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Tony Ferris

Tony Ferris, President & CEO

Rochdale Paragon Group

Have you ever uttered the phrase, ‘hindsight is 20/20’ in response to an unexpected result within your work? As a financial industry consulting expert, Tony Ferris enjoys guiding C-Suite professionals to identify the unseen, implement the difficult, and create sustainable solutions to maximize results. His clients describe him as a “revolutionist.” They appreciate that unlike other consultants, he doesn’t just offer ideas but honest (often hard to hear) truths and solutions by truly partnering with leaders and organizations alike to bring about positive disruption in the status quo, creating opportunities for competitive advantage, rather than merely reacting to what others in the industry are doing.


Blending over 20 years of experience working with financial institutions and his natural change-embracing skills, Tony helps leaders truly evolve in the way they think, strategize, and govern.  To that end, Tony and the Rochdale Paragon Group has led the charge on defining the business processes around governance, risk and assurance disciplines to formalize how organizations make better decisions and focus on the critical tasks. The Rochdale Paragon Group provides the culture and framework to both preserve and create organizational value by de-biasing decisions, delivering focus on the most important opportunities and obstacles, and assuring compliance while minimizing administrative expense.

Jeff Owen

Jeff Owen, Chief Operating Officer

Rochdale Paragon Group

Jeff has worked at The Rochdale Group (Rochdale) since 2006.  He has over 17 years of experience in the financial services arena. Prior to Rochdale, Jeff worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City (FRB) where he participated in and led many district and system-wide initiatives in a variety of administrative and operational areas.  Jeff currently leads and participates in various client engagements, including strategic planning, enterprise risk management implementation and support and merger-related projects.  Jeff’s broad-based experience, analytical focus and passion for credit unions allow him to bring significant value to those he works with.


Jeff received a Bachelor of Science degree in both Management and Marketing, as well as a Master of Business Administration degree from Northwest Missouri State University.

James L. This, PhD

James L. This, PhD, President & CEO

James L. This and Associates

James This is a nationally recognized consultant, facilitator and trainer in the areas of strategic planning, leadership development, interpersonal communication and marketing.  Jim is one of the principals of James L. This and Associates.  He is probably best known as a founding partner of The Paragon Group – one of the most respected consulting firms in the credit union industry.  Through these companies, Jim has helped credit unions for over twenty-five years.


Jim’s specialties include strategic planning, executive recruitment, leadership development and executive assessment.  He is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and schools and one of the creators of the Volunteer Leadership Institute.  The Institute is the premiere source of continuing education for credit union volunteers.


Jim earned his BA from Wake Forest University and his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California.  He holds the title of Senior Professional in Human Resources from the Society for Human Resource Management.


Jim’s career has found him in three arenas—financial services, teaching and management consulting.  During his long association with the Washington State Employees Credit Union he held key positions as Marketing Manager and Executive Vice President.  He has taught at the University of Southern California, the University of Texas, Permian Basin, St. Martin’s College, South Puget Sound Community College and The Evergreen State College.


Jim is an avid golfer and proud grandfather.

James Collins

James Collins, President & CEO

O Bee Credit Union
360-528-5315 x1112

 James Collins is CEO at O Bee Credit Union where he loves to delegate his work to others to allow time for writing his column, “Branching Out”, for CUNA Magazine. James graduated with a Business/Computer Science degree from Western Washington University and went on to prolong the torture with an MBA from Pacific Lutheran University. In his spare time he volunteers as a Wilderness Searcher and Rescuer K9 handler which is probably just an excuse to get out into the woods. His credit union entered the Cannabis market in 2014 at its inception and is one of the first in the country to serve this market.

Alexandra Gekas

Alexandra Gekas, Vice President, Marketing & Engagement

Callahan & Associates
202-223-3920 ext. 21

Alexandra (Alex) is Vice President at Callahan & Associates, a Washington, DC-based data and consulting firm for credit unions. There, she leads a team of marketers and communication specialists. With more than 7 years of credit union experience, Alex helps shape the positive interactions between Callahan and its current and prospective clients. 

