Congratulations to this Year’s Gary Plank Scholars!

Every year, the Foundation awards four $5000 Scholarships to attend the World Credit Union Conference. Named in honor of a retired Arizona League President, the Gary Plank Scholarship Program is a tremendous opportunity for Credit Union leaders to acquire valuable information, network with Credit Union professionals from all over the world, and get inspired by the passion and enthusiasm for the worldwide Credit Union Movement.

Three of the scholarships are awarded to young credit union professionals under the age of 35, with the fourth going to a deserving Development Educator. All four scholarship recipients were selected based on their overall contribution to their Credit Unions and their communities. Additionally, these four individuals have all demonstrated a personal commitment to the Credit Union cooperative model and a remarkable potential for further influence within the Credit Union Movement.

This year’s World Credit Union Conference will be held in Vienna, Austria in late July.  Congratulations to the 2017 Gary Plank Scholars!

Karen Nadal, Branch Manager at Pyramid Federal Credit Union, is this year’s Development Educator Scholarship recipient.

Karen, who’s been with Pyramid Federal for 15 years, is a true champion of the cooperative business model, always striving to ensure her team knows how credit unions work and how they are different from just another financial institution.

Karen is a project leader at Pyramid, has coordinated a Reality Fair designed to help young students learn about managing personal finance, has led Children’s Miracle Network fundraisers, and spear-headed a “Be Safe Saturday” event designed to promote children’s safety and wellness.

In addition to her work as a credit union professional, Karen is a grandmother, a gardener and cook.

The 2017 Young Professional Scholars

Alex Pinuelas, Pyramid Federal Credit Union

Alex has been with Pyramid Federal Credit Union for more than 4 years.  During that time, he has quickly progressed in rank and responsibility and now holds a key position in indirect lending.  Alex is a great relationship builder and is a key reason for Pyramid’s great relationship with local car dealerships, a partnership that supports members and local business.

Alex has also participated in a variety of community fundraisers and volunteers to teach personal finance at the local high school.

Tara Roether, of Landings Credit Union

During the short time Tara has been a part of Landings Credit Union, she’s made a big impression.  Since accepting a position as a graphic designer and digital marketer, Tara has increased the Credit Union’s social media followers by 75%, created new ways to reformat the Credit Union’s newsletter, and created video aids for sales and promotions.

Tara has also coordinated the Credit Union’s International Credit Union Day activities, and was a ‘crasher’ at the 2017 Government Affairs Conference in Washington D.C.  Tara is a local school volunteer and a Credit Union Young Professionals participant.

Tyler Valentine, President & CEO of Laramie Plains Federal Credit Union

As President & CEO, Tyler is responsible for day-to-day operations, strategic direction, board relations, and senior leadership development at Laramie Plains Federal Credit Union. Tyler has also served on several boards, including the Chair of the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance, Treasurer of the Mountain West Credit Union Foundation, and Committee Chair of the Mountain West Credit Union Association’s Young Professionals Committee.

A true champion of the cooperative business model, Tyler has worked hard to ensure that young Credit Union professionals are educated and immersed in the People helping People philosophy. Additionally, he has earned his Development Educator designation from the National Credit Union Foundation.


From myself and everyone at the Foundation, we want to congratulate these recipients and wish them well as they attend this year’s World Credit Union Conference in Austria!

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *