A Designation Like CCE or CIE Means Learning Went Deep

flippers on a deep sea diver
Jennifer Stangl Photo
Director of Professional Development

3 minutes

Those letters behind a person’s name don’t simply acknowledge attendance, but rather recognize knowledge and the ability to apply it.

CCE, CIE … You’ve likely seen these prestigious letters after a name in an email signature, and you may even have some of your own. These letters indicate a designation earned through participation in a program of work. 

A designation isn’t simply an acknowledgment that you attended a course or program. A designation recognizes knowledge gained and an individual’s ability to apply that knowledge to the industry. It demonstrates commitment, focus and a desire to grow and develop. 

Today’s business climate requires individuals to build knowledge and skills to operate in this VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world. Programs that offer a designation provide the chance to support your creativity, openness and agility through hands-on experiences.  

CUES is proud to offer credit union industry leaders an opportunity to do just that through attendance at its institutes. The Certified Chief Executive (CCE) designation can be earned through attendance at all three CEO Institutes, plus completing two between-segments projects. The Certified Innovation Executive (CIE) designation is earned through completion of the Strategic innovation Institute and associated coursework.  

CUES member Heather Meaker, CIE, director of innovation at $3.6 billion Virginia Credit Union, Richmond, earned her desgination in 2017. Meaker says she appreciated the program’s “focus on structuring innovation within a company and the associated potential challenges. At the same time, hands-on work using new techniques to identify and refine ideas increased my toolkit of skills.”

Meaker thinks her experience at the Strategic Innovation Institute advanced the maturity of the innovation program at her CU. “The new approaches have increased the speed of idea evaluation for the innovation team, and we are working to share these benefits with other areas.”

Brian Hamilton, VP/innovation at CUES Supplier member CU Direct, a CUSO in Irvine, California, earned his CIE last year. He says that “the construct of our innovation center is partly credited to the CUES CIE, and how the organization approaches ‘innovation’ is greatly attributed to the learnings from” CUES Strategic Innovation Institute.

In looking to build strong organizational value, both CU Direct and Virginia CU have had multiple staff members earn the CIE designation. For example, CUES member Chris Saneda, COO at Virginia CU, earned the CIE designation in 2015, and recommended the course to Meaker. Hamilton underscored the “value in having several stakeholders go through the same program,” noting the benefit of creating a consistent knowledgebase within CU Direct. 

As you would with any professional development opportunity that requires resources, consideration should be given to the time and energy involved in earning a designation. Be sure to understand the expectations and weigh that with the value gained. 

Meaker recommends that those thinking about participating in a program “expect to be all-in—it’s an intensive program, and well worth it. While a week-long training is a significant commitment, the value gained for yourself and others as you share your learning is far-reaching.”

Earning a designation is an investment in your future and that of your organization. Such programs as the CUES institutes leading to designations not only deepen an individual’s expertise, but help to bring insights, lessons and opportunities back to the workplace.

Jennifer Stangl is CUES’ director of professional development.

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