A frequent contributor to CreditUnions.com, Alex also represents the organization across the country at industry events and executive Roundtables, providing insights and thought leadership on key areas such as peer financial analysis, emerging credit union trends, brand management and more. She is passionate about improving credit union performance and using data to solve problems.


Todd Harper

Todd Harper, Board Member

National Credit Union Administration

Todd M. Harper was nominated to serve on the NCUA Board on February 6, 2019. The U.S. Senate confirmed him on March 14, 2019, and he was sworn in as a member of the NCUA Board on April 8, 2019.


Prior to joining the NCUA Board, Mr. Harper served as director of the agency’s Office of Public and Congressional Affairs and chief policy advisor to former Chairman Debbie Matz and Rick Metsger. He is the first member of the NCUA staff to become an NCUA Board Member.


Mr. Harper previously worked for the U.S. House of Representatives as staff director for the Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government-Sponsored Enterprises and as legislative director and senior legislative assistant to former Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pennsylvania). In these roles, he contributed to every major financial services law from the enactment of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act in 1999 through the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010.


During the Great Recession, Mr. Harper coordinated the first congressional hearing to explore the creation of a Temporary Corporate Credit Union Stabilization Fund. He also spearheaded staff efforts in the U.S. House to secure enactment of a law to lower the costs of managing both the Corporate Stabilization Fund and the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.


Mr. Harper holds an undergraduate degree in business analysis from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and a graduate degree in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Lucy Ito

Lucy Ito, President & CEO

National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors

Lucy Ito is president and CEO of the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors (NASCUS)—the voice for the state credit union system.  NASCUS fosters a unique working collaboration between state credit union regulators and credit union practitioners.  NASCUS advocates for a robust dual charter credit union system that mutually and equitably benefits both state and federally chartered credit unions.  Ultimately, NASCUS works to advance the personal finance interests of American families and businesses by not only maintaining the safety and soundness of credit unions but by also preserving credit unions as a competitive option for consumers and enabling credit unions to respond to state and community needs.


Ms. Ito previously served as executive vice president and chief operations officer of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues (CCUL/NCUL).  She also formerly served as senior vice president of the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), where she worked on technical programs and legislative and regulatory issues primarily in Central and Eastern Europe, Asia and the Pacific.


Ms. Ito earned a B.A. in economics and Asian studies from the University of California-Berkeley and an M.A. in linguistics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her post-graduate work includes research as a Regents’ Fellow at the University of California-Santa Cruz and she is a graduate of the CUES Advanced Leadership Institute at Harvard Business School.

Richard Lum

Richard Lum, CEO

Vision Foresight Strategy

Richard is an academically trained futurist and chief executive of Vision Foresight Strategy LLC (VFS), a foresight and strategic analysis firm based in Honolulu.  His professional interests include the futures of governance, conflict and security, and industrialism.  VFS’s current project work includes supporting foresight efforts in the US Department of Defense, a national effort to rethink health in the US, and modeling and forecasting for a $10 billion educational institution.  Richard’s current and recent work for the Department of Defense includes research and concept work for distributed warfare, the F-35 Lightning II Program Office, the SOF community, and research and foresight work in support of Strategic Capabilities Office – West, as well as speaking at the Naval War College, SOFWERX and the Association of the United States Army LANPAC Symposium. 


Richard has worked with a wide variety of non-profit organizations, for-profit companies, and government agencies on foresight, strategy development, and strategic thinking.  He has conducted foresight and strategy work on projects for organizations such as the European Commission, the UK government, the US Department of Defense, NASA, and PepsiCo.  He has helped organizations apply foresight and develop strategy for endeavors ranging from the restoration of ancient Hawaiian island land management divisions to crowdsourcing foresight development to helping educators in the US anticipate the long-term futures of learning. 


Richard is the author of 4 Steps to the Future: A Quick and Clean Guide to Creating Foresight and his contributions were featured in the book Thinking about the Future: Guidelines for Strategic Foresight (2006).  He has been published in the Journal of Futures Studies, the journal Futures, and the International Journal of System of Systems Engineering.  He is the co-creator of the Verge General Practice Framework for foresight work, a framework used by foresight practitioners throughout the UK, in Europe, Africa, and Asia for horizon scanning, scenario development, and visioning work.   


