Over 250 Years of Industry Experience
James cares deeply for everyone he works with and is considered the “fun dad” at CU Engage. He is an energetic, engaging, and laser-focused entrepreneur. James has never met a stranger, and you’ll never meet a celebrity who doesn’t know him.
James is responsible for leading both operational and business development teams in areas such as Core Data Processing, Credit and Debit Card Processing, Digital Banking, and Technology Solutions.
James brings over 30 years of experience in the Banking and Credit Union Industry to CU Engage with previous senior leadership positions at Fiserv and Open Solutions. Before founding CU Engage, James held the position of Chief Sales Officer at PSCU.
James was educated in England and moved to the United States in 1984. He lives in Treasure Island, FL with his wife, Bettina, and their daughter Alyssa lives in Orlando.
James' Fun Facts
Favorite All-Time Song: “Bohemian Rhapsody” – Queen
Favorite Cities: Cape Town, South Africa and Sydney, Australia
Trait that best describes me (in one word): Resilient
Dream Job (besides the one I have now): Richard Branson’s
Favorite Movies: Braveheart and Gladiator
Jenn’s confidence serves as an inspiration to the team. She has a go-getter mentality, which makes her competitive in every aspect of her life. She is successful and encourages her team to work hard and have fun while doing so. Jenn is our fearless leader!
Jenn is a Co-founder and Partner at CU Engage and has worked in financial services for over 16 years.
She spent several years working at FIS, helping financial institutions create strategies for their digital channels. Then she worked as Vice President, Credit Union Experience for PSCU with a focus on the member experience. She worked with credit unions as they selected their partners for Credit, Debit, Online Banking, Mobile, and Bill Pay.
Jenn was inducted into Tampa Bay Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 in 2019. She graduated from James Madison University with a focus on design and communication. When not working, Jenn enjoys spending time with her husband and two young sons in Tampa, FL.
Jenn's Fun Facts
Favorite All-Time Song: “Glory Days” – Bruce Springsteen
Favorite Cities: Charleston, SC and Nashville, TN
Trait that best describes me (in one word): Determined
Dream Job (besides the one I have now): Interior designer – with someone else’s money!
Favorite Movies: Hitch and My Best Friend’s Wedding
As the Office Administrator, Justine provides critical administrative support to our nationwide team from our St. Petersburg corporate headquarters. She brings over 20 years of experience in office management and administrative support, as well as a strong background in real estate loan servicing, accounting, marketing, and project management. Her diverse experience has prepared her for the fast-paced, project-specific needs of CU Engage.
Outside of work, Justine and her husband enjoy volunteering and attending sporting events and other functions involving their two daughters. They also love going to theme parks, the dog park, playing board games, and family movie nights.
Justine’s Fun Facts
Favorite All-Time Song: “Same Old Lang Syne” – Dan Fegelberg
Favorite Cities: San Diego, CA and Lake Buena Vista, FL
Trait that best describes me (in one word): Caring
Dream Job (besides the one I have now):Quality Control (taste tester) for Lindt – Lindor Truffles
Favorite Movies: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Ever After, and The Nightmare Before Christmas
Chassidy is always smiling and making others laugh. She is honest, reliable, and positive, which keeps work fun and engaging. Chassidy loves nurturing ideas and can be counted on to jump in to help see them through to fruition. She is detail-oriented and direct, which helps with her position as a Strategic Consultant.
As a Strategic Consultant, Chassidy is an advocate for credit unions and leverages her experience and knowledge to guide credit unions through the complex process of making vendor decisions. She works on RFPs for Credit, Debit, Brand, and ATM. Additionally, Chassidy has experience in OLB/Mobile and LOS evaluations. She also specializes in negotiations for Credit/Debit, Rewards, Brand, and OLB/Mobile. Chassidy is responsible for requirements gathering, managing multiple vendors, and negotiating price and contract terms on behalf of her clients.
Before joining CU Engage Chassidy worked with the Sales and Client Relations teams at TMG (now CO-OP) and has experience in product demos and marketing.
Chassidy received her MBA from WGU and undergraduate degrees from Simpson College. Chassidy resides in Adel, Iowa with her husband, daughter, two cats, and dog.
Chassidy’s Fun Facts
Favorite All-Time Song: “Me and Bobby McGee” – Janis Joplin
Favorite Cities: Gulf Shores, AL and Edinburgh, Scotland
Trait that best describes me (in one word): Outgoing
Dream Job (besides the one I have now): International Traveling College Professor (is that even a thing?)
