Theresa Witham
Managing Editor/Publisher

YOUR THOUGHTS: How does your credit union support its future leaders? Email your answer to

CUES Learning Portal