Keynote Speaker: René Rodriguez
René Rodriguez is entertaining, but he is NOT an entertainer. His clients describe him as “powerful”, “thought provoking”, and “authentic”. They say things like, “you could hear a pin drop as everyone was so captivated.” Rene’s engaging speaking style, backed by his scientific approach, makes him a top-rated speaker at every event.
For the last 20 years, René has researched and applied behavioral neuroscience as a dynamic keynote speaker, leadership advisor, world-class sales expert, and renowned speaker coach. Yet, he believes that we are only scratching the surface of what is possible and that every profession can benefit from fully engaging the human mind/brain.
His company has trained more than 100,000 people in applying behavioral psychology and neuroleadership methodologies to solve some of the toughest challenges in leadership, sales and change. As an entrepreneur and CEO of multiple companies, Rene brings a practical business approach while inspiring his audiences to take action. He helps leaders create influence, transformation, and immediate results in their business and personal life. René connects company vision and strategy to fundamental and applicable neuroscience in a way that empowers anyone to engage with courage and grace.
He has been named to the 40 under 40 list for 7 years straight and has been a trusted adviser to leadership teams at Coca-Cola, 3M, Medtronic, Nestle’, Microsoft, Bank of America, and Cargill. He was featured on the Cover of the Niche Report Magazine and has authored dozens of magazine articles.
A captivating, high-energy speaker, René is in high demand for annual events, conventions, and keynote speeches. He has shared the stage with the likes of Tony Robbins, George W. Bush, Magic Johnson, Ken Blanchard, and Jeffery Gitomer to name a few.
Cassandra Skidanov is an Affordable Lending Manager in the Single-Family division. The Affordable Lending team is committed to ensuring Freddie Mac has the offerings to support responsible lending and provide sustainable homeownership, and to improve access to credit for all borrowers.
Mrs. Skidanov supports both sales and lending partners to develop and execute seller plans for meeting affordable lending, community outreach and CRA goals. In addition, she also provides market data and practical knowledge to those intent on creating affordable lending opportunities in America.
After building a 15-year career in mortgage, real estate, and community relations, Mrs. Skidanov joined Freddie Mac in 2018 to continue her dedication of supporting democracy in housing and increasing production and sourcing in at risk areas including multicultural and low-to-moderate-income segments.
Guest Speaker: Patrick Adams
Patrick is beginning his 42nd year with the credit union movement and has worked for St. Louis Community Credit Union for the past
31 years. Patrick was appointed CEO/President of St. Louis Community Credit Union in January 2008. The credit union has witnessed substantial growth while maintaining high levels of financial strength. Currently, SLCCU enjoys being the 8th largest credit union in the metropolitan St. Louis area (including Southern Illinois) and stands at the highest level of name recognition/brand awareness among St. Louis city residents.
St. Louis Community Credit Union is the 6th largest in member count serving 58,000 plus members. The credit union is a Community Development Financial Institution focusing on serving the stressed and distressed communities of St. Louis City and near County. The credit union em
ploys 185 people, 90% of which reside in those same stressed and distressed communities. With the credit union’s 17th branch, SLCCU has an office within two miles of 98% of the St. Louis City population.
Patrick has spoken worldwide with companies for over 25 years. Based on your mood, Patrick is either motivating or aggravating. His presentations are informative and urge people to have the “ah-ha” moments that lead to success.
Guest Speaker: Tracy Ashfield
Tracy Ashfield is President of Ashfield & Associates, a consulting and training firm that assists credit unions with mortgage lending strategy, development, policies, product design, training, and strategic planning. Tracy also works with the NCUA and NASCUS to provide training and education on residential mortgage lending for examiners and regulators.
Since 2001, Tracy’s consulting work has benefited credit unions and their members. She has worked with the largest mortgage-granting credit unions to enhance their programs, and she has helped credit unions new to mortgage lending establish programs. Her recommendations have propelled her clients to become efficient, profitable real estate lenders.
Through customized training programs, Tracy also delivers hands-on, results-driven curriculums to help credit unions find lending opportunities, manage their operations and develop strategies to become their members’ trusted advisor for real estate lending products and services.
