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Elements Employee Serves as Mentor to Credit Union Development Program

With the help of an Elements employee, National Credit Union Foundation recently certified a group of individuals as Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs) through their Development Education (DE) Training.

Charles Akinbola, who is the Branch Manager for Elements at Lily Technology Center, became CUDE certified in 2018 before returning this year to mentor the incoming class.

The Development Training is a “unique training program that provides lessons in credit union structure, purpose and the ‘why’ that differentiates credit unions from other financial institutions.”

Akinbola discussed his involvement in the program, why he chose to be a mentor this year, and what the DE Training means to him.

What was your experience like the first year you went through the DE Training?
I attended the program as a participant this past September, and the experience ignited a passion for the amazing work that credit unions do. The focus of the program is to take a deep dive into the philosophy, history, and responsibility of credit unions. I left with a vision to serve not only our members but our community. Having the opportunity to return as a mentor in April was both humbling and exciting. It has been a pleasure to learn from each of the participants. One of the best parts of the program is the global perspective I have received. There are participants from all over the world. For instance, in this past April’s class, we had four participants from Kenya and one from Botswana. It truly is a fantastic environment to learn.

What led you to be a mentor this year?
Simply put, the desire to serve. I love to serve, and I love to learn how to serve. I’ve had many mentoring opportunities over the years, but I hadn’t experienced mentoring in this capacity. I knew that taking a week to serve in this setting would teach me even more about the importance of giving back. Additionally, you can never be reminded of the philosophy, history, and responsibility of the credit union too many times. I knew that returning would help reignite my passion for what I do. I love my credit union, and I truly believe that attending DE as a participant and as a mentor is one of the greatest ways I can serve Elements.

How will this benefit you, the credit union, and the members we serve?
Now that I have attended DE as a participant and as a mentor, I have a growing eye for the needs of our members and our community. I see each member as an individual. Understanding the rich history of credit unions gives me pride in what we work to accomplish. Credit unions have always been about people. Taking this mindset back with me has helped me put our members first.

To learn more about the most recent CUDE program and graduates, visit

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