Richard is an Affiliated Scholar at Georgetown University.  He holds a PhD in Political Science from the futures studies program at the University of Hawai‘i.  His dissertation research focused on developing a conceptual framework for designing future governance systems.

J. Mark McWatters

J. Mark McWatters, Board Member

National Credit Union Administration

NCUA Board Member J. Mark McWatters has served on the NCUA Board since August 26, 2014. He previously served as the NCUA's tenth Board Chairman from June 23, 2017 to April 8, 2019.

The NCUA undertook a number of initiatives during his tenure as Chairman, the most significant being the closure of the Temporary Corporate Credit Union Stabilization Fund prior to its scheduled expiration in 2021 and the transfer of its assets to the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund. This action resulted in nearly $900 million in Share Insurance Fund dividends to eligible federally insured credit unions.

As NCUA Board Chairman, Mr. McWatters led efforts to provide greater transparency and accountability to credit union members during voluntary mergers, improve the appeals process for agency supervisory and program decisions, and implement the greater use of offsite examination and supervision. He also led the agency’s first large-scale restructuring initiative in more than a decade to meet the future demands of the credit union system and financial services landscape.

Mr. McWatters has advocated for additional legislative and regulatory changes that would expand how credit unions define their fields of membership. This includes allowing credit unions to serve communities that exist online to better reflect today’s society and to add underserved areas to their fields of membership to expand access to affordable financial services for the unserved and underserved, and those of modest means.

Mr. McWatters earned a J.D. degree from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law and LL.M. degrees from the Columbia University School of Law and New York University School of Law.

Dennis Tanimoto

Dennis Tanimoto, President & CEO

Hawaii Credit Union League
808-941-0556 x 400

Dennis Tanimoto has been President/CEO of Hawaii Credit Union League and its wholly-owned subsidiary, HCU Services Corporation, since July 1992. Prior to joining the League, he was an officer at two community banks in Hawaii for a combined total of 19 years.


At the League, Dennis is actively involved in advocating on legislative and regulatory matters to create a favorable environment for credit unions, educating credit union volunteers and management about topical issues facing the credit union movement, facilitating credit union strategic planning sessions, conducting research on the financial performance of Hawaii’s credit unions, and assisting credit unions in regulatory compliance. He is also involved in public advocacy to raise awareness of credit unions and what differentiates not-for-profit credit unions from for-profit financial service providers.


Dennis is one of five executives in Hawaii who holds the Certified Association Executive (CAE) professional designation conferred by the American Society of Association Executives. He received his bachelor of business administration and master of business administration degrees from the University of Hawaii, and is a life member of Beta Gamma Sigma national honor society. A graduate of the Pacific Coast Banking School at the University of Washington, he also earned all three certificates then awarded by the American Institute of Banking.

Ann Davidson

Ann Davidson, Vice President of Risk Consulting

Allied Solutions

Ann has over 40 years assisting credit unions in identifying areas of risk in their operations and recommends appropriate loss controls to reduce loss exposure.


In her past experience she has worked in claims, underwriting and risk management in helping credit unions manage their risks. Ann is frequently asked to speak by various organizations on a variety of topics related to fraud risk. She also provides training for credit union employees and is considered an expert on payments. Ann often conducts training seminars on electronic payments, cards, ACH and wires.


Ann attended the University of Wisconsin and is associated with many industry experts as it relates to managing risk. In her spare time, she spends time with her family, enjoys snow skiing and volunteering with various groups. 
Ryan Donovan

Ryan Donovan, Chief Advocacy Officer

Credit Union National Association

As Chief Advocacy Officer at the Credit Union National Association, Ryan Donovan is responsible for the development and implementation of the Credit Union National Association’s advocacy strategy. He leads a team of more than 100 professional advocates at CUNA and the state credit union leagues, and their goal is to improve the operating environment for credit unions to serve their members through the removal of regulatory barriers and the enhancement of credit union powers.


