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CTC Friday Conversation: "2024 Rosemary Brinkley C-Level Leadership Program”

CTC Friday Conversation: "2024 Rosemary Brinkley C-Level Leadership Program”


Thank you for joining us for our April Special CTC Friday Conversation: "Rosemary Brinkley C-Level Leadership Program."

During this conversation we heard from a few of the 2024 Rosemary Brinkley C-Level Leadership Development Program (BLDP) cohort participants share how they are committed to their professional growth and their organizations.

Our panelists were:

  • Brian Hege, Branch Manager, Coastal Federal Credit Union
  • Deborah Khaleel-Brooks, Vice President of Consumer Lending, Educational Systems Federal Credit Union
  • Jonathan Leysath, Business Development Manager, Self-Help Credit Union
  • Tonya Perez-Wright, Chief Experience Officer, USC Credit Union
  • Grace Thompson, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, LDSS, Senior Vice President of Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion, Local Government Federal Credit Union 

LaSonya Berry, Chief Human Resources Officer and President/CEO of McPherson|Berry moderated this conversation.

Keep reading to learn more about our panelists and moderator.

Brian Hege
Branch Manager
Coastal Federal Credit Union

Brian Hege is the Branch Manager for Coastal Credit Union. Brian has been in the financial services industry for over 19 years. With his professional growth, he has learned a variety of areas in banking and servicing his members throughout the years. Brian has a passion for helping and serving, he focuses on making his members feel important and helping with their financial journeys. Brian resides in Durham, NC, and enjoys playing golf and watching UNC basketball and football. Brian loves spending time with his family.

Deborah Khaleel-Brooks
Vice President, Consumer Lending
Educational Systems Federal Credit Union

Deborah Khaleel-Brooks is a Consumer Lending professional with over 20 years of credit union loan operations experience in the areas of consumer loan origination, indirect lending, sales, underwriting, quality control, loan documentation management, compliance, funding, portfolio management, and consumer loan servicing and collections. Deborah has proven leadership and organizational management skills with the successful supervision of up to 25 employees. 

Jonathan Leysath
Business Development Manager

Self-Help Credit Union

Jonathan is a distinguished Community Leader and Finance Professional with a strong commitment to community service. As a seasoned entrepreneur, Jonathan has successfully navigated the business landscape while maintaining a notable dedication to making a positive impact in the community.

 In his recent role as Interim Northeast Florida Regional Manager at Self-Help Credit Union, Jonathan demonstrated leadership in operations, deposit raising, and staffing across multiple branches. His focus on forging lasting relationships with community partners contributed significantly to initiatives aimed at creating affordable housing solutions in Northeast Florida. Jonathan’s impact extended beyond operations, as he played a crucial role in training and supporting managers to lead their teams effectively, aligning with the organization's goals.

Summer Passerella
Financial and People Manager
Coastal Federal Credit Union

Summer Passerella is an adept Financial and People Manager with over 15 years of experience in helping companies drive growth and maximize profitability. Her expertise lies in leveraging data-driven insights to identify opportunities, streamline operations, and deliver sustainable results as well as to create engagement within teams that she has led for optimal performance. Summer has helped numerous individuals and families navigate ever-changing, complex financial landscapes and to help achieve their long-term financial goals and continual success. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, attending live music events and spending time with her family.

Tonya Perez-Wright
Chief Experience Officier
USC Credit Union

As the Chief Experience Officer (CXO) at USC Credit Union, Tonya brings over 22 years of dynamic leadership in banking, marked by a commitment to innovation. Originally from a small town in Northern California called Oroville, she later moved to Southern California to start my career. Holding a Bachelor's degree in Organizational Leadership from Penn State and an MBA with a Finance emphasis, her journey includes pivotal roles at Union Bank, Comerica Bank, and US Bank – the 5th largest bank.

Transitioning from traditional banking to the credit union sector almost five years ago, Tonya's central focus has been on driving growth and enhancing member experiences. In her inclusive role as the CXO, she oversees member experience, deposit and membership growth, branches, contact center, digital team, and their recently established wealth division – collectively representing almost 50% of the organization. Tonya's primary goal is to elevate member experiences through their ongoing digital transformation, actively collaborating with fintech partners to integrate cutting-edge technology strategically designed to ensure their valued members enjoy a seamless and user-friendly experience.

Grace Thompson, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, LDSS
Senior Vice President, Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion
Local Government Federal Credit Union

Grace is a Certified Tilt Coach, with over twenty (20) years of Human Resources experience, which includes coaching executives and other leaders. She has worked in the financial, engineering, music, television, chemical, and association industries. She coaches and guides executives and non-management staff, focusing on achieving peak performance through relationship management and accountability. Her years of experience in for-profit and not-for-profit sectors give her a unique perspective on what is needed for success. Grace helps corporate professionals and small business owners to be effective leaders, maximize productivity through improved relationships, impact their organizations’ culture, increase profitability, and receive personal career satisfaction. She also assists senior management with establishing succession plans, identifying high potentials, and providing customized development coaching based on the individual’s readiness level. Grace is also certified in the CQ-i (Cultural Intelligence) Assessment, EQ-i (Individual and 360), Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Conflict Dynamic Profile (CDP), the Tilt 360° Leadership Predictor, and Benchmark 360° through the Center for Creative Leadership. Grace is a member of ICF Raleigh, a Board member of AACUC’s Southern Regional Chapter, a former Board member of the Triangle Society of Human Resources Management (TSHRM), and the APT-NC.

LaSonya Berry
Chief Human Resources Officer for African-American Credit Union Coaltion and CEO of McPherson|Berry

LaSonya Berry is the African-American Credit Union Coalition’s CHRO and CEO of McPherson|Berry, an industry award winning firm providing HR consulting services, leadership development, DEI solutions, and capacity building strategies. Ms. Berry has been a leader in human resources for over 15 years helping businesses and individuals achieve their full potential by increasing sustainability, driving operational excellence, minimizing risks, and developing leaders. A published author, including “101 Power Tips for the Workplace” and the “CEO Strategy Planner” for business owners and executives, Ms. Berry is a frequent content contributor, is featured in several magazines, a sought-after national speaker, and works with executives. 

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