The CUaware Blog
Blog Home All Blogs
The goal of the CUaware Council is to informally introduce all levels of credit union employees (and industry folks) to the CU Movement so we can all learn, share and grow. Here is where we will share personal insights on subjects related to the credit union movement, career development, industry expertise, CUaware events, and more. Subscribe today to be notified each time we post. Happy Reading!


Search all posts for:   


Top tags: CUaware  Protégé  career development  Mentorship  Podcast  learn  networking  Protégé and Beyond  volunteerism  Coastal Credit Union  Carolinas Credit Union Foundation  CUaware Protégé Mentor program  SC Federal CU  advocacy  Credit Union Development Educators  CUDE  Greenville FCU  Heritage Trust FCU  Local Government FCU  Piedmont Chapter  SC State Credit Union  SC Telco FCUCoastal Credit Union  SECU  Upstate Chapter 

CUaware premieres new ‘Protégé & Beyond’ blog series ft. past competition finalists

Posted By CUaware, Wednesday, July 25, 2018

In coordination with the kickoff for the 2019 CUaware Protege Competition season, the CUaware Council is excited to premiere its new blog series called "Protégé & Beyond." The series features interviews with former competition finalists, giving them a platform to share what they learned during and after the program.

"It's part 'where are they now' and part 'pay it forward,' said Coastal Credit Union's Sara Portis, the brainchild of the interview series. "We are pleased so many former finalists have taken to this idea and look forward to hearing what each of them have to share on their experience and where life has taken them post-protégé."

Dizzy Felkel and SPC CU staff from 2012
Dizzy Felkel (center), who worked at SPC Credit Union at the time, competed in the first year of the Protégé Competition in 2012 to become the first-place winner. Since then, he's returned from time to time to share his insight with professionals in the credit union movement through various League and chapter events.

The interview series will be posted monthly throughout the 2019 competition cycle. The first episode premiered this week on the CUaware Podcast and features the "OG" Dizzy Felkel, who won the inaugural protégé competition in 2012.

In the interview, led by Coastal Credit Union's Sara Portis and Phil Kadzielawski, Dizzy touched on a variety of subjects including what it was like being among the first to compete in the program, how to prepare to compete, and the importance of taking advantage of this platform and unique opportunity.

"I owe a whole lot to that competition," said Felkel. "The people at the manager [from SPC Credit Union] at the time. A lot of people invested in me and believed in me and it opened up a lot of doors for me, and it's led to a lot of cool things in life. That's why I dwell so much on 'make the most of it' because I'm living proof that this can change a life."


Special Thanks to our Featured Protégé!

Dizzy Felkel has a passion for serving the credit union industry, which has offered him incredible opportunities over the years. He works at Jack Henry & Associates under the Symitar division, where he focuses on small and mid-sized credit unions. He also offers training and public speaking services under his personal brand.

Dizzy holds the honor of winning the inaugural CUaware Protégé Competition in 2012. Educationally speaking, he holds an MBA from North Greenville University and is a graduate of the Southeast CUNA Management School. Dizzy resides near Charlotte with his wife and daughter.

Tags:  career development  Coastal Credit Union  CUaware  learn  networking  Podcast  Protégé  Protégé and Beyond 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

CUaware Podcast: New episode focuses on blockchain, Real Talk with Dr. Troy

Posted By Courtney Jackson, Thursday, May 31, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, July 24, 2018

“CUaware Podcast” co-hosts Paul Narcisse and Phil Kadzielawski have returned with a new episode for May that takes listeners on a deeper dive into blockchain technology and how it may be used in the U.S. election process.

Referencing an article from NPR, Phil notes how the U.S. election system is still vulnerable to cyber-attacks and how blockchain technology has the potential to deter these kinds of attacks in the future while restoring voter confidence.

An illustration of the differences between a traditional database and blockchain. Source: Faizod 

“A proper blockchain solution for voting, would be a trustless immutable ledger that would lead to increased confidence,” shares Kadzielawski. “By moving voting to blockchain solutions, there would be no single third-party…that holds the one copy of our records. Blockchain is itself, a transparent ledger of information.”

