Lauren Bethea

Lauren Bethea is an Economic Development Specialist (EDS) for the National Credit Union Administration’s (NCUA) Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives. Lauren began her career with NCUA in April 1997 as an Examiner in Region II after transferring from the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC). In 1999, Lauren was promoted to the EDS position with the responsibility of providing one-on-one consultation, training and recommendations to improve the financial and operational condition of small credit unions.  Lauren has a Philadelphia, PA duty station but works with credit unions nationally.

Lauren is a graduate of Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration and a minor in Economics. Lauren also holds the Credit Union Development Educator and Certified Financial Counselor designations.


Celeste Cook

Celeste Cook is founder and President/CEO of cuStrategies LLC. As a credit union industry strategist, Celeste provides strategic planning services, experienced consulting services, and expert training programs to the credit union industry. In addition to being a consultant and trainer, she is a keynote and motivational speaker with a dynamic and engaging style that have made her highly sought after within the credit union industry.  Celeste has also served as an industry expert, motivational specialist, and keynote speaker for credit union associations and leagues nationwide. Along with being CEO of cuStrategies LLC, she has been involved in the credit union industry for more than 20 years and a professional speaker and trainer for more than 15 years – also working for a $1.6 billion credit union in Atlanta, Georgia, and working as a consultant and trainer with Rex Johnson of Lending Solutions Consulting.  

Celeste’s experienced consulting services and expert training programs/schools have helped credit unions with assets ranging from $20 million to $2 billion. She provides her vast knowledge, innovative ideas, and proven strategies with passion and a dynamic speaking style that is engaging and filled with positive energy! During her career, Celeste has developed, led, and implemented successful training programs, strategies, and initiatives in lending, business development, sales and service, leadership, and performance improvement. She has a definitive focus on loan growth, profitability, membership growth and retention, and member service.


Nicola Foggie

Macintosh HD:Users:nlfoggie:Dropbox (NJCUL):2013 Staff and Board Shots:Foggie, Nicola.jpgWith over 30 years in the financial services industry, Nicola Foggie, CUCE, BSACS, joined the New Jersey Credit Union League in December 2008 as the Director of Compliance. From the Compliance Center, Nicola helps credit unions navigate the complexities of state, federal and regulatory compliance obligations. 

Since 2008, the Compliance Center has increased content and frequency of compliance education and training sessions and created customized training to meet the individual educational needs of credit union staff, management and volunteers. In 2009, under Nicola’s leadership, the Compliance Center successfully launched the Shared Compliance Services Program that provides ongoing, onsite Compliance Specialist support to credit union participants. Also available through the Compliance Center are the ComplianceHelpLine, League InfoSight’s online compliance solutions; InfoSight, CU PolicyPro and ComplySight, all designed to help credit unions manage, track and meet compliance needs, audit responsibilities and to prepare for regulator exams. 

Nicola came to the League from Andrews Federal Credit Union, where she served as New Jersey Regional Manager. Nicola holds a B.S. Degree in Business Administration from Rider University and graduated with honors.  Nicola is a certified Credit Union Compliance Expert (CUCE) and Bank Secrecy Act Compliance Specialist (BSACS). 

Gert Garman

“Gert” Garman is the owner of Broad Perspective, LLC. Previously, she was the Director of the Collaborative Design Center at Valencia College. Prior to that, she was a Creativity and Innovation Catalyst for Disney Destinations, where she facilitated brainstorming sessions and trained fellow Cast Members in Disney’s Innovation Toy Box for the Disney Parks and Resorts worldwide. Gert has a long history of creating immersive experiences and breakthrough thinking results through her work with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and as an Assistant Athletics Director for the University of Central Florida Knights. She is certified as a facilitator in the Creative Problem Solving (CPS), Think X, Four Sight and Five Faces of Genius processes. She regularly attends and speaks at the Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI), Mind Camp and the Florida Creativity Conferences. She graduated from UCF with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism:  Advertising/Public Relations.   


