WCMS Graduates 89 Professionals; Five from Northwest Receive High Honors

Fifteen Northwest credit union professionals are better prepared to lead the movement after successfully navigating a rigorous three-year program and graduating from the Western CUNA Management School (WCMS). Five of those students further distinguished themselves by graduating with high honors.

The program offers an intense, two-week on campus experience at Pomona College in Claremont, California, each summer for three years. But there is no rest for the weary in the months between classes. While keeping their day jobs in credit unions, the students are accountable for projects and other studies. The curriculum covers strategic planning, operations, finance, marketing, lending, human resources, technology, business development, economics, law, and leadership—just about every aspect of credit union operations an aspiring manager will need to master.

Graduation on July 25 might be the event some would see as “light at the end of the tunnel” but for the students, the light was there all along and always will be moving forward.

“WCMS was an amazing experience and will have a positive impact on the rest of my career,” said Douglas Brisbon, business development manager for Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union (SMCU). Brisbon was a high honors graduate and was elected by his classmates and instructors as the 2013 winner of the Charles M. Clark Memorial Award for excellence. Brisbon noted he learned much more than “just calculating the net worth ratio or return on assets; most importantly WCMS taught us how to use our heads and our hearts, to bring people together for the greater good of credit unions and for our members.”

Nathan Linde, an assistant vice president at Washington State Employees Credit Union (WSECU) also graduated with high honors, and won the school’s prestigious Rick Craig Prize for excellence recognizing his second-year project.

“The biggest lesson I learned at WCMS is that the CU movement is incredibly special and I am so lucky to be a part of it. The credit union industry is full of individuals who are insightful and extraordinarily sharp but most of all have incredible hearts for their members,” added fellow high honors graduate Brandi Gleason, director of member relations at the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA).

Sharon Popp, operations supervisor at Providence Federal Credit Union and recent WCMS graduate encourages other credit union professionals to sign up for the program.

“I would recommend WCMS to anyone who is dedicated to the credit union movement. This is a lifetime opportunity so if you are offered the chance to go—GO! You will meet and network with people that will be your friends for the rest of your life. The networking is extremely valuable to you throughout your whole career. Not only do you learn every aspect of your own credit union, you also learn that there must be collaboration between credit unions if we are all to survive, whether we are big or small. We must work together. I thank my credit union for believing in me.”

The Lambda Class of 2013 participated in another WCMS tradition beyond the classroom rigors—members raised a record $79,000 so that future students could earn scholarships to attend.

The 2013 Northwest WCMS graduates included:

  • Nathan Linde – WSECU
  • Rebecca Bower – BECU
  • Kolin McMann – KBR CU
  • Jody Azevedo – Numerica CU
  • Kelly Richter – Red Canoe CU
  • Doug Brisbon – Seattle Metropolitan CU
  • Lori Glover – Spokane Teachers CU
  • Kristy Rudolph – Spokane Teachers CU
  • Gayle Furness – United Health Services CU
  • Brandi Gleason – NWCUA
  • Michele Johnson – Clackamas FCU
  • Kimo Rosa – Clackamas FCU
  • Wendy Rohrbacker – Pacific Crest FCU
  • Sharon Popp – Providence FCU
  • Rich Scholes – Rogue FCU

Graduating with high honors were:

  • Nathan Linde – WSECU
  • Brandi Gleason – NWCUA
  • Rebecca Bower – BECU
  • Douglas Brisbon – Seattle Metropolitan CU
  • Rich Scholes – Rogue FCU

The Northwest graduates were among 89 who completed the WCMS program this year.


Questions? Contact Lynn Heider: 503.350.2225, lheider@nwcua.org.

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