Favorite Movies: Hope Floats
Nell is a strategic and process-oriented leader. Her approach to solving business problems begins with developing a thorough understanding of the relationship of business requirements to the company mission. At CU Engage, Nell collaborates across all lines of business to align opportunities to improve effectiveness, increase capacity, and streamline approach to the executive vision for growth.
Nell’s primary focus at CU Engage is to transform business operations for growth, implement leading practices for consulting and business analysis, and advise credit union clients through their business transformation. Nell brings over 20 years of experience leading consulting teams in the industry. She has held leadership positions at financial institutions and in the FinTech world.
Before joining CU Engage, Nell was Director of Execution Services for Fiserv Strategy and Innovation. She is a Six Sigma Master Black Belt specializing in leadership and the deployment of Process Optimization, Organizational Efficiency, and Business Transformation. She has successfully implemented process and organizational change across financial institutions, resulting in millions of dollars of expense reduction and resource re-allocation.
Nell holds a Bachelor of Economics from St. Mary’s College in Maryland, and she completed post-graduate work at N.C. State University. Nell lives in Mount Dora, FL. In her free time, she enjoys small-town festivals and day trips to Disney World with her husband, Craig, and two elementary-aged children, Jack and Eillen.
Nell's Fun Facts
Favorite All-Time Song: “In My Arms” – Plumb
Favorite Cities: Lake Buena Vista, FL; Exploring new cities
Trait that best describes me (in one word): Loyal
Dream Job (besides the one I have now): Travel Advisor/Critic
Favorite Movies: The Goonies, Jumanii:Welcome to the Jungle
Kristin cares about CU Engage like family. She is a creative thinker who motivates her team and enables them to reach their full potential. Kristin is a great mom, mentor, and friend, who is a well-versed marketing leader.
At CU Engage, Kristin leads both the marketing team and our member experience initiatives. She consistently launches new campaigns, tests theories, develops strategies that deliver results, and analyzes those results culminating in the establishment of CU Engage as a trusted brand in the industry. She gets amped for strategy sessions and likes to “nerd out” on good user experience and process establishment.
Kristin is the mastermind behind CU Ignite, which leverages CU Engage’s proven four-step process to provide growth and member experience strategies for financial institutions. Ignite allows Kristin to push the boundaries of her nine years of experience in analytics, strategy, design, and user experience.
Before joining CU Engage, Kristin developed marketing strategies for a venture capital organization and was responsible for building relationships and fundraising in regional B2B sales.
Outside of work, you can find Kristin trekking waterfalls in the Blue Ridge Mountains or kayaking one of her favorite FL springs. She also loves exploring the foodie scene in downtown Saint Pete, where she lives with her wife, daughter, and doggos.
Kristin's Fun Facts
Favorite All-Time Song: “Fortunate Son” – CCR
Favorite Cities: Stuttgart, Germany, Boleslawiec, Poland, Asheville, NC, and St. Petersburg, FL
Trait that best describes me (in one word): Adaptable
Dream Job (besides the one I have now): Photo Journalist
Favorite Movies: Life as a House, Forrest Gump
You can’t help but smile when you’re in Ava’s presence. She is so smart and knowledgeable, especially about PIN Networks, and always goes the extra mile to explain things. Ava is the mama bear of the team and pleasure with whom to work.
As a Strategic Consultant, Ava Farrell works on PIN Network Assessments, Credit/Debit Processing Evaluations, Brand Negotiation, and Credit Card Conversion Oversight. She has experience in Pricing Analysis, Product Development, Training, Project Management, and Contract Negotiation.
She began her career in banking and transitioned to payment networks. Over the past 20 years, Ava has held many roles with HONOR/STAR, CU24, and First Data. Each of her positions focused on client relations, which allowed her the opportunity to work with many credit unions.
Ava lives in Oviedo, Florida with her husband, Dean. Ava and Dean love to travel and spend time with their six kids and two grandsons. She is very family-oriented and likes to host family gatherings. P.S. Ava loves fireworks!
Ava's Fun Facts
Favorite All-Time Song: “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” – Aerosmith
Favorite Cities: NYC and Florence, Italy
Trait that best describes me (in one word): Genuine
Dream Job (besides the one I have now): Café Owner
Favorite Movies: Top Gun and Pearl Harbor
Kaytee is dedicated to efficiently assisting credit unions select vendors that meet their needs and promote innovation and positive member experience.
