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In 2014, Sam Brownell founded CUCollaborate to facilitate impactful collaboration within the industry. While working at Callahan & Associates in new product development, he identified needs in the market for new products and a new way of thinking.
Over the last few years, CUCollaborate has grown substantially, but one thing has always remained consistent, the mission of helping credit unions succeed in beating banks. The company initially started as a platform where credit unions could research vendors and leave reviews for their current products. Since then, it has transformed into a full-service credit union consulting firm.
The company focuses on three major areas: consulting, software, and marketing. These areas are where we have found most of the growth problems our clients have.
We currently work with over 100 credit unions that range in size and charter types. As we work with these credit unions, there are common pain points they experience. Those are the problems that we aim to solve. What differentiates us is how our proprietary software allows us to interpret data to provide the best possible results.
We believe in the credit union way and are here to support it in any way possible!
Founder & CEO
Sam has worked in the credit union industry for over ten years. He thinks every American should be a member of a credit union. In 2014, he founded CUCollaborate with the aim of facilitating impactful collaboration within the industry. Before launching CUCollaborate, Sam was Associate Vice President of New Product and Market Development at Callahan & Associates, a credit union consulting firm. Sam has conceived, overseen development, and had success launching multiple new growth strategies and solutions for credit unions.
Chief Operating Officer
Chris has more than 11 years of experience in consulting with a focus on data analytics, managerial cost accounting, workload modeling, performance and financial management. Before joining CUCollaborate, Chris helped clients develop and mature analytical capabilities to inform strategic business decisions at Grant Thornton, Deloitte and Callahan & Associates.
Bob Fenner started his career with credit unions in 1971 as an attorney for NCUA. Bob was named NCUA General Counsel in 1985 and served in that capacity until his retirement in August 2011.
As General Counsel, Bob was the chief legal adviser to the NCUA Board and had responsibility for NCUA's rulemaking, litigation and enforcement programs. Among other awards, Bob is the recipient of the NCUA Board's Gold Medal for Meritorious Service and the Federal Bar Association Banking Law Committee's Richard Peterson Award for career contributions to financial institutions law and policy. Bob works with us on specific projects through his own firm, RMF Consulting LLC.
Chief Technology Officer
Over sixteen years of experience in application development, cloud technologies and cybersecurity. Over eight years of technology leadership experience on Wall Street within the financial services industry. He is excited to leverage this expertise to help Credit Unions collaborate and consumers to find the best financial products.
With a master’s degree from the O'Neill School of Public & Environmental Affairs, Emily has experience working in local governments, with non-profit and community partners, and large federal agencies. Prior to joining CUCollaborate, Emily built managerial cost accounting models and oversaw increasing adoption of data modeling to improve transparency and business processes in federal budgeting. Emily strives to make her clients feel heard and aims to foster collaborative adoption and application of data and technology that enable credit unions to better serve local communities and achieve their missions.
Ruthie brings over a decade of operational management and business analysis expertise to the team. As a Certified Professional Manager Ruthie is an influential leader and skilled project manager. Ruthie is also a doctoral student, pursing a PhD in Global Leadership, with a focus on Organizational Management. When she is not busy conducting research for her dissertation, Ruthie enjoys seeing the world through culturally immersive travel. Ruthie enjoys leveraging her professional and academic experiences to help credit unions identify and implement sustainable growth strategies.
Luis has specialized in credit unions, their historical and current call report data, and analyzing statistically their performance and products, since 2001. Before joining CUCollaborate, his clients included, among others, the Filene Research Institute, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), and other research institutions, government agencies, consulting firms, and university professors.
Over the years, Luis has researched crucial credit union topics including deposit insurance, capital requirements, financial sustainability, and structuring credit unions for innovation. He is particularly interested in the complex interactions among asset size, costs, member benefits (credit union interest rates compared to bank interest rates), asset growth rates, returns on assets, and capital ratios. He regularly evaluates the performance and economic impacts of both traditional and innovative credit union products, of individual credit unions, and of subsets of credit unions, such as those for specific states and countries.
