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Four Virginians Among 29 Credit Union Innovators Selected for Filene's i3 Program


The program’s 20th wave welcomes the next generation of leaders.

Madison, Wis. – Twenty-nine of the credit union industry’s most innovative leaders come together to form the newest cohort of the Filene i3 Program. This latest cohort includes four credit union professionals from Virginia-based credit unions. In its 20th year, the prestigious program experiences heightened demand and intensified competition, as an increasing multitude of exceptional credit union professionals submit their applications every year. Filene i3 is a two-year innovation leadership program equipping top credit union professionals with the mindset, tools, and network to lead and shape the credit union of the 21st Century.

“Through the i3 program, we're crafting a hub of innovation where emerging credit union leaders converge to solve pressing challenges with tomorrow's solutions,” stated Megan Freshour, Filene’s Incubation Director. “Leveraging Filene's comprehensive research and a network of passionate innovators, our participants are equipped to drive transformative change. As they forge ahead, creating prototypes and piloting initiatives, they're not just participants—they're pioneers shaping the future of financial services for communities nationwide.”

Joining the ranks of 355 credit union leaders already within the Filene i3 community are:

  • Brady Abbas, Central Willamette Credit Union
  • Jason Allen, Redwood Credit Union
  • Erling Amundson, Langley Federal Credit Union
  • Lindsay Beyer, Fox Communities Credit Union
  • Zenesha Boney, Chartway Credit Union
  • Dana Brock, Chartway Credit Union
  • Tyler Brooks, EFCU Financial Federal Credit Union
  • Melissa Brown, American Airlines Credit Union
  • Filip Danielewicz, Michigan State University Federal Credit Union
  • Hawk Ehnes, PSCU
  • Angela Finn, Commodore Perry Federal Credit Union
  • Kyle Gilliland, Elevations Credit Union
  • Justin Haun, Community Financial Credit Union
  • Jessi Idol, Truliant Federal Credit Union
  • Chris Kelley, Altra Federal Credit Union
  • Jeremy Maxey, Farmers Insurance Federal Credit Union
  • Jamie Meyer, Heartland Credit Union
  • Maria Montoya, FirstLight Federal Credit Union
  • Karen Myers, Community Choice Credit Union
  • Meredith Nicholoff, Michigan State University Federal Credit Union
  • Armand Parvazi, New Orleans Firemen's Federal Credit Union
  • Ryan Pederson, Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union
  • Carolyn Reou, ELGA Credit Union
  • Taci Rose, Fort Still Federal Credit Union
  • Carrie Shaffer, State Department Federal Credit Union
  • Patricia Tomanguilla, University of Wisconsin Credit Union
  • Jenn Truxell, Community Financial Credit Union
  • Shauna Vasquez, Tucson Federal Credit Union
  • Jesse Wanning, Cobalt Credit Union

Through this cohort-based program, participants learn cutting-edge innovation competencies grounded in three core categories. By engaging the diverse perspectives of members, staff, stakeholders, and subject-matter experts to co-create new solutions, participants learn skills essential for facilitating innovation. Through the process of exploring and iterating new ideas to gain insight, reduce risk, and validate solutions, participants become experienced at accelerating learning. Finally, mobilizing people and resources to inspire action is practiced for leading change.

“As a credit union intern nearly two decades ago, my mentor would often hand me Filene publications, each highlighted and noted with her takeaways from the readings,” said Ryan Pederson, Senior Software Engineer Manager at Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union. “I was captivated by the depth of knowledge and innovative ideas shared within those pages. The highlight of my year was always the unveiling of new concepts by i3 participants, ideas that promised to enhance our cooperative movement. Now, I find myself both humbled and honored to join the ranks of these innovators as an i3 member. I am eager to build upon the legacy of innovation that has been a hallmark of the i3 program, contributing my own ideas to help propel the credit union movement forward.”

Participants create impact through their work in cross-functional teams to explore and address some of credit unions’ most pressing challenges as identified by Filene's Think Tank and backed by research from Filene's Centers of Excellence. View the findings from last year's i3 teams on five complex challenges facing credit unions.

Patricia Tomanguilla, Director of Consumer Lending Systems at the University of Wisconsin Credit Union, stated, “It’s not just about being selected—it’s about being part of a community dedicated to making a real difference in the credit union industry. It’s a platform where like-minded professionals come together to collaborate, share knowledge, and tackle challenges head-on. I'm excited about the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally, to lead initiatives, and to be part of something bigger than myself.”

The new i3 cohort begins a two-year development journey following Filene’s GAC Breakfast next week, and will present progress-to-date to the credit union industry at Filene’s big.bright.minds. in November. Join us on 3/26 (part one) and 3/28 (part two) where i3 graduates from waves 18 and 19 will share the prototypes that they’ve been building and testing to address the biggest challenges facing credit unions and their members. Registration coming soon at filene.org/events.

About Filene: Filene Research Institute strengthens organizations through innovative research and incubation to improve consumer financial well-being. As an independent cooperative finance think tank, Filene’s membership network connects a community of leaders and bright minds to change lives through innovation, truth and cooperation. In addition to delivering cutting-edge, actionable academic research, Filene also provides incubators to test and scale solutions, events to spark organizations into action and advisory services to help accelerate and implement innovation. For more information, visit filene.org and @fileneresearch.

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