What is a “trustless” immutable ledger, you may ask? Find out more by listening to the "Blockchain Bit" at the 7:05 mark.

Later in the episode, South Carolina Federal Credit Union’s Troy Hall returns to get into the “meat and potatoes” of mentoring through the prism of his success model in the “Real Talk with Dr. Troy” segment.

In part one of five in this segment, Troy focuses on the first ground rule in the mentoring success model: Declaring the mentee/mentor relationship as a collaboration between two people. An agreement where both parties acknowledge they need each other. Often times, it can be perceived that the mentor doesn’t get much out of the experience but Dr. Troy cautions against that kind of thinking.

“As a leader, one of the important characteristics of leadership is to be teachable,” shares Hall. “I have to enter the space saying ‘I have more to learn than just my 10,000 hours of practice.’ Think about it, how awkward would it be going into a relationship where the other person doesn’t need you? That doesn’t even make sense.”

Hear more from “Real Talk with Dr. Troy” at the 22:28 mark.

The full podcast episode is available on CUaware’s podcast page or on iTunes here. Lastly, if you have a podcast topic or suggestion, please contact Paul, Phil or Jeff Hardin using the email links on the podcast page.

Tags:  CUaware  Mentorship  Podcast 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

CUaware goes back to its roots, talks rise of blockchain and more in April podcast

Posted By Courtney Jackson, Thursday, April 5, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, July 24, 2018

“CUaware Podcast” hosts Paul Narcisse and Phil Kadzielawski have returned with a new episode for April that takes listeners back to CUaware’s roots as they interview the council’s co-founders Brandon McAdams and Patrick Livingston of Coastal Credit Union. The podcast episode also includes a segment on the rise of blockchain technology and the premiere of “Real Talk with Dr. Troy” led by SC Federal Credit Union COO Troy Hall.

McAdams and Livingston, tasked with a follow-up project as part of the CUDE certification program, started CUaware back in 2011 with a simple premise to fill a gap that exists within the credit union industry: staff often not knowing what makes credit unions and cooperatives unique and special. So, they started to host afterhours meetups to bring credit union professionals in the Triangle together for networking and knowledge exchange.

Coastal Credit Union's Patrick Livingston (left) and Brandon McAdams (right) were honored with the 2014 Cooperative Spirit Award by the National Credit Union Foundation for creating CUaware. Photo credit: Coastal CU

“We reached out to folks that were DE graduates in the area as well as people that we worked with and brought them in and said, ‘hey, we’re going to be at a local watering hole after work, just come and talk,” recalled McAdams.

“We also started off with buy-in from folks,” Livingston added. “Working with our management team and other credit unions’ management teams, and saying, ‘this is something that you want to participate in.’ So, it became an opportunity for real networking to happen.”

Later in the interview McAdams reflected on the growth of the CUaware Council, remarking on how they quickly realized this program had great potential to expand and make even more of an impact on the lives of professionals in the Carolinas and beyond.

“Once we realized that people were coming back and people in other areas wanted something similar, we realized that…the two of our efforts weren’t enough to keep up with demand," said McAdams. "We needed some funding, to expand out and we looked at each other realizing, this was that next step. Now, we have the League involved, CEOs coming and we have a lot of people’s attention and we don’t want to mess up."

CUaware today has five active regional councils in both states, hosting events throughout the year focused on four central themes: education, volunteerism, protégé, and advocacy. The League’s existing Protégé Competition was also added to the CUaware “family” in 2014 and has since expanded, adding a Protégé Mentor program for sustained career development for CU professionals of all ages.

Kadzielawski and Narcisse are both past participants in the Protégé programs, and have shared in a past episode the impact these CUaware programs have had on their own careers and lives.