Dr. Michael Hudson

Dr. Michael Hudson is a coach, facilitator, speaker, writer, and ideapreneur. Across the past 31 years he has worked with over 3,000 businesses, including credit unions and credit union associations in virtually every state in the union. He's known for challenging his audiences to think bigger and go further, and for providing practical insight into how they can achieve higher levels of success.


Jim Kasch

Jim has more than twenty years business experience, most of which with credit unions.  His roles range from teller to CEO. He spent more than ten years with Partners Federal Credit Union (formerly Vista FCU) which serves The Walt Disney Company, where he led marketing, business development, sales, and strategic alliances.

In 2010, Jim was hired to be the Chief Executive Officer for Darden Employees Federal Credit Union (DCU), chartered to serve the more than 200,000 employees of Darden Restaurants, Inc. In six months, he and his team built a primarily virtual delivery credit union offering a full suite of products and services.  Since its launch, DCU has more than tripled its asset base, grown 6 times in loan balances, quadrupled income, and grown seven times in members served.

DCU’s unique business model extends to its robust relationship with its sponsor which positions the credit union as a business partner rather than only a service or benefit to employees.  Nearly 90% of Darden employees are Gen X or Gen Y, making DCU’s field of membership one of the youngest and largest in the country.

In 2014, Jim helped orchestrate the merger between DCU and USF Federal Credit Union in Tampa, Florida.  In 2015 he established his own consultancy.


Steve Lavin

In his combined 11 years as head coach at St. John's and UCLA, Lavin led teams to 10 postseason appearances, including eight NCAA Tournament berths and nine seasons of 20 or more wins. Sixteen of his student athletes were drafted by the NBA. Lavin knows a thing or two about recruiting and honing talent.

In his 28th year associated with collegiate athletics, Lavin's impressive list of career experiences also includes Purdue University, ESPN/ABC, Fox Sports and Pac 12 Networks.

As Head Coach of St John's University Men's Basketball program from 2010 to 2015, he led the team to four postseason appearances in four years including 20 or more wins on three occasions, and two NCAA tournament appearances in 2011 and 2015. During coaching tenure at St. John's University, he signed the No. 3 (2011) and No. 8 (2012) ranked recruiting class. Lavin missed the 2011-12 season due to recovery period from cancer treatment. Record at St John's University 81-53.

As Head Coach of UCLA Men's Basketball program from 1996-2003, Lavin led the team to six seasons of 21 or more wins. Under his coaching, the UCLA team advanced to the NCAA tournament in six consecutive seasons ('97, '98, '99, '00, '01, '02). He also directed the Bruins to five NCAA Regional Semifinals in a six-year span ('97, '98, '00, '01, '02). During his coaching tenure at UCLA, he signed two recruiting classes ranked No. 1 in the country. Fourteen of the student athletes were drafted to the NBA. Record at UCLA 145-78.

Michael Neill

Mike, the President and founder of Michael Neill & Associates, Inc., is one of the most sought after speakers in the Credit Union Movement, published researcher and author.  For more than 16 years Mike has worked exclusively with credit unions teaching them how to become more profitable through outstanding leadership, management and Member Experience.  Mike’s clients have won two of the last three NAFCU Credit Union of the Year Awards and 100% of the top five rated credit unions, with regard to both sales and service delivery, are clients.

Prior to starting MNA in 1998, Mike worked as a senior executive where he led the credit union to a number two ranking, in member product penetration and in the top twenty-five in “value to member.”  In addition to an undergraduate degree in Organizational Development, Mike is certified as a Servant Leader, through Gonzaga University, and as an Executive Coach, by the International Coaching Federation.  Mike is closing in on the completion of an M.A. in Organizational Leadership at Gonzaga University.


Dr. Tom Parliment

Dr. Thomas J. Parliment, Chairman & CEO of Parliment Consulting Services, Inc., is an economist and has served as commercial banker, investment banker, consultant and educator to the financial services industry over the past four decades.  He is noted throughout the business community for his speeches and articles covering a wide range of financial and economic issues. His often humorous and always thought-provoking point of view is regularly enjoyed by readers of his numerous articles and through his frequent public appearances.

