Experienced, Passionate, and Credit Union-Savvy,
with a Track Record of Turning Data Into Action—and Results.
Mike Defnet brings an extensive list of accomplishments to AdvantEdge Analytics. Throughout his career, he has led highly productive, engaged teams and developed many key leaders across the CUNA Mutual Group organization.
Prior to heading AdvantEdge Analytics, Mike was the senior vice president of business experience for CUNA Mutual Group. In that role, he was responsible for leading all aspects of CUNA Mutual Group's experience with credit unions, advisors, small businesses and other distribution partners.
Before that, Mike served as senior vice president of sales and marketing for CUNA Mutual Group, where he was responsible for leading all aspects of the business-to-business sales organization, including marketing and customer implementation.
Mike brings more than 30 years of progressive experience in sales and marketing leadership, sales operations and sales strategy. His extensive leadership background includes distribution of commercial, consumer and investment products for credit unions and credit union members.
Mike earned an MBA degree in finance and a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin - Madison.
Mike and his wife, Renee, live in the Madison area with their two children.
Wish you had a crystal ball that could provide the sure-fire next steps to drive your credit union's digital transformation? We're happy to bring you the next best thing: Shazia Manus.
A credit union data pioneer, Shazia has a history of credit union data firsts. She oversaw the system's first investment in leveraging offshore analytics capabilities and co-created the first member attrition model for credit unions using big data principles.
Those seem like data-centric achievements, but don't let them fool you. To Shazia, the credit union member is first; data is but a means to an end. Having been both a credit union leader and provider, Shazia understands the cultural nucleus, business model, systems, and digital gaps of both credit unions and system technology providers.
Shazia spent nearly a decade at Greater Iowa Credit Union, ultimately as President/CEO. On the provider side of the aisle, she served as CEO for payments processor TMG and most recently as EVP, Chief Product & Strategy Officer for CO-OP Financial Services.
She began her academic career at University of Dhaka in Bangladesh before transferring to Iowa State University where she earned a bachelor's degree in Economics. Shazia is also a graduate of Harvard Business School's Executive Leadership Program; the University of California, Berkeley's Center for Executive Education; and the CUES CEO Institute.
When she's not helping credit unions see how digital transformation can positively affect their members, Shazia is probably indulging in her favorite pastime: learning something new. Having completed a cake-decorating class, she continues to perfect her baking at home (ask to see one of her amazingly intricate designs); her piano lessons continue to inspire her; and she recently started studying with a Zen coach to improve her mindfulness practice. The common thread and one she embraces professionally too: an ability to lean on and learn from others.
Data nerd-tastic facts about Shazia: Although data might be stored as binary code, she doesn't see it as binary or black-and-white. It's messy and multi-dimensional -- and that's just how she likes it!
Stephen Arnold gets things done. His job requires it.
Stephen is responsible for leading, defining and executing the delivery and implementation of our solutions and services. And on top of that, he also takes a central role in leading business management across AdvantEdge Analytics.
With more than 18 years of management experience building and leading teams to deliver business results, Stephen boasts a track record of success in technology, business services and insurance. His experiences range from launching new strategic programs to rebuilding existing product lines. Collaborative, resourceful, energetic - these three words describe Stephen best.
Previously, Stephen worked as director of corporate strategy as well as vice president of partner management for CUNA Mutual Group. He led strategic partnerships and marketing programs with Fortune 500 insurance companies and credit unions across the country. Stephen also spent time working for Liberty Mutual, where he identified and grew emerging distribution channels in the small business insurance market.
Stephen holds a bachelor's degree in biology and economics from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire and a master's degree in business from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. He is also a certified Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE).
When Stephen isn't getting things done for AdvantEdge Analytics, he can most likely be found working out with his wife (so he can manage his love of cooking and eating) and attempting to keep up with his super-athletic daughters.
Data nerd-tastic fact about Stephen: He can often be found reading or listening to podcasts about economics. He is fascinated by how economic indicators help explain the past and predict the future. If you talk with his kids, you may hear them say things like "it's possible, just not probable" or "that's the power of compound interest."
No one knows and serves their members like credit unions.
But when branch visits are declining and the competition is as likely to be a technology giant as a bank, credit unions can't rely on traditional in-person or telephone interactions to understand their members' needs. They've got to leverage their data across all channels. And Brian Bodell is just the person to help them do that.
Brian believes data provides credit unions with tremendous opportunities to better serve members. Or, as he likes to say, "Credit unions need a data strategy to serve, grow and compete-period."
Before joining our team, Brian was the CEO of Finivation Software, a real-time integration platform and software development company with a nearly two-decade history of working with credit unions and leading technology partners.
