Vote Now for the Northwest’s Next Emerging Credit Union Leader

One has worked at her credit union for eight years, rising from high school intern to teller to accounting/compliance specialist. Another has taken on a variety of leadership roles at three Northwest credit unions, and a third is a relative newcomer to the movement after working as a firefighter and international sales manager.

A diverse group, to be sure, but they do have one thing in common: Tiffany Pillars, Janell Saavedra and Jeremy Sankwich are all finalists in the Northwest Credit Union Association’s 2014 Emerging Leaders Scholarship Contest, and they’d all like your vote. The winner will receive free tuition to a program that includes nine days of face-to-face training, several months of project work, one-on-one coaching, and mentoring focused on nurturing the credit union leaders of tomorrow.

Online voting is open now and will continue through Jan. 31. You can learn more about each of the finalists on the NWCUA’s website, where you’ll also find links to YouTube videos they created to introduce themselves.

The winner of the scholarship, valued at $2,650 and sponsored by the NWCUA’s Strategic Link subsidiary, will be announced on Feb. 3.

Tiffany Pillars

Tiffany Pillars is the accounting/compliance specialist at Providence Federal Credit Union, where she helped implement a new accounts payable feature that streamlined and simplified the credit union’s processes and procedures. A recent graduate of Warner Pacific College, Pillars says she enjoys learning and sees the Emerging Leaders Program as a way to grow personally and professionally. Providence Federal expects her to return from the program with a new outlook on her career and a plan for the direction she’d like to take at the credit union, she says, and the lessons she learns “will help me continue to develop into a truly effective leader.”

Watch Pillars’ Video Here

Janell Saavedra

Janell Saavedra is a lending support manager at Northwest Community Credit Union. She began her credit union career at Pentagon Federal and then moved to BECU; she joined Northwest Community almost 10 years ago. Saavedra took on leadership roles at each stop, she says, whether as a peer leader or in a supervisory position, and she believes the Emerging Leaders Program will help her reach her full potential as a credit union leader, a nonprofit volunteer and as a parent. “I want to have a life-long impact not just on my own career, but also as an example for, and mentor to, others. The skills learned in this class will help me grow in all of the roles that I play in life.”

Watch Saavedra’s Video Here

Jeremy Sankwich

Jeremy Sankwich is a mortgage relationship officer at Verity Credit Union, where he launched and continues to manage a real estate referral program. Sankwich joined Verity in April 2013 after working as a firefighter in California, an international sales manager in the Middle East and China, and a business development director for a Seattle high-tech startup. One of the goals he set for himself at Verity, he says, was to seek out an intensive, hands-on training program that would prepare him for an executive-level position at the credit union. With the help of the Emerging Leaders Program, he says, “I will become a far more resourced and prepared leader for Verity.”

Watch Sankwich’s Video Here

You can read more about the finalists at the NWCUA’s website. To vote for your favorite, go here.

The 2014 Emerging Leaders Program will take place in three sessions: March 26-28, June 4-6 and Sept. 17-19. All three sessions will take place at the NWCUA Conference Center in SeaTac, Wash. For an overview of the program, including a list of speakers, hotel accommodations and registration information, go to


Questions? Contact Gary Stein: 503.350.2216,

Posted in Events, Federal.