Amanda Garabedian serves as President and CEO of Adventure Credit Union in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Amanda has more than 15 years of experience in credit union leadership and financial technologies. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and economics from Western Michigan University and a Master of Business Administration from Grand Valley State University.
Garabedian joined Adventure in 2019 as the credit union’s chief operating officer and has played an instrumental role in redefining the company’s culture and developing their strategic business goals and plan. Over the past three years, Amanda has gained extensive knowledge of the organization by working directly with their IT, branch services, marketing, project management, remote banking center, and executive management team. Most recently, as Interim CEO, she has also been involved with all areas of the credit union.
Alan Graham: Founder and CEO, Mobile Loaves & Fishes
For Alan Graham, it is all about his relationships — with God, his family, staff members and certainly the homeless men and women he regularly engages on the streets of our community.
Alan is the founder and CEO of Mobile Loaves & Fishes. MLF is a social outreach ministry committed to providing permanent, sustainable solutions for the chronically homeless while surrounding them with compassion, love and dignity. Those who know Alan best know that he is a man on a mission — to relieve the struggles homeless individuals face in obtaining their basic needs of food, community and a place to call home.
Since its founding in 1998, Mobile Loaves & Fishes volunteers have served more than 6 million meals with a side of hope to homeless men and women living on the streets of Austin. The organization has also spawned similar food truck ministries in other cities across the U.S. With the support of more than 20,000 volunteers, Mobile Loaves & Fishes is the largest prepared feeding program to the homeless and working poor in Austin, Texas. Graham is also the visionary behind MLF’s Community First! Village — a 51-acre master planned development that provides affordable, permanent housing and a supportive community to the chronically homeless in Central Texas.
While many Mobile Loaves & Fishes volunteers describe their experience as life changing, the organization’s mission to serve the homeless has perhaps changed no one more than Alan Graham himself. Previously a real estate investor and developer, Alan founded Trilogy Development and the Lynxs Group, which developed Austin’s airport cargo facility and similar facilities at airports around the country.
Around the same time, Alan had the seed of the idea for Mobile Loaves & Fishes. He and the other founders started by making sack lunches and serving them from the back of a green minivan. Alan readily admits that their original paradigm of serving the homeless had some flaws, but with the help of a formerly homeless man, Houston Flake, they perfected the model that MLF successfully uses today.
Alan and his wife, Tricia Graham, were married in September 1984 and have four children of their own and a niece that they raised as well. They welcomed their first grandchild in April 2022! Alan is a published author of the book Welcome Homeless: One Man’s Journey of Discovering the Meaning of Home.
Amy Downs was one of the last survivors to be pulled from the rubble of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing in which a total of 168 people were killed, including 18 of her 33 co-workers. While buried alive and waiting to die, she realized she had never really lived. Once freed from the rubble, Amy launched a self-improvement campaign.
Amy shares with the audience how to apply what she learned on her journey from a 355lb teller who dropped out of college to obtaining her Masters in Business Administration, becoming the CEO, and completing an Ironman Triathlon. This call to action key note will leave the audience inspired, ignited with hope, and with new ideas on how they can achieve their goals.
Dr. Tracy Brower, PhD, MM, MCRW
Vice President of Workplace Insights, Steelcase
Author, The Secrets to Happiness at Work and Bring Work to Life
Contributor, Forbes.com and Fast Company
Leadership Redefined: Creating the Future of (Great!) Work
The landscape of work has shifted fundamentally—and the implications for leadership are significant. More is required of leaders in terms of skills, capabilities and even emotional labor. Join us to hear new perspectives, fascinating research and fresh viewpoints on how leaders can influence positive experiences for people—motivating, engaging, developing and ensuring their own self-care as well. The stakes for work and leadership are high, but leaders can have tremendously positive impacts on people—and shape the future of work.
Dr. Tracy Brower is a PhD sociologist studying work-life fulfillment and happiness. She is the vice president of workplace insights for Steelcase. In addition, she is the author of The Secrets to Happiness at Work and Bring Work to Life as well as a contributor to Forbes.com and Fast Company. Her work has been translated into 18 languages. Tracy is an award-winning speaker and has over 25 years of experience working with global clients to achieve business results. Tracy is an executive advisor to Like|Minded, Coda Societies and to the MSU Master Industrial Mathematics Program. She is an executive council member with Design Museum Everywhere and board member for the United Way. Tracy’s work has been translated into 19 languages and she has been featured in TEDx, The Wall Street Journal, Work-Life Balance in the 21st Century (book), Globe and Mail (Canada), InsideHR (Australia), HR Director (UK), T3N (Germany), Real Estate Review Journal, Fortune.com, Inc. Magazine, HBR (France) and more. Tracy holds a PhD in Sociology, a Master of Management in Organizational Culture, and a Master of Corporate Real Estate with a workplace specialization. You can find her on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Unsplash or at tracybrower.com.
