ICUL Service Corporation


Illinois Credit Union League
82nd Annual Convention
April 26 - 28, 2012

Speaker Bios

Connie Payton

Keynote Address (Friday, 9:00 – 10:30 a.m.)
Family Values, Teambuilding, Embracing Life

The wife of the late Walter Payton, a football legend who was stricken with cancer and succumbed to this heart wrenching disease in 1999, Connie Payton has borne the challenges presented her with quiet grace and determination that has emerged as her trademark.  These qualities have served her well throughout a lifetime spent in positions of community service and in promoting family issues and family awareness.  In recognizing the importance a supportive loving family can provide, she has sought throughout her years of public service to draw attention to those issues that can divide and indeed destroy a family.
During Walter Payton’s life, he became a silent entrepreneur of giving, and Connie Payton shared in this commitment to make a difference in people’s lives, especially the innocent lives of neglected and abused children.  Today, through the conception of the Walter & Connie Payton Foundation, Connie continues on with the integrity and dignity of the Payton name in caring for these thousands of children who found themselves as wards of the state.  It is through this foundation, that Connie continues to focus on what she considers her most important obligation and that is working closely with the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services. 

Through the loving efforts and guidance of her parents, Connie acquired a genuine sense of family values and the importance of a good education.  This provided her the strong foundation that she ultimately instilled in her own family and continues to share with others.  With Connie’s belief, that she was blessed to be a blessing to others, she strives to have the foundation research the possibilities of additional educational, mentorship, and sporting programs for these children to be a part of in the future.   
As a spokesperson to bring public awareness to the family unit, the list goes on and on.  Connie also takes every opportunity to speak out on the importance of being an organ donor. She believes that if we were all registered donors, the program would offer everyone the opportunity of the continuation of life. 
To those who know her personally, Connie is a woman who acknowledges and understands the problems and adversities of others and caringly attempts to resolve those needs.  


Bob Glynn and Tim Mortiz  

Pre-Con Session: BOD Governance (Thursday,1:00 – 2:15 p.m.)

Bob Glynn is an Assurance Director in the National Credit Union practice and the Financial Institutions practice in the Great Lakes region of McGladrey & Pullen, LLP.  While his role is focused on credit unions and credit union service organizations, Bob’s experience has been in the broader financial services industry, including large multinational banks, community banks, mortgage companies, finance companies and various investment services firms.  Bob is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and holds a Bachelor of Business
Administration in Accounting.

Joining Bob for the Pre-Con session is Eric Lemke.  Eric is a Partner with McGladrey & Pullen’s Great Lakes Practice who spends the majority of his time serving clients in the financial services industry including commercial banks, thrifts, credit unions, insurance companies and related third-party administrators. He has more than 18 years of public accounting experience and serves a varied client base within the industry including local community banks and larger publicly held institutions operating with multiple locations in multiple states.  Eric is a Certified Public Accountant and is licensed to practice in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Missouri. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Illinois CPA Society. Eric graduated from Olivet Nazarene University, Bourbonnais, Ill., with a bachelor’s degree in accounting.


Brent Dixon

Attracting & Retaining Younger Members 
Sponsored by: IYIC
(Friday 10:45 a.m. – 12:00 noon)

Design Thinking: A Human Centered Approach to Innovation

(Friday 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.)

Brent Dixon has partnered with the Filene Research Institute and more than 25 state credit union leagues, a dozen individual credit unions and credit union trade association in the United States and Canada to distill Filene’s extensive library of young adult research into successful outreach initiatives. 

Brent likes to make things, including: The Haberdashery, a creative studio with a love for people, design, and the Web; The Crash Network, a community of more than 100 young credit union leaders fighting for the future of the movement; Things That Have Nothing To Do With Credit Unions, But Have Everything To Do With Credit Unions, an inspiration blog for an industry stuck in its own head. 

Brent has been cited in and written for numerous industry publications, and is a contributing author to The Age of Conversation 2. He writes about whatever tickles his fancy at

Frank Diekmann

25 Ideas that are Working in Credit Unions Now (Friday 10:45 a.m. – 12:00 noon)
The New Normal? You’re Abnormal is you Think it’s New (Friday 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.)