Prior to joining the CU Engage team as a Business Project Analyst/Project Manager, Kaytee began her career in banking at Wells Fargo and moved on to work for Columbia Credit Union where she worked for seven years. During her career, Kaytee has worked in many areas of the credit union industry from branches and call centers to being a Lead Digital Banking Specialist.
Kaytee leverages her diverse credit union experience and project expertise (e.g. core banking conversion and online channel knowledge) in order to provide clients the best support during their vendor evaluation process.
When she’s not working, Kaytee and her husband – who live in Highland, CA – enjoy the outdoors, rock climbing, hiking, and camping.
Kaytee's Fun Facts
Favorite All-Time Song: “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” – Otis Redding and “Amsterdam” – Gregory Alan Isakov
Favorite Cities: London, New York, and South Lake Tahoe
Trait that best describes me (in one word): Dedicated
Dream Job (besides the one I have now): Cafe Owner or Farm Owner
Favorite Movies: You’ve Got Mail, Pride and Prejudice, Life is Beautiful, Mr. Holland’s Opus
Mike is a Strategic Consultant who brings over 30 years of financial services industry experience to CU Engage. Mike has been a financial institution executive and held leadership positions as both a vendor and a consultant. His expertise is the perfect blend to best support clients of all types and charters.
Mike is responsible for contributing to the existing payment, digital, and technology core competencies. He also builds additional complimentary services around technology due diligence, process improvement, vendor management, and market-bearing contractual negotiations across the industry.
Mike is originally from the Midwest, where he attended college. He has lived across the United States and currently resides in Oregon with his wife, Tricia. When not thinking about his clients, Mike is a foodie who enjoys fine wine, golfing, and spending time with his friends.
Mike's Fun Facts
Favorite All-Time Song: “Perfect” – Ed Sheeran
Favorite Cities: Cannes, France; Hilton Head, SC; Columbus, OH
Trait that best describes me (in one word): Trustworthy
Dream Job (besides the one I have now): Professional Athlete, preferably basketball, but anything that allows me to make a living while playing a game
Favorite Movie: American Sniper, Animal House
Jeff’s positive attitude and his enthusiasm for the credit union industry shine through in every conversation he has. He is motivated and driven to succeed. Jeff’s professionalism and his “sizzle” (his favorite word) are a winning combination.
As Director of Business Development at CU Engage, Jeff Rice drives the generation of new and ongoing sales at the company. Jeff was introduced to the credit union movement by his father, who spent his entire career in the industry.
In addition to being raised in a credit union boardroom, Jeff leverages over 18 years of his own career experience in the financial industry. His prior positions range from being a Key Client Executive with Fiserv, SVP of Business Development with an FI consulting firm, and various roles within CUNA Mutual Group.
In his spare time, Jeff enjoys morning workouts at Orangetheory and spending time with his wife, Courtney, and their children, Annabelle, Leo, and Colton.
Jeff's Fun Facts
Favorite All-Time Song: “Let’s Stay Together” – Al Green
Favorite Cities: New York, Washington D.C., San Diego, Minneapolis (in the summer!), Indianapolis
Trait that best describes me (in one word): Spirited
Dream Job (besides the one I have now): NFL Agent
Favorite Movie: Elizabethtown, The Goonies
Catherine is an outgoing and bubbly individual who is willing to learn and jump into new things. Her writing may be strong, but her GIF game is stronger! She is fun-loving and always smiling. Catherine is an encouraging, bright, and witty person who brings positivity to the CU Engage office daily.
Since coming on board, Catherine has applied her background in social networking, design, and blogging to the Marketing team at CU Engage. She has grown as a marketing professional and helped to improve the efforts of our team.
Before joining the CU Engage team, she was responsible for composing press kits, event planning, and assisting account management for a medical public relations company.
Outside of work, Catherine enjoys getting out in the Florida sun and being active (e.g., kayaking, yoga, and walking her dog).
Catherine's Fun Facts
Favorite All-Time Song: “Island In The Sun” – Weezer
Favorite Cities: Los Angeles
Trait that best describes me (in one word): Witty
Dream Job (besides the one I have now): Podcast Host
Favorite Movie: Pride and Prejudice and Molly’s Game
Social Media Management
Jessica is wise beyond her years. She is our detail-oriented database queen who is always willing to talk data. Jessica is funny, thoughtful, and humble.
As Senior Financial Analyst, Jessica builds tools for internal and external use to ensure our clients get a maximum return on their investment. She specializes in SQL database design and reporting. Jessica creates, stores, and manages the database at CU Engage to automate our processes. She is responsible for locating and utilizing new data sources and creating useful graphics to visualize the data.