Luis received his B.A. in economics and mathematics from the University of Southern Mississippi and his PhD in economics with specializations in statistical analysis and finance from Auburn University, Alabama. His research has been published by the Filene Research Institute, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Opportunity Finance Network, the Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, the International Review of Finance, the Corporate Finance Review, Essays in Economic and Business History, and the Cooperative Business Journal.
Moriah is a graduate of Duke University with a degree in statistical science and a passion for all things data. In her free time, she enjoys making data visualizations and producing content on Twitter and Twitch. She is excited to visualize credit union data and help CUCollaborate discover insights that will lead to data-driven decisions.
Customer Success Manager
Huck is a recently returned Peace Corps volunteer from the Kyrgyz Republic and is excited to bring his experiences to the team at CUCollaborate. He enjoys learning about the ways cooperatives can affect people's lives for the better. In his free time he loves playing pickup basketball and biking to new and exciting places.
Josh has over seven years of experience in sales and account management. He takes pride in organizing, challenging, and leading his teams to exceed clients’ expectations. Josh lived in Ukraine, where his father serves as a missionary, for nineteen years before moving back to the States. He is also a talented musician and has played over 300 concerts. Josh is very excited to help our credit union clients thrive.
Sam Griswold is an experienced writer and translator with a background in literature and linguistics. He loves storytelling in all its forms and is thrilled to be able to bring this passion to CUCollaborate to help credit unions find their voice and tell their story.
Head of HR
As head of human resources, Buck is responsible for maintaining a positive work environment. Although he sometimes prioritizes play ahead of work, we keep him around because he has a keen nose for talent – we won't hire anyone unless they pass his smell test.
Tripp has been a trusted advisor to financial organizations throughout North America by leveraging his more than 28 years of business/technology experience as a CIO/CTO for three of the largest financial institutions in the world, consulting for hundreds of mid-size community banks and credit unions; in addition to, working for two of the largest FinTech providers in the US. He advises Boards, Senior Business Executives, CIOs/CTOs and other senior technology executives on strategic issues such as business/technology planning, organizational governance, program/project management structure, methodologies and delivery, optimization of their resources, and the strategic use of technology resources to achieve business and growth objectives.
Tripp’s most recent role was Developing a 3-5-year Strategic Technology Plan for OTS a Technology CUSO supporting 3 credit unions and a CUSO.
Prior to OTS, he was Head, Program Management, Financial Solutions and Global Technology at Finastra and Vice President – Client Partner Executive responsible for Fiserv’s overall credit union core platforms.
Tripp was responsible for defining RBC Royal Bank's enterprise-wide eBusiness architecture and CIBC's Retail Technology blueprint. While working with one the world's largest financial institutions, he was awarded the CIO Canada ITX Business Value Award for the implementation of the Viewfinder eBusiness platform which services Global Institutional and Investment Services customers.
Before founding Johnson Advisory Services, LLC. which provides technology advisory services to credit unions and mid-size community banks, Tripp was a Senior Consultant with Cornerstone Advisors, Inc./Gonzobanker. He held the position of Chief Technology Officer, Retail Markets & Products Technology for Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC). He served as Senior Vice President eBusiness Technology, eBusiness Group for RBC Royal Bank. Before joining RBC, Tripp served as Senior Vice President, Electronic Commerce Group for Crestar Financial Corporation (now SunTrust Bank), one of the leading financial institutions in customer- focused, online banking services. Tripp was also Manager of New Technologies for First Tennessee Bank in Memphis, Tennessee.
He earned his undergraduate degree in English and Political Science from the University of Mississippi and his graduate degree from Columbia University.
Tripp’s favorite quote is “It’s the people who no one imagines anything of, who do the things that no one can imagine”. He has two daughters; one has graduated from University of Edinburgh, Scotland and the other is in the School of Medicine at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada. His favorite movie is Patton and he is an avid Liverpool fan. On the weekends or in the evenings you will find him on his mountain bike or playing Xbox. He currently lives in Madison, MS and his favorite passion is reading anything he can get his hands on and writing.