Brian's other previous positions included VP of global channel development for Fiserv and President at qbt Systems, a banking technology resource. Ever forward-looking, he also serves on the advisory board for CULedger-a CUSO focused on distributed ledger technology-and the CUFX steering committee-an initiative focused on reducing integration time and costs for credit unions.
In short: No matter the credit union data and systems integration challenge, Brian's likely already taken a deep dive into understanding and solving it.
Brian graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Vermont and is currently getting his Masters in Cybersecurity from George Washington University.
When he's not headed to the airport for a business trip Brian's probably headed there for a long flight with his family. He loves global travel and describes himself as a "very adventurous eater." Brian admits to a love of sweetbreads, sea urchin and sea cucumber (please Google for a full appreciation of these seemingly benign delicacies).
Data nerd-tastic fact about Brian:He's currently pursuing a Master's degree in cybersecurity "for fun." Brian is fascinated by the role data plays in improving security-for things like fraud detection and authentication-and can't wait to spend his free time learning more.
Over a span of more than 25 years, Jeff Allen has helped design, develop and commercialize some of the world's most engaging technology platforms for companies such as Microsoft (Xbox Live), Redbox and WMS Gaming. Jeff has successfully launched multiple startup ventures and is a named inventor on 35 issued patents for concepts ranging from authentication, to multiplayer gaming, to family safety settings.
Most recently, Jeff has devoted his attention to helping service-based legacy industries effectively evolve for the digital era. His success in these endeavors is due largely to Jeff's innate appreciation for human-centered design. He believes the best solutions come from an intense understanding of users and their challenges, not the shiniest technology of the moment. His mantra is: "Love the problem, not your solution."
For AdvantEdge Analytics, Jeff manages the full product lifecycle. This includes strategy, roadmap and feature definition. He is keenly focused on delivering measurable value to end-users, which in our case are both credit union leaders and the members they serve.
Reflecting on his entry into the credit union space, Jeff said, "I've been fortunate to achieve a lot of my career ambitions. Being able to apply my expertise in digital transformation to an industry hyper-focused on providing financial security for everyone is a wonderful opportunity to truly make a difference."
Jeff holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Minnesota.
When he's not building the next big thing in data analytics, he's likely heads down, working feverishly toward an October 31 deadline. A Halloween extremist, Jeff applies his product builder mindset to crafting the spookiest house on the block. It's a project that becomes exponentially more spine-chilling with each passing year.
Data nerd-tastic fact about Jeff: He has a strong curiosity about technology's influence on human behavior. His first exposure to the phenomenon came shortly after he built the world's first video arcade gaming network to connect players located in different cities around the U.S. Not only did the gamers gather to virtually compete; many of them formed local alliances to their arcade and traveled hours to meet IRL (in real life). Delightfully unexpected. Jeff's Xbox gamertag, by the way, is Q.
Aristotle said, "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts." That's true of the AdvantEdge Analytics Product & Solution Delivery Team - in large part due to Jeremy Colson.
Jeremy has built and led three high-performing technology teams within AdvantEdge Analytics.
The DevOps team provides support across all functions within the organization, driving end-to-end automation of large-scale infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) models. The Application Development team focuses on building sustainable, self-service analytics and descriptive analytics products. And the Architecture team provides end-to-end enterprise architecture expertise across all products.
It's thanks to the work of Jeremy's team that the AdvantEdge Analytics cloud-based data analytics platform has achieved SOC 2 compliance. Jeremy also leads AdvantEdge Analytics Office Hours - technical sessions with clients designed to increase transparency and gain valuable feedback on products and solutions.
Jeremy has nearly 20 years of experience in data and analytics across a variety of industries. He holds two bachelor's degrees: one in chemistry and one in chemical engineering. He also attended Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base.
When he isn't sharing hands-on, tactical expertise with team members and credit unions, Jeremy is likely fishing (or wishing he was), remodeling his recently purchased house or hanging out with his family doing anything from playing baseball to watching movies.
Data nerd-tastic fact about Jeremy: He has worked with various aspects of data modeling since it was simply called math (not nearly as cool as data science). Whether it was Gaussian Plume Diffusion models for air pollution monitoring; Bayesian Networks to analyze fiscal/geospatial/familial relationships for the government; Monte-Carlo simulations to model risk in a variety of applications; or binary classification models to predict planned maintenance for critical laboratory instrument lines - Jeremy has been obsessed with the power of data and analytics regardless of the industry he has served over the years.
When insights are everywhere, you need a hands-on data connoisseur who can screen out the static and focus on the meaningful.
We count on Raj Rathi. Raj has significant experience in trading and the financial industry, spent nearly decade helping credit unions navigate data-driven strategy, and was the co-founder of data analytics firm, SavvyIntel (acquired by AdvantEdge Analytics).