Frank Diekmann is publisher and co-founder of Credit Union Journal, the nation’s leading newsweekly serving the credit union community since 1997. Prior to this he co-founded and developed Credit Union Times. He has been a frequent judge of credit union marketing competitions and a frequent speaker to credit union audiences. He possesses a National Credit Union Foundation’s development educator designation.

Mike Schenk

The Economy and its Impact on Credit Unions
(Friday 10:45 a.m. – 12:00 noon, repeat session 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.)

Mike Schenk joined the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) in 1992 and is currently Vice President of Economics & Statistics for CUNA. 

Mike conducts economic research and supports CUNA’s public relations and lobbying efforts.  He has also served on the board of a $1.5 billion credit union for the past six years, including as Treasurer and as Chair of its Asset-Liability Management Committee. 

He has nearly 30 years of experience in the financial services industry.  Before joining CUNA in 1992, Mike served in director-level positions in the mutual fund and in the savings institution industries.  He holds a Bachelors degree in Economics and an M.B.A. in Finance with a concentration in Banking and Financial Intermediation.

Jeff Rendell, CSP

Board Recruitment/Succession 
(Friday 10:45 a.m. – 12:00 noon)

Raising the Bar
(Friday 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.)

Jeff Rendel, CSP, is President of Rising Above Enterprises.  His company researches, synthesizes, and articulates essential achievement elements to help corporations profit – financially and inside their corporate culture – in their pursuit to fulfill their missions and strategic endeavors.

Previously, Jeff was a federal regulator with the United States Treasury’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, where he examined a wide array of the nation’s banks.  He also oversaw the strategic operations of one of California’s preeminent regional banks. 

A new opportunity brought him to the Congressional lobbyist slot for financial institutions on the West Coast.  He continues to work personally with Members of the House of Representatives and Senate helping them understand the business implications that legislation has upon the financial services industry.  Many Members of Congress regard him as their point of first contact when issues regarding financial institutions arise.   

In 2007, the National Speakers Association (NSA) presented him the Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation, an achievement in which fewer than five percent of the world’s speakers hold.

The Disclosures
Chad Helminak and Christopher Morris

Credit Unions in the Key of Awesome!
(Friday 10:45 a.m. – 12:00 noon)

The Disclosures are an acoustic thrift-rock duo from the land of credit unions, comprised of Chad Helminak and Christopher Morris.  They perform a smorgasbord of classic rock n’ roll covers (The Beatles, Neil Young, etc) in addition to their original tunes that delve into topics of life, love and the cooperative spirit.

Chris and Chad met at a credit union training in 2009, where they discovered they both play guitar, live in Madison and are huge fans of credit unions.  They started casually jamming and performing open mics, but soon began collaborating on songs dealing with cooperative principles, credit unions and financial wellness.

Their first album, “(Hey, We’re) The Disclosures,” was released in March, 2011. The Disclosures perform at various credit union events around the country, usually giving their popular education session on credit union history and philosophy – infused, of course, with their original songs.

Steve Olson, Don Edwards, Keith Sias and Pat Huffman

Legislative Update (Friday 10:45 a.m. – 12:00 noon)

Stephen Olson serves as Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer of the Illinois Credit Union System.  He directs all corporate legal affairs for the affiliated companies comprising the ICU System, and provides legal, technical, legislative and regulatory support for the ICU System and its member credit unions.  Steve received his Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Olaf College and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Iowa.  He is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and has served as chair and legislative chair on its Commercial Banking & Bankruptcy Law Section Council.  He also is a member of the Iowa State Bar Association and the American Bankruptcy Institute.
Then there is Don Edwards, Senior Vice President of Federal Governmental Affairs for the Illinois Credit Union League.  As liaison to the League’s Legislative Committee, he oversees the coordination of Federal legislative and regulatory affairs for Illinois credit unions, and the administration of the Credit Union Political Action Council (CUPAC). Don joined the Illinois League in 1974 as a consultant and served as the Director of Legal & Technical Services (formerly Research & Information) before his appointment to Vice President in 1984. Don holds a Bachelor’s in Arts degree from Southern Illinois University and is a graduate of CUNA Management School.

