Browse by Type

Blog Post |

Filene Announces 29 Credit Union Innovators Selected for i3 Program

The program’s 19th wave welcomes the next generation of leaders in most competitive year.

Twenty-nine of the credit union industry’s most innovative leaders come together to form the newest cohort of the Filene i3 Program. This year saw the highest number of applications in the program’s 19-year history. Filene i3 is a two-year innovation leadership program equipping top credit union professionals with the mindset, tools, and network to lead and shape the credit union of the 21st Century.

“It is our pleasure to welcome the next generation of credit union leaders into Filene Research Institute’s i3 program,” said Filene’s President & CEO, Mark Meyer. “We are thrilled to have each of these innovators be part of the network of Filene, and we look forward to spending the next two years growing and innovating together with them.”

Joining the ranks of more than 325 credit union leaders already within the Filene i3 community are:

  • Jonathan Best, CUNA Mutual Group
  • Ayaz Bhaiyat, Kinecta FCU
  • Deanna Bublik, American Airlines Federal Credit Union
  • Jason Buchanan, Blue Federal Credit Union
  • Melissa Cade, Chartway
  • Erika Carmichael, Zeal Credit Union
  • Tommy Gasso, Community Financial Credit Union
  • Amanda Hardy, ELGA Credit Union
  • Joshua Houde, Credit Union of Colorado
  • Jill Johnson, Community Financial Credit Union
  • Dana Jones, ELGA Credit Union
  • Fernando Mandujano, Westerra Credit Union
  • Scott Maronic, Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union (PSECU)
  • Jeremy Maurer, Community Choice Credit Union
  • Diana Pham, SchoolsFirst FCU
  • Kevin Porter, Municipal Credit Union
  • Brent Rempe, Allegiance Credit Union
  • Misty Ridenour, Mocse CU
  • Jason Scheopner, Centris Federal Credit Union
  • Derek Smith, Family Focus FCU
  • Joshua Stoltzfus, Redwood Credit Union
  • Michelle Thompson, Financial Plus Credit Union
  • Stefy Tomlin, True Sky Credit Union
  • Jennifer Topzand, Frontwave Credit Union
  • André Walcott, Advantis Credit Union
  • Karlee Wallin, Royal Credit Union
  • Keysha Webb, Vantage West Credit Union
  • Chad Williams, Visions Federal Credit Union
  • Paul Woointranon, Farmers Insurance Federal Credit Union

“These individuals are joining an impressive network of i3 alums and innovators, and we can’t wait to see what they bring to the program,” added Meyer. 

The i3 Program

Through this cohort-based program, participants learn cutting-edge innovation competencies grounded in three core categories. By engaging the diverse perspectives of members, staff, stakeholders, and subject-matter experts to co-create new solutions, participants learn skills essential for facilitating innovation. Through the process of exploring and iterating new ideas to gain insight, reduce risk, and validate solutions, participants become experienced at accelerating learning. Finally, mobilizing people and resources to inspire action is practiced for leading change. 

Filene is THE think tank for the credit union movement, pushing boundaries and perceptions to help credit unions deploy strategies that will truly help their communities.

“Filene is THE think tank for the credit union movement, pushing boundaries and perceptions to help credit unions deploy strategies that will truly help their communities,” said Keysha Webb, VP, Remote Delivery & Innovation at Vantage West Credit Union. “Being afforded the opportunity to learn from a community of like-minded change catalysts is a career highlight I could not pass up. The individuals in the previous cohorts are inspirational people who thrive on bringing change and energy back to their organizations and who set the example for the type of leader I aspire to be.”

Participants create impact through their work in cross-functional teams to explore and address some of credit unions’ most pressing challenges as identified by Filene's Think Tank and backed by research from Filene's Centers of Excellence. View the findings from last year's i3 teams on six complex challenges facing credit unions.

Being around like-minded and like-passion individuals is invigorating. We are making a difference as credit union professionals.

“My career goals are to continue growing with my credit union and having the greatest impact that I can on our members and our employees,” said Josh Houde, Regional Branch Manager at Credit Union of Colorado. “I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in the i3 program after going through the inaugural i2 program last year. Being around like-minded and like-passion individuals is invigorating. We are making a difference as credit union professionals.”

Community Engagement

The new i3 cohort begins a two-year development journey following Filene’s GAC Breakfast later this month, and will present progress-to-date to the credit union industry at Filene’s big.bright.minds in December.

“I am excited to join Filene's i3 program and collaborate with innovative leaders to solve the biggest challenges facing credit unions,” said Scott Maronic, Director of Enterprise Data Analytics & Governance at PSECU. “It's an incredible opportunity to build a network of like-minded individuals and positively impact credit unions and their members.”

Filene i3 Wave 17 completes its second year in the program this year. A ceremony will be held for the graduating i3 class on April 11 with all active i3 participants and their organizations invited join in celebration of Wave 17’s accomplishments. Learn more about the program and learning modules at