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CTC Friday Conversation: Extraordinary Women in Leadership


In honor of Women's History Month, join us for our next CTC Conversation: Extraordinary Women in Leadership. Monica Belz, President/CEO of Kauai FCU, will moderate the esteemed panel that includes Whitney Anderson-Harrell, President/CEO of Elements Financial FCU, Erin Coleman, Senior Director Advisory Services for Filene Research Institute, Priscilla Awkard, Vice President Teller Center for Coastal Credit Union, and Dayatra "Day" Matthews, Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel for Local Government FCU and Civic FCU.


 

As President and CEO of Kauai Government Employees Federal Credit Union, Monica Belz shapes a dynamic island vision for economic growth grounded in sustainability and social entrepreneurship.


Her 20 years of experience in social impact community development complements a diverse portfolio of work that includes disaster relief, wilderness survival and first aid, documentary filmmaking, numerous humanitarian projects and stints as an EMT Firefighter and PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer.


Early in her career, she launched a company specialized in advancing global projects for multinational corporations, real-estate development and portfolio management, and spearheading community development initiatives in financial empowerment. Her pioneering spirit has taken her on global expeditions to 45 countries on four continents.


Led by a passion for social entrepreneurship and her expertise in strategy, branding, market entry and business development, she achieved her Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE) designation through the National Credit Union Foundation, joined the Young Professionals Program with the World Council of Credit Unions and participated in Cooperative Trust’s CRASHER program. Prior to joining KGEFCU as CEO, she was Vice President of Strategic Development at Gather Federal Credit Union in Hawaii.


Monica is fluent in Russian and holds a Global MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management and a BA in Communications from Vanguard University of Southern California.


An avid hiker, climber and surfer, she resides on the island of Kauai with her three children and leads a dynamic team committed to innovation and a vibrant local economy.

 

Whitney Anderson-Harrell serves as Chief Executive Officer for Elements Financial.


Anderson-Harrell joined Elements Financial as President/CEO in February 2022. She previously served as Chief Community Development Officer at Michigan State University Federal Credit Union (MSUFCU), one of the top five Michigan credit unions according to Forbes. She also served as President of the Desk Drawer Fund and President of Ever Green 3C. Prior to her time at MSUFCU, she worked for Kraft Foods for 13 years in sales, marketing, and brand management.


She is known as a highly skilled and effective leader with experience leading a broad range of teams, projects, and responsibilities – among them are community and business development; diversity, equity, and inclusion; financial education; and strategy.

Anderson-Harrell holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration/Marketing from Michigan State University and a Master of Business Administration from Wake Forest University. She has studied in Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Mexico.


Anderson-Harrell has had significant community involvement on boards such as the African American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC) National Board, MLK Commission of Mid-Michigan, United Way, and Peckham, Inc.

 

Priscilla Awkard has been in the financial industry for over 25 years. Since graduating from Elon University, she has held a diverse background of positions. Starting her career as a Certified Retirement Specialist gave her a solid foundation and launched her into the world of big banks. Working for several bank giants helped her realize the people and the purpose are what really matter. Gaining experience along the way in different positions such as branch manager, workplace banking specialist, cross border banking manager and regional marketing advisor before entering the world of credit unions. For the last 11 years, Priscilla has fully embraced the credit union movement while working for Coastal Credit Union (Raleigh, NC). She currently leads the technologically advanced division of the Teller Center. The unique area of her job is that no Tellers are in the 24 branches of Coastal. With three locations she manages 77 individuals that support the day-to-day operations of teller operations, 94 Interactive Teller Machines and 17 ATMs.


Her belief has always been if you do what’s right for people it will always come back to you tenfold. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and currently serves as the Asst. Financial Secretary. She is also the Co-Chair for the Crosby Advocacy Group and a current Board member for the African American Credit Union Coalition. She holds several board positions for the following organizations: Sanderson High School Academy of Finance, Black Life Advisory Board and Phoenix Club for Elon University and Landings at Neuse Crossing Homeowner Association. She also received her Developing Educator designation, spring 2019.

 

As Senior Director of Advisory Services for Filene, Erin Coleman helps credit union teams and volunteers activate Filene Research Institute’s research and incubation work. She creates and delivers interactive programming designed to empower organizations to improve financial well-being across the communities they serve.

For more than 25 years, Coleman has been a credit union champion gaining deep insights about consumer and employee needs by working both inside and beside credit unions of all sizes. In her career at Filene, she has facilitated sessions for dozens of organizations of all asset sizes throughout North America.

Coleman places value on learning, honesty, and integrity, and has an internal compass that points to helping make the world a better place. She lives in Saint Petersburg, Florida, and loves to celebrate life her fiancé Enrique, and their blended family.

 

Dayatra “Day” Matthews is Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel for Local Government Federal Credit Union.

Matthews joined LGFCU in 2012 as the Senior Vice President of Legal and Compliance and was named Chief Legal Officer in 2021. Prior to joining LGFCU, Matthews was a partner in the Raleigh law firm of Bailey & Dixon LLP.


As Chief Legal Officer, she oversees all legal, compliance and risk functions, including supervising vendor and enterprise risk management programs, assessing bond and insurance policy needs, and providing guidance to Executive Management and the Board of Directors on matters related to corporate governance.


Matthews graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and obtained her Juris Doctorate from Duke University School of Law. She has served on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Credit Union Advisory Council and currently serves as a member of the Credit Union National Association’s Credit Union Powers Subcommittee. A past recipient of Triangle Business Journal’s Corporate Counsel of the Year Award, Matthews was recently selected for inclusion into the National Top 100 Black Lawyers.


Currently, she serves as President-elect of the 10th Judicial District Bar and as Chair of the Board of Directors of EarthShare North Carolina. She is a past President of the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys and its Political Action Committee; former Board member and Grievance Committee Chair of the Wake County Bar Association; past President of the Capital City Lawyers’ Association; and former Board member of Movement of Youth, a Durham-based nonprofit with the mission to prepare diverse youth to lead and succeed in the 21st century.


Matthews lives in Wake Forest with her husband and son and is an active member of her church. She enjoys playing tennis, working out, and watching her beloved Tar Heels play basketball.