Rounding out our panel today is Keith Sias, Director of State Governmental Affairs. Keith started at the ICUL in March of 1993. Keith primarily works in the Springfield office, serving as a registered lobbyist. Keith is also responsible for analyzing and tracking legislative issues of importance to credit unions and plays an important role in educating member credit unions about legislative and regulatory issues. Keith holds a Master's in Public Administration and a Bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of Illinois.

Also joining us today is Pat Huffman, who started at the ICUL in October 1987 as a member of the Education Department. She joined the Governmental & Public Affairs Department more than 20 years ago, and has served as Political Action Coordinator since 1996. Pat is responsible for CUPAC’s fundraising programs and coordinating credit union political involvement efforts.

Brittney Payton

Organ Donation Importance
(Friday 10:45 a.m. – 12:00 noon)

Brittney Payton was born in 1985, the same year her father Walter Payton led the Chicago Bears to their legendary Super Bowl triumph. She has followed in her father’s footsteps by taking the lead as an avid crusader for the need of health awareness and education.
Brittney shares her passion on the importance of organ donation, which began after her father passed away in 1999 from a rare liver disease that developed into cancer.  On a more personal note, Brittney endears herself to her audience as she talks openly about her own difficult years as a young adult and her severe health issues battling anorexia.   While struggling to cope with the loss of her father, anorexia was her recourse, and Brittney credits her family and her faith in turning her life around.     
Brittney graduated from DePaul University in 2008 with a degree in Communications. She is currently employed with the Big Ten Network and is a co- host on the TV show “Chicago’s Best.”  Coming from a family that never forgets to give back, Brittney plays an active role with the Walter and Connie Payton Foundation by working directly with the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services to provide for in-need children throughout our state.

David Pearce Snyder

CUES Networking Lunch (Friday 12:15 – 1:45 p.m.)
Welcome to the New Normal – Strategies for Credit Unions in Changing Times

Better Financial Services through 21st Century Technology 
(Friday 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.)

David Pearce Snyder is Principal Partner of The Snyder Family Enterprise, a 30-member virtual consultancy that scans the print media for worldwide trends, developments and forecasts.  He has been in the forecasting business for over 30 years. 

Drawing on his nearly 20 years experience as Life Styles Editor of The Futurist magazine, he enriches his statistical projections and expert forecasts with insights and anecdotes of the human comedy, creativity — and distress — arising from society's adaptation to changing economic circumstances and new technology.  David’s scenarios of the reliably forecastable future serve as "reality checks" for his clients and audiences, helping them to distinguish the short-term fads in their operating environments from the long-term realities, and to separate conventional thinking from strategic thinking, while identifying best practices.

David and his partner, Dr. Gregg Edwards, Director of the Academy for Advanced and Strategic Studies, have authored dozens of articles and reports on the future of major institutions and industries, plus two books of unparalleled accuracy on the future of the United States.

Celeste C. Cook

Lending in the Bottom of the 9th with Two Outs 
(Friday 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.)

Offensive Lending Plays for a Winning Season
(Saturday 9:00 – 10:15 a.m.)

Celeste Cook is founder and President/CEO of cuStrategies, LLC,
which provides strategic planning services, consulting services, and training programs to the credit union industry. She conducts training programs/schools in lending, business development, leadership, and sales and service.

Celeste has worked in the credit union industry for 20+ years and has been a professional speaker and trainer for more than 15 years. She previously worked for a $1.6 billion credit union in Atlanta, Georgia, and worked as a consultant and trainer with Rex Johnson of Lending Solutions Consulting.

Celeste has a degree in Business Management. She is a professional speaker and has received her Certification in Sales Leadership Strategies through CUNA.

Kathy Plucinski

Cupcakery (Friday 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.)

