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Women's Leadership: Credit Union Leaders Panel: Our Stories

Jun 17 10:30 AM - Jun 17, 2021 12:00 PM
Jun 17, 2021 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
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Ever wonder what it would be like to gather strong, accomplished leaders from various backgrounds across the Credit Union Movement in Wisconsin?

Our panelists will share honest and amazing stories about what they do, how they got there and what hurdles they struggled to overcome (and still meet).

Their straight talk will tell it like it is and let you come away with insights to further your career and a deepen your understanding on the meaning of leadership.



Kathy Blumenfeld

Kathy Blumenfeld, Secretary | Department of Financial Institutions

Kathy is a business leader with extensive experience in diverse areas of the financial-services industry, business and government. In January of 2019, Kathy was appointed by Gov. Tony Evers as Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. 

In her prior role Kathy worked for TASC (Total Administrative Services Corporation) as Executive Vice President of Special Operations. There she oversaw a large federal contract with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and led Business Intelligence and Premium Services teams. Kathy is both a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Project Management Professional (PMP). 

Prior to her position at TASC, Kathy was Vice President of Lending & Payment Security for CUNA Mutual Group, where she worked for 26 years. Among her accomplishments were: growing sales, revenue and profitability in the company’s largest line of insurance; leading strategic corporate initiatives; and conducting Asset/Liability Management consulting and training for credit unions. During her time there she co-founded the Women’s Leadership Network and served on the Diversity and Inclusion Council and the Employee Philanthropy Committee. Kathy also served 10 years on the board of Summit Credit Union, culminating in the role of board chair.

Alex ShadeAlex Shade, Director, Corporate Social Responsibility | CUNA Mutual Group

Alexzandra (Alex) is responsible for leading the strategy and execution of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility programs and initiatives, which includes philanthropic giving, employee volunteering, environmental sustainability, and community relations. She also leads and manages the CUNA Mutual Group Foundation portfolio and investment strategy, and building strategic partnerships throughout the communities we serve.

Alex has a dynamic, diverse, and global background in community development, outreach strategies, philanthropic giving, and innovative programming that has driven powerful change in the communities she has served. Alex has also led and launched various digital and tech initiatives, in addition to spearheading several process and change management solutions. 

Prior to joining CUNA Mutual Group in February 2019, Alex served as the Executive Director of the NWFCU Foundation at Northwest Federal Credit Union in Herndon, VA. Prior to her time at NWFCU, Alex was the National Director of Strategic Alliances for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Director of Development for the Mentor Foundation, and Chief Partnership Officer for the Foundation for Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Val MindakVal Mindak, CEO & President | Park City Credit Union 

Since 2009, Val Mindak has served as Park City’s CEO and President, leading the credit union’s mission of “helping members fulfill their dreams while serving their communities.” Her commitment to bring innovative retail strategies to the organizations 22,000+ members has been the driving force behind Park City’s rapid growth and diverse product offering with assets nearing $300M. This rapid growth and community spirit is what led to PCCU being recognized as the Mid-Size Business of the Year for two years running.

Val earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and Communications with an emphasis in marketing and digital technologies. Val also has received the designation as Certified Chief Executive Officer (CCE) which is the highest designation within our industry. Val has worked for 3 different credit unions over 40 years with a focus on driving retail and digital strategies to advance organizations and their member relationships.  She is a goal-focused and mission-driven leader!

Young professional and women’s leadership opportunities are a passion for Val. She was instrumental in developing the young professional and women’s leadership programs in place within the state that has recruited hundreds of credit union future leaders.

Jami OlcottJami Olcott, President/CEO | Marathon County Employees Credit Union

Jami has over 17 years in The Movement and has been leading her credit union since 2017. She serves on The League's Board of Directors as the YP Adviser. She is also an active participant in the YP Network.

Prior to her current role, she was a Sr. Financial Analyst at CoVantage Credit Union. She has a Bachelor’s Degrees in Accounting and Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point and an MBA from Concordia University. Jami has dedicated her career to the high goals and principles of the Credit Union Movement.


Sarah Ruiz-HarrisonSarah Ruiz-Harrison, Branch Manager | Fox Communities Credit Union

Sarah currently manages 18 employees and oversees the Manitowoc and Two Rivers branch locations. She has over 10 years of managerial experience along with 8 years of active participation with the Credit Union movement. She is passionate about the philosophy of “People helping People” and the political movement within the credit union. In 2020 she was nominated for Young Professional of the year in Manitowoc County. She was also selected as Future 15 rising stars in Manitowoc County. But one of her most recent accomplishments is being able to do reach out to the Latino community about COVID-19 and set up a vaccine clinic to help people of color get vaccinated.

Sarah is the President of the Eastern Shores Chapter, board member of Salvation Army Manitowoc County, and recently appointed by the Mayor of Sheboygan to the Capital Improvements Commission board along with various volunteer groups.

Sarah Wainscott

Sarah Wainscott, Sr. VP of Advocacy | The League

In nearly a decade with The League, Sarah has a wealth of experience in lobbying, grassroots advocacy, and political fundraising. She oversees the Credit Union Activist program, payroll deduction and fundraisers, is credit unions’ spokesperson on policy discussions with legislators and regulators, and offers legislative updates or presentations on the importance of advocacy for credit unions and chapters.

Sarah currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Association of Wisconsin Lobbyists and the American Association of Credit Union League’s Political Involvement & Grassroots Committee. She has a master’s degree in public affairs and a bachelor’s degree in political science and communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 



$249 Regular for Full Series of 3 Sessions (recordings of the sessions will also be provided)

$89 Each Session (save by registering for the full series) 

Additional Info

Check out the final session in this three-part series on October 14.

Event Type


Topics Covered

  • Live Webinars
  • Leadership