2020 League Board Candidates

At-Large League Director Candidates

In accordance with Credit Union League of Connecticut bylaws, mail-in ballots have been sent to all affiliated credit union CEOs to vote for At-Large Directors. A memo describing the voting process is included with the ballot. Below are the candidates, including their biographies and photos.

Candidates

At-Large

Hank Baum
President & CEO, Mutual Security CU

Hank has 30 years of banking experience coupled with numerous leadership positions in community and professional organizations that will benefit the league and add value to our membership. He has volunteered for a number of non-profits and he encourages his staff to do the same as these organizations benefit from their financial expertise. For the past 6 years, he has traveled to Haitian villages in the Dominican Republic building housing, a school, and a church. He has served as the chairman of Mercy by the Sea in Madison and helped oversee a multi-million dollar capital improvement project including fundraising. He is a strategist with strong problem-solving skills and broad knowledge of our industry. His interpersonal skills and focus on collaboration and the credit union philosophy of "People helping People" makes him a strong candidate for this position.

 

Howard Brady
SVP & CLO, American Eagle Financial CU

Howard joined the credit union movement in 2006 and immediately knew it was something special. Over the last thirteen years he has had the privilege to work at two progressive credit unions, Seasons FCU for eight years and American Eagle Financial CU for the last five years. He is currently the Chief Lending Officer at AEFCU and a member of the Capitol Club for CULAC, which is designed to drive advocacy for credit unions. Three themes are central to his credit union experience, leadership, creation of meaningful change and enriching others. He currently serves as a board member for the League Services Corporation and he would enjoy the opportunity to bring his experience, passion, to serve others and desire to provide value to the League Board Directors. Through working with the Board of Directors at the League, Howard believes he can help chart the course for the future to benefit our members. 

Carl Casper
COO & EVP, Connex CU

Casper has worked for Connex CU for over 7 years. He oversees the Retail Branch Network, The Contact Center, Marketing Department, Consumer Lending area and the Compliance function. He started his career nearly thirty years ago as a management trainee at The Bank of New York and has held many senior level positions in commercial banking since then. Immediately prior to joining Connex, he held a Marketing position with Webster Bank. Casper received his BA from the University of South Carolina and MBA from Quinnipiac University. He currently serves as the President on the Board of Benhaven in Wallingford, an organization that assists individuals on the autism spectrum. He has served on several other non-profit boards prior to these organizations, dating back over 20 years. Carl is currently a Board Member of the Credit Union League of Connecticut. Carl also serves on the Board of the Credit Union League of Connecticut’s League Services Corporation, which seeks to drive alternative sources of revenue to help fulfill the credit union mission. He has been a member of that board for four years. He has served as the chairman of the Credit Union League’s Consumer Awareness Committee and served in that role for five years. That committee seeks to leverage various low cost marketing methodologies to drive awareness of Connecticut’s credit unions.

Carl has become a strong advocate for the credit union movement, attending CUNA’s GAC four times to lobby and ensure our message is being heard by our legislators. He has been involved in the Leagues Legislative Committee, lobbying locally for issues pertaining to Credit Unions. He has been a three time member of the CULAC Capital Cub. He believes the mission is one that is vitally important and that credit unions play a unique and necessary role within the financial services industry; consumers need credit unions now more than ever, particularly as the biggest banks continue to consolidate and dominate the playing field.  In his time at Connex he has leveraged the institutions resources to deliver on their mission through expansion of products, services and the creation of ConnexCares, the charitable giving umbrella of Connex which donates in excess of $30,000 each year to help members and the community at large. He believes that, as credit unions, we are singularly chartered to focus on our members and the goal of improving their financial lives. It is well within the scope of our responsibilities to create programs, and processes that have a direct positive impact on their financial futures.

Particularly rewarding is the work that Connex has done around financial literacy. During his tenure they have built and hosted a number of programs for members and non-members alike that are designed to help people improve their understanding of the skills needed to navigate today’s labyrinth of
fiscal options. This work has been recognized at the state and national level, as they have been awarded 1st Place for the Desjardins Award in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018 & 2019. Connex also received an Honorable Mention at the national level in 2014 in this category. In addition, the League awarded
Connex 1st Place in the Louise Herring Philosophy in Action Award for 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019 and the Dora Maxwell Award for 2014, 2015 & 2016 and a 2nd place finish in 2019. While we are proud of the awards, we are more rewarded by the environment we have created and the work we have done to help our members.