Kathy Plucinski is the Pastry Supervisor at the Renaissance Hotel and has worked for the Marriott organization for 12 years.  She has been married to her husband, Joe Plucinski, for five years.  Joe works as the Executive Chef at the Marriott Lincolnshire Resort.  Kathy has her Associates Degree from Johnson & Wales University in Charleston, SC, in baking and pastry arts and loves what she does!

Cathy Pettis

PCI Compliance (Saturday 9:00 – 10:15 a.m.)

Cathy Pettis is Senior Vice President of the Illinois Credit Union System Service Corporation.  In her current capacity, she is responsible for new product and service development, market growth, existing product operations, implementations and customer service.  Product areas include EFT-ATM, debit, pre-paid gift cards and pre-paid debit cards, credit card products and card enhancements, collections and other LSC areas.

Cathy has been a member of the LSC Senior Management Team since 1996 providing strategic planning and initiatives, new market growth and acquisitions, and credit union relationships for LSC products.  She has 39 years of experience in product development and management of financial services for credit unions.  Prior to joining the Service Corporation, Cathy was Vice President of Operations and EFT Services for United Airlines Credit Union (now Alliant Credit Union in Chicago) and spent 20 years at VyStar Credit Union in Florida as VP of Operations and Card Services. 

Cathy is a frequent conference and credit union speaker on EFT trends, payment systems, and fraud.  She is a member of CUNA’s Payment Systems Task Force since 2002 and was the credit union representative on the Federal Reserve R&T Rules and Regulations Committee.

Carol Bertoux

Anatomy of a Power of Attorney (Saturday 9:00 – 10:15 a.m.)

Carol Bertoux joined the Illinois Credit Union League in 1987 and serves as the Associate General Counsel.  She is a great resource for our league and the broad scope of expertise she brings to all of our programs.  

In addition to assisting the general counsel and chief operating officer of the League in general legal matters, Carol also analyzes state and federal laws, rules and regulations that affect credit unions and provides assistance and advice to credit unions and their retained counsel.  The League’s legislative program greatly relies on Carol for her valued technical and legal input. 

Carol received her law degree from DePaul University.

Daniel Biell

Member Business Lending (Saturday 9:00 – 10:15 a.m.)

Dan Biell is President and CEO of Spectrum Business Resources, LLC, where he is responsible for all aspects of member business financial services for associate and member credit unions in the Chicago area representing over $1 billion in total assets.

He has over 25 years of experience in commercial banking.   Prior to Spectrum Business Resources, Dan Bleil joined New Century Bank in 2000 as First Vice President of Business Banking.   He was also formerly Chief Relationship Manager with, and with Cole Taylor for more than 15 years

Dan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.

Lou Reyes

Tales from Da Bulls' Locker Room 
(Saturday 9:00 – 10:15 a.m.)

As a young boy, Lou’s dream had always been to work for the Chicago White Sox.  A born and raised “southsider”, Lou attended Crane High School and Wright College.  He finds himself years later having worked for the Chicago Bulls for 32 years.  Initially, he did so voluntarily for eight years and became a full time employee in 1989.  Lou is responsible for all shipping and receiving, mailroom operations and numerous side jobs for the Bulls, Blackhawks and the United Center.  What he loves best is setting up the visiting basketball team for practice on game day and getting to know all the players.  He says working in the locker room is a blast and is an experience he will never forget.  


Becky McCrary

7 Great Habits to Stop Now (Saturday 9:00 – 10:15 a.m.)

Closing Session: A Passion for your Profession!
(Saturday 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.)

Becky McCrary is called the Carol Burnett of Conventions, the
Energizer Bunny in high-heeled shoes, a redhead Amy Poehler.  She uses personal experiences, side-splitting humor, and unimaginable insight to guide audiences to a profound belief in their own abilities, passions, and power.

Becky inspires individuals to deliver fabulous service, build lasting relationships, and have more fun. One of her core messages is, “People are going to talk about you. The good news is you get to write the script.”

Becky has earned the prestigious Certified Speaking Professional credential.  She is one of only 208 women in the world who hold this credential.  She is a professional member of the National Speakers Association (NSA) and is Past-President of the Carolinas Chapter of NSA.

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