Jessica has over 15 years of banking and credit union industry experience. She was a Credit Union Examiner for the State of Iowa and worked in analytics at Grow Financial Federal Credit Union in Tampa, FL.
Jessica received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa. She enjoys Tampa’s warm weather and cheering on the Chicago Bears with her husband and two young sons.
Jessica's Fun Facts
Favorite All-Time Song: “Seasons of Love” (from Rent) and “Home” – Michael Bublé
Favorite Cities: Tampa, FL and St. John’s, Antigua
Trait that best describes me (in one word): Dedicated
Dream Job (besides the one I have now): Luxury-experience tester for spas, vacations, cuisines, etc.
Favorite Movies: I’m embarrassed to say I’m a sucker for Hallmark Christmas movies. The cheesier the better.
Lizzy is a fearless go-getter who learns quickly and tackles things head-on. Many consider her an old pro because she is a superstar at her job. Lizzy is willing to help and is encouraging of others. She loves food almost as much as Kody (cooking, eating, you name it), and her memes make everything that much more fun.
Lizzy is a Strategic Business Analyst at CU Engage who specializes in Payments and Channels and Digital evaluations. She works on Credit/Debit, Digital Banking, Bill Pay, Electronic Payments, Brand and Core projects. Lizzy leverages her background from FIS in research, project management, marketing, and communications to advocate on behalf of credit unions.
An avid Florida Gators fan, Lizzy earned her bachelor’s degree and a Master’s in Management at the University of Florida. She now lives in Washington, D.C. and likes to cook, eat, travel, and spend time with friends and family.
Lizzy's Fun Facts
Favorite All-Time Song: “What Goes Around Comes Around” – Justin Timberlake
Favorite Cities: Santorini, Greece and Washington, D.C.
Trait that best describes me (in one word): Ambitious
Dream Job (besides the one I have now): Professional Chef
Favorite Movie: Step Brothers
Jen wears many hats at CU Engage from Business Analyst and project manager to finance guru and problem solver. She always meets, if not exceeds, the needs of our clients and team. Jen loves to strategize and considers herself a builder. In fact, when she first joined CU Engage, she helped develop our RFPs. Jen is dedicated and willing to invest her time to teach others. She is also a wonderful mother who always goes the extra mile.
As a Business Analyst at CU Engage, Jen leverages 17 years of industry experience to support CU Engage clients in reaching their goals. She is passionate about motivating innovation and helping bring credit unions to the next level. Before joining CU Engage, Jen held the position of Vice President Digital Banking and Payments with Columbia Credit Union. Her experience in the credit union industry enables her to better empathize with our clients.
When not working, Jen enjoys spending time with her husband and two young sons in Vancouver, WA. They love visiting the local library, which has been named one of the best children’s libraries in the nation.
Jen's Fun Facts
Favorite All-Time Song: Sway – Michael Bublé
Favorite Cities: Victoria, B.C. and Heidelberg, Germany
Trait that best describes me (in one word): Driven
Dream Job (besides the one I have now): Dance Choreographer
Favorite Books: Switch by Heath Brothers and Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
Favorite Movie: Charade
Ana is a passionate and knowledgeable professional with a can-do attitude who is always willing to help others. It’s great to see how family-oriented Ana is with her daughter and hearing her speak Spanish on the phone with her mom. She is known around the office as the “Girl Scout Cookie Queen” because every year we single-handedly help her daughter make her quota.
Ana is a Strategic Consultant, and she works hands-on with credit unions guiding them through Renewals, Evaluations, and Re-negotiations in Credit/Debit, Online Banking, Brand, Core, Rewards/Loyalty, and Startups.
Her credit union journey began in 1999 as a Bi-Lingual Contact Center Representative at PSCU and later progressed into product development and project management. In 2008, she moved to Grow Financial, where she spent over seven years in project management and product ownership across Credit, Debit, ATM, Online Banking, Symitar Core, Bill Pay, and Lending.
At CU Engage, Ana focuses on the continual improvement of our processes and content to streamline how we deliver value. She values building strong relationships and maintaining good rapport with clients and vendors to ensure everyone’s satisfaction.
Ana's Fun Facts
Favorite All-Time Song: “Dream On” – Aerosmith
Favorite Cities: Manhattan and Maui
Trait that best describes me (in one word): Driven
Dream Job (besides the one I have now): Real estate investor buying fixer-uppers, fixing and flipping them
Favorite Movies: Me Myself and Irene and Tangled
Dean uses his 25 years of experience in business and information technology to help enterprises architect and deliver platforms and products based on emerging technology. Dean leads product development at CU Engage by building solutions that create value for our clients and partners.
