CTC Friday Conversation: Out of the Box Thinking about Financial Literacy

April was Financial Literacy month and what better way to explore non-conventional thinking than with a Commitment to Change panel featuring financial literacy pros! Learn what's working and what's needed to reach today's consumers and help them achieve financial freedom.

Our esteemed panelists included:

  • Kelli Holloway, Senior Vice President Outreach, State Employees’ Credit Union of North Carolina

  • Miranda Pierfax, Training Manager, USC Credit Union

  • Sarah Trela, Financial Well-Being Director, SEFCU

  • Tesha Wheeler, Youth Outreach Coordinator, DC Credit Union

  • Celeste Zibelli, Vice President Marketing & Financial Services, Water and Power Community Credit Union

Emma Hayes, AACUC Chief Diversity Officer and Chief Culture Officer for State Employees' Credit Union of North Carolina (SECU), moderated the panel.

Keep reading to learn more about our participants.


Emma Hayes

Chief Culture Officer

State Employees' Credit Union

Emma Norman is the Chief Culture Officer at State Employees' Credit Union (SECU). She previously served as the Director of Learning and Development for Local Government Federal Credit Union (LGFCU). In that role she launched The Institute of Leadership, a program designed to foster a cohesive leadership language and advance leadership at all levels of the organization. Additionally, she initiated a program to help LGFCU implement DEI goals, objectives, policies, and procedures. The program included an examination of current talent recruiting, hiring, pipeline and retention practices, formation of oversite committees and staff training and development.

Emma has 25 plus years of experience partnering with individuals and organizations seeking to advance their staff both personally and professionally. Her focus on relationship-building and service is what sets her apart in her approach to designing effective strategies tailored to meet the brand, mission, vision and goals for each unique engagement.

Emma's experience includes her role as the Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) for the African-American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC). She accepted this role after attaining her credentials as a Certified Diversity Professional providing guidance and support to business partners and affiliate organizations. She is responsible for leading the design, development and implementation of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategy and programs. As the CDO, she leads a team of diversity professionals focused on shaping organizational culture competence, promoting more diverse practices and encouraging inclusive policies. Emma designs programs that enhances DEI capability, skills, communication, and organizational culture.

Emma is a two-time graduate of North Carolina State University receiving an undergraduate degree from the Poole College of Management with a concentration in Finance, minors in English and African American Studies, then returning to receive a Masters of Education in Training and Development.


Kelli Holloway

Senior Vice President, Outreach

State Employees’ Credit Union

Kelli Holloway is from Raleigh, NC and began her career with State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) in 2009 as a financial services officer. Now, as the Senior Vice President of Outreach, she oversees financial education, community involvement and volunteer engagement efforts for the organization. Over the past 12 years, Kelli has been influential in building programs, trainings, and initiatives to connect SECU employees to members and the community. Kelli holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and English from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Southern Regional Chapter of the African-American Credit Union Coalition. She is a recipient of the 2020 AACUC Chairman’s Award for Advocacy. She is a wife to Michael and mom to daughters Ava (1 year old) and Zoie (4 years old). From “A to Z” the girls keep them busy and they love it!


Miranda Pierfax

Training Manager

USC Credit Union

Miranda Pierfax has been in the credit union industry for 15 years. She is currently with USC Credit Union in Los Angeles, CA as the Training Manager & DEI Advocate. Miranda is Co-Chair of their USCCU-United Committee and is committed to bringing diversity, equity, and inclusion to the forefront within her organization and its community. She serves as the Social Media Ambassador of the AACUC West Coast Chapter. Lastly, she is an alumnus of California State University, Fullerton, and is expected to earn a master's degree in Communications Management from the University of Southern California in May 2022.

When Miranda is not busy with school or work, she likes to write, spend time with family, and hike.


Sarah Trela

Financial Well-Being Director


Sarah Trela, Financial Well-Being Director at SEFCU, began her career in the credit union industry in 2010. Sarah holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Russell Sage College and an MBA from the University at Albany, State University of New York. She has a strong work history in the areas of workforce development and financial education leadership. Sarah enjoys fostering connections, promoting positive change through education, and collaborating with business partners to achieve success.

Sarah leads SEFCU’s Institute for Financial Well-Being, guiding individuals of all ages to achieve economic stability through relevant, engaging course offerings and positive conversations.


Tesha Wheeler

Youth Outreach Coordinator