Ryan joined the Credit Union National Association as Vice President – Legislative Affairs in September 2007, and was promoted to Senior Vice President in September 2011 and to Chief Advocacy Officer in January 2015.  Prior to joining CUNA, Ryan worked for the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues as Director of Federal Government Affairs.  He also served as a member of the Congressional staffs of Representative Brad Sherman (D-CA) and former House Democratic Leader Richard A. Gephardt (D-MO).   


Ryan is a Credit Union Development Educator, and holds a Master in Government degree from the Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Truman State University.  A native of Missouri, Ryan is a passionate fan of the St. Louis Cardinals. Ryan also enjoys running and completed his first marathon in 2016 in the city of Philadelphia.  

Alexandra Gekas

Alexandra Gekas, Vice President, Marketing & Engagement

Callahan & Associates
202-223-3920 ext. 21

Alexandra (Alex) is Vice President at Callahan & Associates, a Washington, DC-based data and consulting firm for credit unions. There, she leads a team of marketers and communication specialists. With more than 7 years of credit union experience, Alex helps shape the positive interactions between Callahan and its current and prospective clients. 

A frequent contributor to CreditUnions.com, Alex also represents the organization across the country at industry events and executive Roundtables, providing insights and thought leadership on key areas such as peer financial analysis, emerging credit union trends, brand management and more. She is passionate about improving credit union performance and using data to solve problems.


Melina Palmer

Melina Palmer, Founder

The Brainy Business

Why do people say one thing and do another? What really drives behavior? How does the brain actually work – and how can we best communicate with it? What does that mean for companies? Melina Palmer, host of The Brainy Business Podcast, has dedicated her career to seeking answers to these questions for herself and her clients.


The first individual to graduate from the University of Washington’s Global Honors Program with a degree in business, her senior thesis was presented at the Association of Consumer Research Symposium in Hyderabad, India. A lifelong learner, she went on to earn a Master’s in Behavioral Economics from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology conducting a research project on improving savings behaviors using simple nudges. A Filene i3 alumna, she loves to bring innovative practices to organizations and help bring behavioral economics concepts from academia into application.


At The Brainy Business, Melina works with companies, financial institutions, and entrepreneurs to understand the small changes that can make a big difference in product programs, pricing, change initiatives, branding, internal communication, and marketing to increase engagement and ROI.

Byron Gangnes

Byron Gangnes, Professor of Economics

University of Hawaii at Manoa

Byron Gangnes is Professor of Economics at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and Senior Research Fellow with UHERO. He specializes in international macroeconomics and forecasting and is also a leading authority on the economy of Hawaii.


Byron earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Puget Sound and a  Doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania. He has held visiting appointments at a number of prestigious institutions and is an affiliated researcher with Project LINK, the United Nations macroeconomic forecasting program.


He has written extensively on economic policy issues affecting the U.S. and Asian economies. Recent articles study the impact of aging on global patterns of trade and finance,  the effectiveness of US economic stimulus programs, and the implications of global value chain production arrangements.


For his numerous outreach activities, Byron was awarded the Hung Wo and Elizabeth Lau Ching Award for Faculty Service to the Community. He is the recipient of a College of Social Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award, and is an alumni member of Phi Beta Kappa. He has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of St. Francis School, Honolulu.


Byron and his wife, Hilary, live in Honolulu. They have two adult daughters living on the U.S. mainland.

James Lam

James Lam, President

James Lam & Associates, Inc.

James Lam is the president of James Lam & Associates, a Boston-based risk management consulting firm. He is a director of E*TRADE Financial, where serves as Chair of the Risk Oversight Committee and a member of the Audit Committee. Lam is also an independent director of RiskLens, Inc., where he serves as Chair of the Audit Committee. Previously he served as president of ERisk, partner of Oliver Wyman, and chief risk officer of Fidelity Investments. Mr. Lam was named to the NACD Directorship 100 in 2017 and 2018, Directors & Boards “Directors to Watch,” Treasury & Risk “100 Most Influential People in Finance” three times, and GARP inaugural “Risk Manager of the Year.” He is a best-selling author of three ERM books published by Wiley. Mr. Lam is certified by the Software Engineering Institute of Carnegie Mellon in Cybersecurity Oversight.