Casper hopes to be reappointed to the position to utilize his energy and passion for our movement to be an active part of the leadership of our league and bring experience that, together with all of the other dedicated board members, help to continue to elevate our industry. 

 

Andrew J. Klimkoski
President & CEO, Achieve Financial CU

Mr. Klimkoski was first elected to the CULCT Board of Directors in 2017 and recently assumed the role of Treasurer. He holds the position of President & CEO at Achieve Financial Credit Union located in Berlin, Connecticut. Mr. Klimkoski has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. A graduate of Central Connecticut State University with a degree in accounting, he also has an MBA in Financial Services from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Mr. Klimkoski is an active participant in the community, serving on a variety of non-profit, community and industry boards.  He currently serves as a board/trustee member of Connecticut’s Credit Unions Benefiting Financial Independence foundation. He also serves as a founding member of the board for the New Britain High School Academy of Finance and New Britain Academies Foundation. Mr. Klimkoski currently serves as an elected official on the Town of Burlington’s Board of Finance. He was a past member of the CCSU Community Engagement Council, local scouting leadership council and various League committees.       

Andrew and his wife Cynthia reside in Burlington with their two sons. He enjoys golf, outdoor activities, traveling and spending time with his family.

 

Vanessa Kuduk 
VP of Lending & Hispanic Outreach, Members CU

Vanessa made a great impression in 2002 when she interned at Members Credit Union as a high school student and was encouraged by management to consider a career at MCU.  In 2005 became a full time staff member, found her passion and never looked back. Starting as a member service representative fifteen years ago, Vanessa has moved up through the ranks to her current position and has had a positive influence on the growth and success of MCU. As a Peruvian immigrant, she believes in the responsibility of credit unions to bring safe, affordable services and financial education to our underserved Latino/Hispanic and immigrant communities.

Throughout her career, Vanessa has participated with and contributed to CULCT and CUBFI. In 2013 she was selected to intern at Neal and Massy North Credit Union as part of the Credit Union League of CT’s and the Credit Union League of Trinidad and Tobago’s international partnership. In 2014 she reciprocated by hosting a NMNCU staff member in her home and at MCU. She organized Financial Reality Fair fundraising Zumbathon events raising over $6,000 for CT Financial Reality Fairs from 2014 to 2018. In 2015, she was selected as a Credit Union Rock Star by Credit Union Magazine for her Zumbathon fundraising success for the foundation. Vanessa was selected as a GAC Crasher in 2016 representing CT. In 2017, she graduated from the Credit Union League of CT two year Executive program and she is a FICEP Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor. 

She became a Credit Union Development Educator (DE) through the National Credit Union Foundation in Madison, WI in 2013, a CaribDE in Jamaica in 2018, and in 2019 earned the coveted designation of International CUDE. She has mentored the CUDE program in Madison, developing the passion for credit unions to a new class of DEs. From her original DE training she developed two projects, putting into action the credit union philosophy and mission with her Latina flare. The first was the Zumba program mentioned earlier. Vanessa’s second project was to implement ITIN lending at her credit union. It grew into so much more and has been life changing for Members CU and the people they serve. She has been instrumental in developing the program, policies and practices. She has forged relationships with many non-profit organizations in our community and does numerous financial education workshops in English and Spanish on her own time. She was invited by Filene and Inclusiv (Federation of Community Development Credit Unions) to be a panelist at an ITIN lending workshop in Chicago and was invited to represent Hispanic-serving credit unions for Inclusiv at a Manchester, UK credit union conference.

Vanessa serves as Vice President of the board of the Hispanic Advisory Council of Greater Stamford where she actively participates with other non-profit and for-profit organizations to collaborate in serving the Hispanic/Latino and immigrant communities. For the past four years she has been a coordinator of an annual Health Fair bringing thousands of dollars’ worth of free medical services for underserved individuals who lack health insurance. She also collaborates with a local Latino magazine, “Latin Colors,” creating financial education articles every two months in English and Spanish.

MCU is a small, full service community development credit union with $29 million in assets. Coming from a small credit union has allowed her to learn so much from wearing multiple hats and understand the needs small credit unions have. She has also seen the need for underserved communities of accessing financial products and services with dignity. Vanessa hopes to bring her expertise, her own experiences, her passion of people helping people philosophy and the importance of financial education to the League’s Board.

