EXCEL 19, the Annual Meeting & Convention, offered 4 days of learning, inspiration


EXCEL 19, the New York Credit Union Association’s Annual Meeting & Convention, came to a close yesterday. The event, which was held June 13-16 at the Sagamore Resort on Lake George in Bolton Landing, featured dynamic presenters, informative educational sessions, live entertainment, ample networking opportunities and much more.


EXCEL 19 kicked off Thursday with the opening round of the CUNA Mutual Group Golf Tournament to benefit the New York Credit Union Foundation. The event raised $35,000 for the charitable arm of the New York credit union movement.

Attendees then had a chance to network with their peers and leading industry providers during the EXPO and Welcome Reception sponsored by Alloya Corporate Federal Credit Union, as well as during the Young Professionals Commission YP Kickoff event.

“Opening night at the EXPO is always a great opportunity to reconnect with everyone I have come to know over the past several years, and to meet some new faces as well,” said Marc Valerio, partner with The Bonadio Group. “The EXPO brings everyone into the same room and gives them a chance to mix and mingle in a casual setting. It also gives us the opportunity to meet with board members and supervisory committee members that we do not always have the chance to connect with one-on-one.”

For additional highlights from Thursday at EXCEL 19, view the video below:



EXCEL 19 continued Friday with the opening ceremonies and the first day of the general session, which included opening remarks from Association President/CEO William J. Mellin and CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. Additionally, attendees heard from featured speakers Dr. Kevin Elko and Jason Dorsey.

Elko has worked with some of the biggest names in sports and business, including a number of successful NFL and college football teams. In his session, Elko explained to attendees how to be mentally tough when times call for it, and how to stay determined and focused on the things that are truly important.

He explained the importance of intrinsic motivation and how to stay motivated. He also discussed how to focus using specific self-talk, how to identify the internal “Voice of Judgment” and how to internally respond to it.

“Perseverance is the key when the challenges in life become difficult,” Elko told attendees.

Gen Z and Millennial researcher Jason Dorsey then took the stage to share insights into his generational research.

“Millennials are not tech savvy, they are tech dependent,” he said to the audience. “Gen X are naturally skeptical. They are self-reliant and loyal. Baby Boomers define work ethic in hours per week; no shortcuts to success. The boomers have the most wealth of all of the generations.”

He also explained generational “splits,” noting that “generations are clues, not a box.”

The general session concluded with a luncheon awards ceremony, where attendees honored chapters, credit unions and individuals for their outstanding service to their members and the credit union movement.

“This was my third time attending this premier event and it did not disappoint,” said Kaleb Wilson, financial center manager at AmeriCU. “It is moving to be among credit union employees and volunteers that have served for decades and encouraging to be amid the young professionals who are ready to carry the torch for the credit union movement. This event always helps to recharge and feed my passion for my own credit union and the movement as a whole.”

For highlights from Friday at EXCEL 19, view the video below:



Saturday kicked off with the CULAC/CUPAC recognitions, which honored the credit unions, chapters and individuals who demonstrated exceptional leadership and commitment to political action. Ann Hynes, CEO of SPX FCU, led the presentation.

Following Hynes’ remarks, acclaimed filmmaker and social entrepreneur Brett Culp took to the stage to discuss his uplifting documentary film “Legends of the Knight.” Culp pioneered a ground-breaking approach to community building and relationship-driven engagement with the film. His message impacted attendees on a personal level, motivating them to find the best within themselves and bring it to their world.

“Real leadership is inviting people on a mission to do something extraordinary together,” Culp said to attendees. “Stay anchored to your meaningful mission.”

Entrepreneur and credit union strategist Brent Dixon closed the general session, sharing highlights from his research and discussing his lifelong commitment to nurturing collaboration and inclusion toward economic, social and ecological sustainability.

“Communities want not just to survive, but they want to thrive,” Dixon said, as he explained the trends affecting member financial behavior and well-being. He discussed societal trends and challenges, as well as how technology is changing at an exponential rate. He encouraged attendees to ask the difficult question: “Where do I want my credit union to be in the future?”

Saturday concluded with the EXCEL 19 Gala and live music from the Silver Arrow Band.

“This was my first time attending EXCEL 19 and I had a blast,” said Kris Coleman-Jelinek, AVP of real estate lending at Hudson Valley FCU. “The keynote speakers were highly informative and very engaging. I met a lot of great people throughout the event and look forward to next year’s EXCEL 2020.”

Fellow first-time attendee Barbara Gutierrez, board treasurer of Ukrainian FCU agreed: “This was my first time attending and it was truly an honor to learn more about the New York credit union movement. I had the chance to network with some amazing credit union advocates.”


EXCEL 19 concluded Sunday with the 2019 Annual Meeting. The meeting included updates on the Association from Mellin and board officers. At the meeting, attendees learned of the results from the Association’s board elections. Mellin concluded by announcing next year’s Convention date, which will take place in Lake Placid on June 11-14, 2020.

To view pictures from the event, visit the Association’s Facebook page. Additional photos will be uploaded over the next several days.

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