CUES Symposium: Credit Union Leaders Chart a Course for Change—and for Continuity  

Heather McKissick at CUES Symposium

3 minutes

CUES CEO Heather McKissick stresses the importance of transformative leadership. 

Can credit unions remain true to their “people-first" identity while leaping into the future?  

According to CUES CEO Heather McKissick, I-CUDE, speaking to a crowd of credit union CEOs and board chairs at CUES Symposium Monday in Nassau, Bahamas, the answer is a resounding “yes”—but it requires both the “courage to change” and the “courage to stay the same." 

The industry stands at a critical juncture, McKissick said. From an operational standpoint, our industry is going through great momentous changes, including mergers, rapidly changing technology, shifting demographics and intensifying competition demanding swift adaptation. Clinging to traditional methods won't suffice.  

"Our competitors are not who they used to be—Wal-Mart and Cash App are our competitors, and they are blazing trails," she challenged, urging leaders to "leapfrog" outdated practices and embrace innovation.  

McKissick also emphasized the critical role up-and-coming credit union leaders will play in the industry’s future, saying today’s leaders must equip, empower and prepare them to be leaders of integrity.  

CUES, McKissick said, is here to support and empower this transition. 

“I believe that together we can transform our industry through the power of leadership development and by developing the next generation of credit union leaders who will carry our movement forward from a position of strength,” she said. “And that starts with listening.” 

When McKissick joined CUES as its CEO in August 2023, one of the first tasks on her agenda was to ask CUES members and stakeholders for their feedback.  

The message was clear: level up leadership development and member service, and embrace the tech revolution, personalization and partnerships.  

Heather McKissick networking
Heather McKissick (middle) listens to conference participants at CUES Symposium this week.

McKissick expressed a dedication to becoming a guiding force and a genuine collaborator within the movement. CUES is strengthening its ties across the movement to engage in collaborative efforts, foster innovation and establish partnerships with CUSOs, system partners and other credit union-serving organizations.  

But navigating change isn't enough by itself. McKissick acknowledged the equal importance of possessing the "courage to stay the same," paying tribute to past CUES leaders and the organization's unwavering dedication to its members. 

"I can promise you that CUES will have one foot firmly planted in who we are now," McKissick said, "even as we pivot and put a new foot forward into an exciting future. The courage to change is necessary, and the courage to stay the same is vital. In this, too, CUES will walk the walk with you.”  

McKissick concluded by thanking members for their trust and expressing how honored she feels to join them on this leadership journey.  

With a nod to the Bahamian coat of arms and its motto “Forward Upward Onward Together,” she infused the room with optimism, leaving no doubt that CUES and the credit union movement are poised to meet the future with both the courage to change and the commitment to stay true to their core values. 

CUES is the leading talent development solutions provider for credit unions in North America. We educate, develop and support credit union CEOs, executives, directors, and emerging leaders through partnerships with premier business schools, live and online events, digital learning, networking, and premium content. With over 50,000 members and growing, we measure success one leader at a time. 

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