In 2019, Vanessa graduated with honors the prestigious CUNA Management School through the Business School of the University of Wisconsin, becoming a Certified Credit Union Executive. Vanessa also holds an associate degree in Business Administration from Norwalk Community College.  Outside of the Credit Union, Vanessa is a Zumba instructor who is constantly doing Zumba fundraising events for different charity organizations in her community. She resides in Stamford, CT with her husband, their two little girls and her parents.  

 

David Sacco
CEO, FD Community CU

For the last thirty-two years David has been working in the financial services industry; ranging from national commercial banks to credit unions and community banks. He has served in various capacities ranging from a retail branch manager, senior loan officer, chief financial officer and chief executive officer.

His credit union exposure began in 2004 as a chief financial officer for a mid-size credit union here in Connecticut. He was deeply moved by the focus on member service he felt from the board level through the front-line staff, and also by the teamwork that existed between credit unions that was unheard in the commercial banking industry. The obstacles he experienced in the commercial banking industry between doing what’s in the best interest of the customer were gone in the credit union industry due to its non-profit and cooperative nature. He was delighted when he came back to the credit union industry in 2018.

He brings to the Connecticut Credit Union League his experiences and passion to help all credit unions better serve their members.

 

Bryan Woodward
CEO, Hartford Firefighters FCU

A financial services executive spanning over 30 years, Bryan has dedicated two-thirds of his career in the Credit Union movement. During the other third, he was fortunate enough to learn International Finance (Latin America & Mexico) and Credit Card processing, both for large Fortune 500 companies. The education and experience were priceless, but he returned to the comfort of the “family” that was provided to him by Credit Unions.

 A beginning that started underwriting loans, he has achieved CIO, COO and CEO ranks by focusing on member satisfaction, delivery and process. He has had many great mentors that helped him grow as they provided perspective that he had yet to learn. Taking their lead, he has managed by the “teach a man to fish” mentality led by his own desire to teach versus simply instructing. He also learned that both good Project Management and a clean database provide a smoother path for Credit Unions to grow while refined process and happy employees translate to member satisfaction and hopefully, their loyalty.

Bryan takes great pride in the employee tree he has created over the years and the successes they achieved both in the CU world and beyond.

Creating a multi-faceted resume provided him the ability to visualize solutions from both front and back office points of view simultaneously. Being able to solve front office problems with back office resources generally created on-time and on-budget, seamless and expeditious solutions. He spearheaded the first tellerless branch in CT, and then the first tellerless Credit Union soon after. He has managed multiple core conversions and rewrote and automated the entire credit risk process for the financial arm of Mercedes-Benz-Mexico. He has created call centers and implemented member service databases as well as introduced the SLA structure to all member inquires.  All this in an attempt to improve the delivery to the member and ultimately an improved member experience.

A father of two, and the youngest getting ready for the next stage of her education, much of my volunteerism has been in his own town. Being the President of the Fathers’ Club for the local elementary school for 5 years rewarded him with a Volunteer Recognition award from the CT Association of Schools in 2013.  A Babe Ruth Manager for 4 years (though he has no children in the system), and then a member of the Babe Ruth Board of Directors followed. He also served a 2-year term on the Trumbull Board of Education Policy Committee. He has joined the PTA the last few years to provide for the “After Prom” party for the Senior Class and he has also provided free IT consulting and maintenance services to many families in the area.  He currently serve as the Vice President of the Hartford Chapter of the CULCT.

He has seen the infrastructures of many credit unions, what drives them, and the many management styles they employ. He has seen both the money-making initiatives as well as the member-centric ones. It causes him concern and disappointment when some gravitate away from our roots and create a bank disguised as a Credit Union.He is old enough to have seen when a credit union membership was a benefit, when their loyalty was rewarded with superior products, and members came to them first regardless of the competition. This is what his mentors taught him was the backbone of the credit union movement, and he has always worked hard to live by that model. He currently finds himself in a credit union that is a tight knit family with extreme loyalty and takes membership as a privilege…a reward for their employment as a firefighter. 

As a volunteer, both in the local league chapter and possibly on the Board of Directors, he remains driven with that same desire to keep this philosophy alive. As the opportunities present themselves, he will work tirelessly to provide the experience that comes with membership, while mentoring the next generation to assure the movement stays alive. The league provides the support to help him achieve his goals. They unify our effort and our peers, while providing tools to help us succeed. As we all struggle against the competition from banks, we must assure that our members that we are the superior option will always allow the “family” to remain strong.