Renowned Credit Union Innovator to Join NWCUA as COO

Denise Gabel has been named chief operating officer of the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA), effective Nov. 5, 2012.

Gabel is currently the chief finance and strategy officer at the Filene Research Institute, a credit union industry think tank dedicated to scientific and thoughtful analysis of issues affecting the future of consumer finance. She is responsible for identifying trends and opportunities to bring to the credit union system.

In her new role, Gabel will report directly to Troy Stang, the Association’s president and CEO.

“I’m extremely pleased that Denise will be joining our organization as my executive colleague and second in command,” Stang said. “She shares our passion for a successful credit union movement in the Northwest and will be charged with direct operational oversight of critical services we provide for nearly 200 credit unions in the region. This includes compliance services, training and development, public relations and the Northwest Credit Union Foundation. She will also provide direction to Strategic Link, our service corporation, which leverages cooperative intelligence and provides credit unions with efficient products and services through preferred business solutions.”

Stang noted another priority for Gabel will be working with all credit unions to ensure collaborative engagement and participation.

“It’s going to be wonderful to work with credit unions of all sizes,” Gabel said, “from our largest, such as BECU and OnPoint, to our smaller financial services providers such as Pine Creek Federal Credit Union and Tulip Cooperative Credit Union.”

Gabel’s track record in leadership, innovation, and implementation—both inside and outside the credit union system—is considered first-rate. In her first assignment at Filene, she served as the chief innovation officer and led the prestigious i3 innovation program. The program incubated Debt in Focus, the first concept to go on to commercialization and scale, under her leadership.

“I love to mentor people and help them to create the future,” Gabel said. “The two go hand in hand. People create the future. And the future of credit unions relies on a solid structure. I want to be part of continuing to evolve the framework.”

Gabel also built the collaboration highway with Canadian credit unions and Desjardins, and her fingerprints remain on the successful multi-state Save to Win program, a prize-linked savings program piloted in Michigan that is currently under consideration by credit unions in Washington. And credit unions across the nation are benefiting from Gabel’s efforts to secure a grant to advance the LIFT product, another i3 idea. She was recently named one of the industry first females as a Woman to Watch.

With Gabel on board overseeing the organization’s operations, Stang will remain directly involved in the oversight of the Association’s legislative, regulatory and governmental affairs policy efforts.

“The appointment of Denise as COO will leverage both my experience in public policy work, and her talent in team leadership and innovation. Coupled with the Association’s dedicated team of professionals, our membership will realize the value of association well into the future,” Stang said. “Denise embodies the business acumen and leadership qualities that augment the great success and energy throughout the organization and this region.”

Prior to joining Filene, Gabel, a native of Spokane, Wash., served as vice president of strategic direction for Spokane Teachers Credit Union (STCU). She is a summa cum laude graduate of Eastern Washington University, and a member of the Berkeley Innovation Forum at the University of California Berkeley Haas School of business. She also graduated from Harvard Business School’s Women’s Leadership Forum.

“Denise brings a wealth of experience and a deep understanding of the important role that credit unions play in serving consumers and building a strong economy in the Pacific Northwest,” Stang said. “Her strong leadership abilities, extensive consumer finance experience, and dedication to credit unions and consumers will ensure that the level of service at NWCUA continues to exceed the expectations of the communities we serve. Frankly, there is no better person than Denise to continue to make the credit union system a better place for tomorrow. I am delighted the NWCUA is the next chapter in her journey as we welcome Denise and her husband, Dennis, to the Northwest. I know she will hit the ground running.”

“A new pair of running shoes is already on order,” Gabel confirmed.


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Posted in Events, NWCUA.