Dr. Parliment focuses on strategic financial planning to help institutions gain and maintain sustainable superior earnings growth.  His no-holds-barred retail solutions help to enhance community institutions’ franchise value.

He has served as a director on several community bank boards.  As such, his experience as Chairman of Audit, Asset/Liability Management, and Loan Committees makes him familiar with the responsibilities and challenges that directors face today.

Currently, Dr. Parliment is serving as Interim President of a $300 million bank.

Dr. Parliment is a Director of Farin & Associates, Inc., Fitchburg, WI. Farin is a financial services consulting firm that provides asset/liability management solutions, retail product pricing solutions and Web products and services.

Dr. Parliment has served on the faculty of various graduate banking schools. He is a featured speaker at a number of programs sponsored by state, regional and national trade associations. 

Formerly a professor of economics at the University of Wisconsin, Dr. Parliment earned his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from the State University of New York.


Theresa Reinke

Theresa Reinke is an assistant regulatory compliance manager with CUNA Mutual Group. In this role she is responsible for providing mortgage lending regulatory compliance expertise and operational support to credit unions and credit union partners, as well as CUNA Mutual Group staff.

Reinke joined CUNA Mutual Group in 1988 and has held a number of roles in Compliance, Training, Lending Systems, Customer Support, Product Management and Implementation.

Throughout her career at CUNA Mutual Group, Reinke was a nominee in 2009 and a finalist in 2015 for the Values in Practice (ViP) award.

Prior to joining CUNA Mutual Group, Reinke spent 10 years in the financial services industry as a mortgage lender and trainer for mortgage lending software.

She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Economics from the University of Wisconsin – Platteville. She currently holds Life, Health, and Property & Casualty licenses in Wisconsin and the Credit Union Compliance Expert (CUCE) designation, granted by Credit Union National Association (CUNA).


Christine Walters

Ms. Walters has more than 25 years’ combined experience in management, HR administration, employment law practice, and teaching.

She has received national and regional awards, presented at conferences across the country, been engaged as an expert witness for the defense, and testified before U.S. Congressional and state legislative committees and administrative agencies on employment issues. Her book, “From Hello to Goodbye: Proactive Tips for Maintaining Positive Employee Relations” has been one of the publisher’s (SHRM) “Great 8” best-sellers for five consecutive years and is  pre-approved by HRCI for 2.5 continuing education credits!!

Ms. Walters demonstrates her commitment to supporting and advancing the needs and interests of the business community and HR profession by serving in a variety of volunteer leadership roles at the national, state and local levels.

Today Ms. Walters works as an independent consultant providing proactive human resources and employment law consulting services and training programs doing business as FiveL Company, “Helping Leaders Limit their Liability by Learning the Law.”SM


Lee Wetherington

Lee Wetherington, AAP, is Director of Strategic Insight for Jack Henry & Associates® (JKHY: NASDAQ). Lee directs the development of actionable insight and strategy for the financial services industry at large. To this end, he creates programs, presentations, and articles designed to orient and educate financial executives on the trends and implications of new technologies. He routinely delivers keynotes nationwide focusing upon opportunities and challenges in payments and the online/ mobile/social channels, and he is widely renowned for his unique style of comedic delivery.

Lee has delivered over 400 keynotes for state, national, and international trade groups, including the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), American Bankers Association (ABA), Bank Administration Institute (BAI), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), and the National Automated Clearinghouse Association (NACHA). He has served as Technology Faculty Chair for several graduate schools of banking and finance, and has delivered guest lectures on leadership and technology at universities across the country. He was named “Strategic Alliance Executive of the Year” at the 2013 Golden Bridge Awards, which recognizes the world’s top executives across every major industry globally. Lee’s articles and commentary have been published in American Banker, BAI’s Banking Strategies, ABA’s Bank Marketing and ICBA’s Independent Banker.

Lee received bachelor degrees in Economics and English from Duke University in 1990, and, in 1993, he completed graduate studies at Emory University. In 1995, he earned the distinguished Accredited ACH Professional (AAP) certification from the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA).


New Jersey Credit Union League
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