About The Mountain West Credit Union Foundation’s Executive Leadership Program

Where Emerging Credit Union Leaders Learn To Thrive

The Mountain West Credit Union Foundation’s Executive Leadership Program is a signature program created to support the training and development of the future leaders of the Credit Union Movement.

The subject of effective leadership always sparks an interesting discussion amongst current Credit Union leaders. Credit Union CEO’s know that few things are more important to the future of our Credit Unions than the development of our future leaders. That’s why the program’s central focus is on effectively preparing promising leaders for tomorrow’s challenges and providing them with the tools they need to pursue their passion for serving members.

Each year, a total of three recipients are selected to participate in the Leadership Program – one from each of the three Mountain West states (Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming). Once selected, the recipients dive into a five-year program where they are immersed in organizational leadership, credit union philosophy, and credit union operations along with mentoring and coaching from top credit union leaders.

The Executive Leadership Program’s curriculum is divided into four quadrants. What follows is a brief overview of each one.

MWCU-LogoQuadrant #1: Mountain West Credit Union Leadership Institute

Practical preparation that equips future leaders to lead with confidence.

The Credit Union Leadership Institute is an in-depth series of workshops designed to help participants identify, define and resolve leadership challenges that Credit Unions face every day. Participation is interactive and requires participants to work together to come up with solutions to common problem. They learn the practical aspects of working with diverse teams of people, guide employees in superior service, anticipate member needs, foster internal relationships, enhance the credit union culture, and strengthen their credit union’s presence to become a premier financial institution.

MWCU-LogoQuadrant #2: Credit Union Development Education (DE) Training

Understanding how every employee plays a meaningful role in the future success of Credit Unions.

The Credit Union Development Education (DE) program immerses students in the history, philosophy and issues that directly impact the way that credit unions operate. The program uses experiential learning and collaboration with bright minds from within and around the credit union industry to promote social responsibility, cooperative principles and the practical philosophy of “People Helping People”. The week-long program links the Credit Unions’ past and present though group exercises and issue discussions relevant to critical lessons in cooperative principles, credit union philosophy and the challenges credit unions face today.

MWCU-LogoQuadrant #3: Western CUNA Management School

Teaching students to lead with both passion and compassion.

This highly concentrated academic training occurs over three yearly two-week terms. The program is filled with exercises that promote the organization of ideas and collaborative problem solving that spans all members of a Credit Union team – not just those in higher ranks. WCMS students typically begin the program already inspired to give back to their credit unions and communities and make a lasting impact on the Credit Union movement. The training they receive at WCMS equips them with the knowledge and skills to do just that. The curriculum covers Strategic Planning, Operations, Finance, Marketing, Lending, Human Resources, Technology, Business Development, Economics, Business Law, Communications, Leadership, and much more.

MWCU-LogoQuadrant 4: Mentoring and Coaching

Encouraging leaders towards their full potential.

The Executive Leadership Program is strenuous and demanding. We know candidates are up to the challenge, but assigning a professional coach and mentor to help guide them is one of the most powerful aspects of this program. The coach chosen for each candidate ensures they stay on track, sharpens their skills and provides encouragement to dig deeper and stretch boundaries. Once classroom training is complete, candidates are paired with a current credit union leader to serve as a mentor and help them apply their knowledge to real-world situations. Mentors guide students to identify and resolve current issues that require action at the executive level, providing invaluable practical, executive management experience.

How To Apply

The Foundation Executive Leadership Program provides over $20,000 of full funding for five years of credit union leadership development. Applying to the Foundation Executive Leadership Program is easy:

  • Fill out the program application
  • Get a letter of recommendation from your credit union’s chief executive officer
  • Submit your application and letter of recommendation by DATE to: Mountain West Credit Union Foundation, Attn: Dr. Dan Santangelo, 1009 Grant St. Denver, CO 80203. (If you prefer, you may email these documents to dsantangelo@mwcua.com)

Finalists for the Foundation Executive Leadership Program will be invited to participate in a final assessment and interview process. A total of three recipients will be selected – one from each of the three Mountain West states (Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming).


For any questions related to the Foundation Executive Leadership Program, please contact:  Dr. Dan Santangelo, Executive Director

dsantangelo@mwcua.com | 720.479.3276

About Dan Finerty

Dan Finerty is the Director of Marketing at the Mountain West Credit Union Association, a Credit Union champion, a Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE), and an award-winning marketer. Dan has over 14 years of marketing experience in communications, retail, packaged goods, and, of course, Credit Unions. He believes that Credit Unions have an incredible story to tell and works with some of the brightest Credit Union professionals to help promote Credit Unions to the public. Dan holds two Bachelor’s of Science in Marketing and in Management. He is also a swell guy.


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