Jesse McGannon

Jesse McGannon, Vice President Advisory Services

Strategic Resource Management

Jesse McGannon is the Vice President of Advisory Services at SRM (Strategic Resource Management), an independent firm that advises financial institutions in building and executing business strategies and strategic sourcing initiatives.


Jesse works with financial institution clients to provide a range of product and technology strategy guidance. His technical experience in cross-border payments, faster payments, digital banking, and intelligent automation creates a comprehensive range of advisory abilities. He has worked in all stages of project delivery, from initial strategy, to target-state design, and on through implementation.


Jesse has over 10 years of experience in financial services and payments consulting. Throughout his career, Jesse developed an impressive range of programs and infrastructural plans for clients. Prior to coming to SRM, Jesse was employed at Accenture and advised large US & Canadian banks, FinTech companies, credit card networks, issuer processors, and community banks.


Jesse attended University of Notre Dame, where he obtained a degree in Management Information Systems. Originally from Chicago, he currently resides in San Francisco, California.

Frank Diekmann

Frank Diekmann, Cooperator-in-Chief


Frank J. Diekmann is Cooperator-in-Chief and co-founder of CUToday.info, a digital news and collaboration platform that is now the #1 provider of organic reporting, opinion, analysis, video and other resources to credit unions than any other provider.  Mr. Diekmann has an extensive background in credit union industry reporting and editing. Prior to founding CUToday.info, Mr. Diekmann founded Credit Union Journal, and prior to that cofounded Credit Union Times.


Before covering credit unions, Mr. Diekmann covered the nation’s banking industry. He began his editorial career working as a sports reporter with the Cincinnati Post, before making the natural segue into credit unions.  Mr. Diekmann is a frequent speaker, having addressed CU meetings from Sydney to Prague and all of the U.S., and also regularly serves as a judge in various organizations’ marketing and awards competitions. He is the only journalist to ever graduate from the National Credit Union Foundation’s Development Education program, and is now certified as an International Credit Union Development Educator.


A graduate of the University of Cincinnati, Diekmann is also the author of three books: Cathode Ray’s, The Bawl Game and The Flip Flop.

David Horsey

David Horsey, Syndicated Political Cartoonist and Columnist

Seattle Times

David Horsey is a two-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for political cartooning. Syndicated by Tribune Content Agency, David’s work has appeared in hundreds of media outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, Politico and MSNBC.com. After a long career at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Horsey became a political commentator for the Los Angeles Times. He is now a contributing cartoonist for the Seattle Times.


After graduating from the University of Washington, Horsey began his journalism career as a political reporter for the Daily Journal-American in Bellevue, Washington. In 1979, he went to work as a political cartoonist for the Post-Intelligencer and Hearst Newspapers. He moved to the LA Times in 2012 and then to the Seattle Times in 2018. His career in Seattle and Los Angeles has taken him to national political party conventions, presidential primaries and debates, the Olympic Games, the Super Bowl, assignments in Europe, Japan and Mexico, and two extended stints working at the Hearst Newspapers Washington Bureau.


Besides winning Pulitzers for the Post-Intelligencer in 1999 and 2003, he was a Pulitzer finalist in 1987 and again in 2014 after joining the LA Times. Also in 2014, he received a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for his cartoons on social justice issues. Horsey's many other honors include the National Press Foundation's 1998 Berryman Award for cartoonist of the year and first place in the Best of the West journalism competition for his columns about the 2008 presidential campaign.


As a Rotary Foundation Scholar, Horsey earned an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Kent in Canterbury, England. He has been awarded honorary doctorates from both Seattle University and the University of Kent and has been recognized as one the 150 most distinguished graduates of the University of Washington.


Horsey has published nine books of cartoons, including his three most recent, “Draw Quick, Shoot Straight” (2007), “Refuge of Scoundrels” (2013) and “Top of the Ticket (2016).


Horsey and his wife, Nole Ann, have two grown children and a one-year-old granddaughter. For a change of pace, Horsey spends a week or two each year working as an apprentice cowboy in Montana.