3-Part Series: Advancing Women of Color Leaders in the Credit Union Movement

3-Part Series: Advancing Women of Color Leaders in the Credit Union Movement

First Session: Wednesday, June 29

Beginning Wednesday, June 29th, Inclusiv will host a 3-part webinar series focused on “Advancing Women of Color Leaders in the Credit Union Movement.” Our goal is to facilitate three inspiring and illuminating conversations which address the intersection of race and gender from the perspective of women of color leaders at different stages of their career journeys. You will be introduced to strong, resourceful female leaders who will share their experiences working in the financial services industry, strategies they’ve used to overcome professional challenges, and the types of changes that they feel could transform their communities.

Click here or below to watch a brief promotional video featuring Deborah Boatright, Inclusiv consultant, and credit union legend, Sheilah Montgomery:

Dates (register once for the full series):

  • First Session: Wednesday, June 29 - "Fully Realized Careers"
  • Second Session: Wednesday, September 28 – "Still on the Battle Ground"
  • Third Session: Wednesday, December 14 – "Leaders on the Rise"

Time: 2:00-3:30 pm ET

Questions about the webinar? Please contact Monica Copeland, MDI Network Director, at mcopeland@inclusiv.org.


Register once for the full series in the link below:

Meet the Speakers


Sheilah Montgomery, President and CEO, Florida A&M University FCU

Ms. Montgomery has been advancing the mission of the credit union movement, while increasing the economic viability of individuals, businesses, communities for nearly five decades. Ms. Montgomery is a Certified Chief Executive (CCE), Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE), International CUDE (I-CUDE), as well as the President and CEO of the Florida A&M University Federal Credit Union in Tallahassee, FL. During her many years as a CEO with FAMU FCU, Credit Union of Atlanta, and 1st Choice Credit Union, she was able to direct mission critical projects, develop organizational capacity strategies, and create management initiatives to promote long term financial sustainability. Ms. Montgomery currently serves as a board member of 1st Choice Credit Union in Atlanta and the National Disability Institute located in Washington DC. She is the co-founder of the African-American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC) and the 2018 recipient of the AACUC’s Pete Crear Lifetime Achievement Award.

Urla Gomes, CEO, Episcopal Community FCU

Urla Gomes is CEO of Episcopal Community Federal Credit Union (ECFCU). Ms. Gomes was born in Guyana, South America. She later migrated to Los Angeles, CA, graduating from Pepperdine University School of Business. She started her career in the financial services industry with Bank of America and subsequently moved to Sanwa Bank as Vice President as Branch Manager before becoming CEO of the Episcopal Community Federal Credit Union in 1994. ECFCU began serving its first members mere minutes from where the L.A. riots took place. The credit union not only opened its doors to remedy the inaccessibility of safe, regulated financial services—it did so with compassion. ECFCU has compassionately welcomed and embraced everyone walking through its doors—those with credit and those without, those who are homeless or have physical challenges, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and people from all ethnicities. Ms. Gomes has been a past board member for Inclusiv and has received many awards for her work in the banking and credit union industry.

Jama Haynes, CEO, Southern Teachers & Parents FCU

Southern Teachers & Parents FCU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has been a vital part of the community for 85 years. Under Ms. Haynes leadership, the credit union has made many technological advances, expanded loan programs and adopted a credit score analysis program to aid in member education, and provide a roadmap to improve credit scores. She was instrumental in securing a CDFI TA grant along with an MDI mentorship grant from NCUA. With over 30 years of credit union experience, Ms. Haynes served as Member Service Supervisor, ATM Program Manager and COO of Faith Community United Credit Union before moving to her current position. Ms. Haynes literally grew up in the credit union industry and understands the importance and need for the CDFI movement. She participated in the pilot program for Pathways to Financial Empowerment Program and has attended several Inclusiv conferences. Ms. Haynes is an active participant with her local credit union chapter and the Louisiana Credit Union League. She has been honored to serve in elected positions with her alumnae association and support the HBCU Alumni Association. She is passionate about serving her community and finding ways to educate, elevate and empower people.

Lynette Smith, Lead Consultant, Quantum Governance, L3C

Ms. Smith recently retired as the President/CEO of TruEnergy FCU (formerly Washington Gas Light FCU) where she served for over 13 years. Prior to that, Ms. Smith had a long career at Treasury Department Federal Credit Union where she served for 19 years as the Vice President/ Finance and Administration, Vice President/ CFO, Vice President/COO and Acting CEO. Among her many awards and honors, Ms. Smith was awarded the National Association of Federal Credit Union’s “Paul Revere Award” and CEO of the Year Award for credit unions under $150 million in assets. Ms. Smith has been on the Board of the African American Credit Union Coalition for over 11 years and is also Past Chairman. She was inducted into the AACUC Hall of Fame in March 2021. For the past 7 years, Ms. Smith served on the Board of the Metropolitan Credit Union Association as well. Both organizations provide mentorship and leadership to up and coming credit union leaders. In 2019, Ms. Smith, along with twelve other CEOs founded and created an organization called CUWLA (Credit Union Women’s Leadership Alliance). This organization is for credit union female CEOs whose credit union’s assets are under $300 million. Its major purpose is to provide a safe place for CEOs to exchange ideas. CUWLA officially launched the organization in 2021. Ms. Smith currently serves as a Board Member.

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