Heather McKissick, I-CUDE
Heather McKissick is CEO of CUES, an organization dedicated to providing credit union professionals, directors and suppliers the resources they need to reach their greatest potential. CUES passion is being the trusted, single source for members’ professional development needs. Prior to joining CUES, Heather served as an Executive Vice President at University Federal Credit Union (UFCU), where she worked for nine years.
Prior to UFCU, Heather was already an experienced advocate and community leader after serving for seven years as a volunteer and then five years as Chief Executive Officer of Leadership Austin. For decades, as one of the top civic leadership programs in the nation, Leadership Austin has trained thousands in community issues and leadership through its programs, and Heather came to know just about everyone who went through the development programs during her years of service. The history of her not-for-profit career also encompasses healthcare, regional government and higher education.
An honored community leader herself, Heather is a member of the board of the American Heart and Stroke Association of Central Texas; the Young Women’s Alliance community advisory board (and their 2013 “Inspiring Leader of the Year”); and chair of the advisory council for the Austin Young Chamber of Commerce. She served as chair of the Heart Association’s 2017 “Go Red for Women” campaign; as honorary co-chair with Austin Mayor Steve Adler of the 2016 “Austin Under 40” awards; was the inaugural “Austin Under 40 Mentor of the Year” honoree; a “Women of Distinction” honoree in 2014 by the Girl Scouts of Central Texas, and a recipient of a 2010 “Profiles in Power” award. She is also a proud International Credit Union Development Educator.
As Senior Director of Organizational Culture and Strategy, Jennifer promotes Coopera’s efforts to ensure financial inclusion for a variety of underserved populations. She is a trained cultural anthropologist with two decades of research and teaching experience on the intersections of culture and economics. She provides training for staff on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) topics, advises organizations on best practices to ensure equitable workplaces, and assists credit unions to design products and services that are culturally relevant.
Sundeep Kapur, Educator & Founder, Digital Credence will serve as our MC and discussion facilitator.
Professor Lamont Black is a recognized expert on cryptocurrency and blockchain. His teaching on cryptocurrency at DePaul covers aspects of money and investing and has been featured in the Chicago Tribune. In his graduate course on blockchain, he works with business and computer science students to build real-world blockchain applications. Dr. Black also teaches courses on money, banking, financial markets, and data analytics.
Prior to joining DePaul, Professor Black was an economist at the Federal Reserve in Washington D.C., where he focused on bank regulation. He served at the Board of Governors from 2005 to 2013, primarily under Chairman Ben Bernanke during the financial crisis. Dr. Black received a PhD in Finance as well as Economics from Indiana University and his undergraduate degree from Stanford University.
Tansley Stearns, president & ceo, Community Financial Credit Union ($1.6B Plymouth, MI)
Tansley embodies an unwavering spirit, where "no" is a foreign concept. With over 25 years of transformative leadership in credit unions, her journey epitomizes dedication to community impact. At CFCU, Tansley's boundless enthusiasm fuels a culture that places people at the core. Her legacy of igniting growth and change echoes from Colorado's Canvas Credit Union, where her innovative strategies catalyzed unparalleled expansion. As the chief impact officer at Filene Research Institute, she forged connections between academia, credit unions, and Silicon Valley, amplifying research's practical influence. Tansley's influence, traced from BestSource to Bethpage Federal Credit Union, exudes a legacy of service, empathy, and an ever-present smile that invigorates and uplifts every community she touches.
Patty Corkery is the President/CEO of the Michigan Credit Union League and its service corporation, MCULSC. In 2018, she started with the League as EVP/COO and General Counsel before being promoted to CEO in 2021, becoming the first woman to lead MCUL in its 90-year history.
At the League, she oversees all operations of the trade association and directly supervises the advocacy, education, marketing and communications teams. Her position includes educating the community, lawmakers and the industry on the credit union difference and promoting the financial strength of credit unions in both Michigan and the nation. For the service corporation, Corkery works to maximize relationships with credit union partners for the benefit of Michigan credit unions. Corkery received her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan-Dearborn, law degree from Wayne State University Law School and MBA from Walsh College. Corkery is the Chair of the Board of Directors for League InfoSight and a director of national CUSO, CUSG. She also serves on the boards of the Credit Union House, the home away from home for credit unions advocating in our nation’s capital, as well as Lighthouse of Michigan, a beacon of hope for families in need of food, shelter and other basic needs. Corkery also serves on the board for the American Association of Credit Union Leagues and helps lead the Michigan Sister Society for the Global Women’s Leadership Network. She is passionate about credit unions and supporting the Michigan credit union industry at all levels. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, rides on her Peloton and traveling with her daughter.
Back by popular demand is our CEO Panel and this year Sundeep Kapur will facilitate the discussion.
Preparing for the future includes sharpening your understanding of trends in technology, people, services and community. Join us as we learn and network.