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Two Michigan Women Selected for Filene’s i3 Innovator Program

fileneThe Filene Research Institute has announced its latest selection for the Filene i3 program, a two-year innovation leadership program equipping top credit union professionals with the mindset, tools and network to lead and shape the credit union of the 21st Century.

Included in the latest inductees are two Michigan credit union professionals: Zeal Credit Union Asset Protection Manager Erika Carmichael and Financial Plus Credit Union VP of Operations Michelle Thompson.

Participants create impact through their work in cross-functional teams to explore and address some of credit unions’ most pressing challenges as identified by Filene's Think Tank and backed by research from Filene's Centers of Excellence.

“I’m honored to have been chosen for Filene’s i3 program. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to collaborate with remarkable colleagues on a shared vision for the future of the credit union industry and membership,” said Thompson.

“I am honored and thankful to Filene for the opportunity to be part of i3, and to Zeal for their dedication and support to my growth and to the growth of CU innovation. I fell in love with Filene when I participated in ‘crashing’ the Centers of Excellence and GAC 2022, and further through being part of i2,” said Carmichael. “I will never forget these opportunities; I’m excited to continue working closely with innovative minds to make the credit union industry even more remarkable and sustainable going forward, and I’m glad to be part of the legacy and lend a hand to continuously move CU innovation forward.”

“We are grateful for Filene and the organization’s dedication to innovation for credit union members everywhere, and thrilled that Erika, who is a thought leader and embodies our value of empathy every single day, will be part of this dynamic, member-driven team. Erika is passionate about the credit union movement and the innovation that Filene leads for our members,” said Zeal Credit Union President & CEO, Julie Kreinbring. “We couldn’t be prouder of Erika, her leadership, her dedication to improving the lives of those in our community and her ambition to help our members achieve their dreams. Congratulations, Erika!”

Filene’s i3 program provides industry leaders and innovators with a methodology to creatively apply innovative ideas through incubation and implementation. Collectively, the i3 community thinks forward and changes lives by leading innovation initiatives that bring about new products, processes, and business models to strengthen members’ financial wellbeing.

Filene President/CEO Mark Meyer congratulated both women, “We are thrilled to have next gen innovators be part of the network of Filene, and we look forward to spending the next two years growing and innovating together with them. These individuals are joining an impressive network of i3 alums and innovators, and we can’t wait to see what they bring to the program.”

Through this cohort-based program, participants learn cutting-edge innovation competencies grounded in three core categories. By engaging the diverse perspectives of members, staff, stakeholders, and subject-matter experts to co-create new solutions, participants learn skills essential for facilitating innovation. Through the process of exploring and iterating new ideas to gain insight, reduce risk, and validate solutions, participants become experienced at accelerating learning. Finally, mobilizing people and resources to inspire action is practiced for leading change.

With access to Filene’s research, networks and incubation process, Financial Plus and Zeal will advance its efforts to serve members and strengthen communities by building leaders focused on innovative consumer finance solutions.

Learn more about the program and learning modules at filene.org/i3.

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