Tracy has more than 25 years of experience in Mortgage Banking management. Before forming Ashfield & Associates she held a variety of management positions in the credit union industry. She was the Senior Executive, Mortgage Development at CUNA Mutual; the Senior Vice President of Operations of CUNA Mortgage Corporation, and she also worked with CMG Mortgage Insurance Company.
Guest Speaker: Mike Lawson
Mike Lawson is a former editor/reporter for various news publications in and around the San Diego area: Copley News Service, San Diego Union-Tribune, SURFING Magazine, etc. Following his time as a journalist, he was introduced to the intricacies of the credit union industry working for Symitar Systems as the Marketing Communications Coordinator. He soon discovered how unique credit unions are — actually helping each other instead of outright competing.
After working at Symitar for nearly a decade, he ventured into the semiconductor industry where he learned a tremendous amount about international marketing working with such companies as Intel, Motorola, Kyocera, Samsung, etc. But he soon found that he missed the humble, close-knit community of credit unions. So he founded the marketing firm DML Communications that focuses on helping credit union industry organizations better market themselves. We’ve been going strong now for almost 10 years — and enjoying every minute of service.
He also found that he still enjoyed interviewing people: credit unions, vendors, association leaders, members, etc. He also likes to work with video and technology. He married the two and started the industry’s first online interview show: CUbroadcast.
In my “spare” time he teaches media relations at University California at San Diego and speaks on various journalism, PR, marketing, and social media topics to credit union industry organizations nationwide.
Jill Nowacki started her career with credit unions in 2001. She has taken on leadership roles at credit unions and state and national trade associations, most recently serving as the President/CEO of the Credit Union League of Connecticut. In 2019, Jill founded Humanidei, a human capital strategies firm that helps credit unions build inclusive cultures that attract, develop, and retain today’s workforce.
By strategically addressing the value of human capital, credit unions can create environments where people bring their best, authentic selves to work; resulting in diversity in thought, increased innovation, stronger succession planning, and ultimately: Relevant, growing credit unions that expand the economic capacity of the members and communities they serve.
Throughout her career, Jill has worked with credit union leadership across the country to introduce business and human capital strategies that lead to growth. She is a sought-after speaker and thought leader on the topics of leadership, diversity, and strategic planning.
Jill holds a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Montana and a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Public Relations from Carroll College (Helena, Montana). She is a certified International Credit Union Development Educator and a Certified Association Executive.
Guest Speaker: Karen Purvis
Imagine a speaker who provides inspiring, interactive programs filled with evidence-based content and immediate take-aways. Visualize your audience engaged, energized and laughing. Award-winning International Speaker Karen E. Purves M.A. has built a solid client base providing these results for nearly 20 years! Karen blends relatable stories, leading-edge research and proven solutions to impact your attendees so they can leave a program saying their time was truly well spent. In the last decade, neuroscience has made incredible strides in understanding how the results of communication affect others’ thoughts, emotions, and responses. As a communication expert specializing in Interpersonal Neurobiology principles and affective neuroscience findings, Karen shares instantly usable tips for communication via email, phone and in-person, both internally with staff or externally for customer service, sales or marketing.
Karen combines a Bachelor’s Degree in Business, Master’s Degree in Public Policy and over 25 years of business experience along with extensive training at “The Second City” to leave audiences feeling energized, inspired and empowered. Karen also has the rare distinction of being a 3-time game show winner! These accomplishments allow Karen to connect with audiences as few others can.
Guest Speaker: Doug Smith
Doug Smith is president of Douglas Smith & Associates based in Asheville, North Carolina. He is a 36-year banking and mortgage industry veteran, a nationally-acclaimed speaker, author, and sales training expert.
Doug has worked successfully in mortgage loan origination, sales management, marketing, advertising, training, professional speaking and performance coaching. He has delivered more than 2,000 presentations and workshops for mortgage lenders across the country including a presentation at the 2019 CUNA National Convention.
Doug Smith has published over 300 feature articles in national business magazines and is the author of the books Climbing the Ladder of Success and Green Zone Selling.