For McAdams and Livingston, CUaware was among their first experiences serving in a strong leadership role at a time when their careers were just beginning. And from then to now, they carry the lessons of that experience into their roles at the credit union today.

“In my role at the time, I was not managing anybody or had a marketing background,” McAdams continued. “CUaware was an opportunity for me to lead and show a different skill set. It’s not just a networking opportunity.”

“It’s allowed me to explore creativity [at my job] in way that’s better than what it would have been without the experience of going through that,” Livingston added.

Listen to the full interview and more on CUaware’s podcast page or access the podcast on iTunes here. Lastly, if you have a podcast topic or suggestion, please contact Paul, Phil or Jeff Hardin using the email links on the podcast page.

Tags:  Coastal Credit Union  Credit Union Development Educators  CUaware  CUDE  Podcast  Protégé 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

CUaware Councils target Education, Concern for Community in April events

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Friday, May 5, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, July 24, 2018
 The CUaware Lowcountry Council learned about the Victory Junction Reach Program, and built birdhouses in support of the Reach mission (view more photos here.).  

The Triad and Lowcountry Councils of CUaware mixed education, volunteerism and fun during their recent April events! Triad area participants learned about credit unions and cooperation from a member's perspective, while the Lowcountry attendees learned about the Victory Junction Reach Program of the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation (CCUF). 

The Triad hosted its event at Piedmont Advantage Credit Union, with Fentress Gerald as the featured speaker. Gerald is a member of State Employees' Credit Union who serves as an Advisory Board volunteer. SECU has Advisory Boards at each of its branches. These volunteers meet quarterly to discuss issues relative to their branches and provide recommendations for improvement of services and procedures.

Nearly 40 people attended the event on April 26, and learned insights from Gerald about credit unions from a member's perspective. Attendees also enjoyed lunch and a time of networking. 

Meanwhile 40 people gathered in the Lowcountry on Tuesday morning, April 25 to learn about the Reach program. Lauren Whaley of the Carolinas CU Foundation and Jonathan Lemmon of Victory Junction shared the impact of Reach and the credit union movement's impact. The event took place at the Rivers Avenue location of South Carolina Federal. 

Reach is made possible by an exclusive partnership between Victory Junction and the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation. The support of the credit union industry brings specialized camp-style programming to children and families year round outside the gates of Victory Junction.

Having heard the message, the Lowcountry attendees got to work in support of Reach! The group built birdhouses that will be used in Reach, investing their time in a program that is special to credit unions in Carolinas. 

CUaware is a council of the Carolinas Credit Union League. CUaware aims to informally introduce all levels of credit union employees to the movement through events emphasizing education, volunteerism, advocacy and networking.

CUaware also invests in the professional development of credit union staff through the CUaware Protégé Competition and the CUaware Protégé Mentor program. Learn more about CUaware and how you can get involved by going to the CUaware web page


Tags:  Carolinas Credit Union Foundation  CUaware  Mentorship  Protégé  volunteerism 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

CUaware report reflects on 2016 events, volunteer impact

Posted By CUaware, Thursday, January 19, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, July 24, 2018
Watch this slideshow video for quick snapshot of what CUaware's been up to in 2016.

The CUaware Council, expanding across North and South Carolina, has published its 2016 Impact Report. The report reflects on achievements made in 2016 and includes:

  • A summary about the council;
  • How its events foster networking and educational opportunities for credit union professionals of all ages;
  • The cumulative fundraising efforts made towards worthy causes; and
  • The volunteer projects each region pursued in the last year.

Click the image below to view the report on Issuu, or download the full PDF-format report here.

Tags:  advocacy  CUaware  Mentorship  Protégé  volunteerism 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
Page 3 of 4
1  |  2  |  3  |  4
Contact Us


1000 Saint Albans Drive
Suite 325
Raleigh, NC 27609

800-822-8859 Phone
919-573-0474 Fax


7440 Broad River Road
Irmo, SC 29063

PO Box 1787
Columbia, SC 29202

800-822-8859 Phone
803-732-4268 Fax