Before joining CU Engage, Dean was the Director of Product at tyGraph, where he helped guide the creation of the tyGraph product portfolio, a leading Office 365 reporting and analytics solution.
Dean is a two-year Microsoft MVP award winner and formerly-certified Project Management Professional. He graduated from Chapman University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Dean also holds a degree in Information Systems and is a Jimmy Buffett scholar in his spare time.
Dean's Fun Facts
Favorite All-Time Song: “One Particular Harbor” – Jimmy Buffett
Favorite Cities: London, New York City, Destin, FL
Trait that best describes me (in one word): Passionate
Dream Job (besides the one I have now): Charter Boat Captain
Favorite Movies: Forest Gump, The Majestic, and Casablanca
Kody never backs down from a challenge and is always there for others when they need him – even when he’s working on 17 separate projects of his own. He used to play college football, so he’s been recruited as the company bodyguard. Although Tuupo cuts an intimidating figure, he makes sure everyone feels welcome by giving every CU Engage team member a nickname. He also makes a point to say “Hello” and “Goodbye” to each of us in the office every day. He genuinely cares about his coworkers and his clients, not just food!
As a Strategic Business Analyst, Kody works on Credit/Debit, Brand, Online Banking, In-House Oversight, and ATM client projects.
Kody began his career at PSCU in the Fraud Detection Work Center and later moved into the Risk Intelligence team as a Lead Analyst. He has experience in client relations, training, and project management.
Kody lives in St. Petersburg, FL and spends as much time as possible with the woman of his dreams, and their four (and, hopefully, counting) kids!
Kody's Fun Facts
Favorite All-Time Song: Any song my Dad sings (Tom Jones, Elvis, etc.)
Favorite Cities: Atlanta, Los Angeles, Sailele
Trait that best describes me (in one word): Relentless
Dream Job (besides the one I have now): 21-Time Major Championship Winning Professional Golfer
Favorite Movie: Any true story.
Vikki is the tie that binds at CU Engage. She is patient, professional, and calm and always does whatever she can to help. Vikki is known for her prompt responses and offering different perspectives. She is both a co-worker and a friend, which is a rare relationship to cultivate in the workplace and a precious one.
Vikki’s career thus far has been a fusion of marketing and zookeeping. Her eclectic background, paired with her Psychology and Animal Behavior Bachelor of Science degrees, enabled her to become a master communicator. She has trained a variety of animals as well as several unruly CU Engage team members! Vikki’s unique experience certainly brings a fresh spin to our marketing initiatives.
Outside of work, Vikki enjoys rock climbing with her husband and spending time with her dog.
Vikki's Fun Facts
Favorite All-Time Song: “The Way You Make Me Feel” – Michael Jackson
Favorite Cities: Sydney, Australia and Lisbon, Portugal
Trait that best describes me (in one word): Creative
Dream Job (besides the one I have now): Stuntwoman
Favorite Movie: Moulin Rouge and Boondock Saints
Loretta is multi-talented, yet she remains a “humble warrior” who makes whomever she’s working with feel like a priority. She is a smart and efficient team player who is very analytical. Loretta is so much fun to be around, and she also loves cars!
Strategic Digital Consultant, Loretta works on evaluations for Online/Mobile Banking; Loan Origination Systems; New Account Opening; Bill Pay/P2P; and Analytics. Loretta also specializes in Contract Negotiations; Data Analytics Strategy Plans; Strategic Technology Plans; and Technology Assessments.
Before joining CU Engage as a Strategic Digital Consultant, Loretta spent 18 years with San Diego County Credit Union. She had the opportunity to lead several business areas, including training, service and sales, data warehouse, and business development. For the last nine years Loretta spent at San Diego County CU, she served as Senior Vice President of eCommerce.
Loretta was responsible for all aspects of online business and consumer banking, mobile banking, electronic payments, and numerous other member-facing systems. She also led enterprise-wide technology initiatives from inception to completion, often being first to market with new online services.
Loretta's Fun Facts
Favorite All-Time Song: “Dancing Queen” – Abba
Favorite Cities: Palm Springs, CA and Montreux, Switzerland
Trait that best describes me (in one word): Energetic
Dream Job (besides the one I have now): Hot Rod Builder
Favorite Movies: Rocky, Rain Man, The Matrix