Raj heads up development for AdvantEdge Analytics Platform Solutions. He keeps his eye on the ever-changing business landscape in credit unions — everything from underwriting, lending originations, branch performance management, product pricing, credit committee, and ALCO — and ensures our platforms reflect the dynamic environment they live in.
Raj received his master's degree in engineering from SGGS Engineering college in India. He then earned his MBA in finance. In 2007, he became a Chartered Financial AnalystÆ charter holder (CFA).
When Raj isn't getting life lessons from Warren Buffet or the Dalai Lama (two of his favorite inspirations), you might find him enjoying the serenity of a national park (he's visited more than 20) or listening to a Tim Ferriss podcast.
Data nerd-tastic facts about Raj: He has a passion for mentoring data technology to help credit unions leverage data easily and efficiently. He is obsessed with bringing simple solutions for complex problems.
Feeling excited about the wealth of data your credit union has access to-but also a sense of "now what?" when it comes to actually putting it to work?
That's because you haven't met Emily Engstrom.
As the leader of the Client Success team, Emily provides the critical last piece of your data puzzle. Whether you want to use data to better engage with your members, grow wallet share, uncover trends in fraud, better manage lending risk or optimize your marketing channels, count on Emily and her team to develop an exceptional data strategy that deploys your resources efficiently and effectively.
Before joining AdvantEdge Analytics, Emily held a variety of roles with CUNA Mutual Group. She helped credit unions throughout the Midwest manage lending compliance and operations and oversaw sales planning strategies for a number of CUNA Mutual Group products and services.
Emily started her system career with one of the Midwest's premier credit unions: $2 billion Summit Credit Union. There she honed her skills in lending, operations, retail branches and underwriting.
When she's not helping credit unions activate their data insights, you're likely to find her taking a run, traveling somewhere new or just enjoying time with family and friends.
Data nerd-tastic fact about Emily: Credit unions are one of her favorite topics around the office and around the dining room table. Emily and her better half met at a credit union and her husband continues to work there and oversees all retail efforts for the credit union's 34 branches. Which means Emily has daily exposure to the real challenges and opportunities credit unions face and the critical role data can play in addressing and optimizing them.
Looking for ways to leverage technology to improve member experiences? Look no further than Keith Dunlap.
Over the course of nearly 15 years, Keith has held leadership roles for fintech software as a service (SaaS) companies in a variety of industries, including financial services, digital marketing and e-commerce.
As the leader of AdvantEdge Analytics' sales organization, Keith helps credit unions find new and innovative ways to use technology to deliver improved member experiences, financial performance and operational efficiencies.
Prior to joining AdvantEdge Analytics, Keith was Manager of Strategic Partnerships for Carvana, an e-commerce platform for buying and selling used cars. In that role, he led strategy for all lender and SaaS lending platform partnerships nationwide. He also spent five years with CU Solutions Group, where he consulted with credit unions and credit union leagues across 26 states about their fintech SaaS technology and digital marketing needs.
Keith holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Central Michigan University.
When he's not looking for ways to use technology to improve credit union and member experiences, Keith is probably the life of the party at a gathering with family or friends. A natural extrovert, Keith enjoys any social event that gives him the opportunity to interact with others.
Data nerd-tastic fact about Keith: He loves tuning into podcasts, cracking open books and watching documentaries. His topic of choice? New technologies and ways technology will change (hopefully improve) human experiences.
Ready to start your data journey but not quite sure where you should be headed or the steps to make it happen?
It's time to call Aaron Grossman.
Aaron would love to meet your staff, learn about your credit union and your members, and walk you through the process of creating a data and digital transformation for your organization.
A long-time credit union member, Aaron has fond memories of his childhood credit union and the feeling that it always seemed to know and understand him. He's thrilled to help credit unions uncover and use data insights that can establish that same kind of connection for today's members.
Aaron joined AdvantEdge Analytics after successful careers with Oracle and IBM. There he honed both his data analytics knowledge and client service skills and showed dozens of companies how to use data to make informed decisions.
Aaron has always been interested in connections and structure and holds Bachelors degrees in sociology and architecture from the University of Virginia.
When he's not tackling a client's data challenges, you'll probably find Aaron outside-no matter the weather. Aaron loves to get away from his desk and head outdoors. You'll typically find him playing sports, checking out a great new restaurant or hanging out with his faithful companion Tucker, his Blue Lacy.
Data nerd-tastic fact about Aaron: He loves fantasy sports and has spent more hours than he'd care to tally up playing fantasy football, basketball, and baseball. Aaron admits to relying on luck when he first started playing. But once he realized the competition was using data and analytics to make their draft picks, he quickly changed his strategy (and even relied on a software developer buddy to build him a spread sheet).
Connections. It's not what you know; it's who you know. And Sarah Randle knows it.
Sarah has a knack for making connections with people - and data. She becomes energized when talking with credit union teams, learning their data challenges and exploring analytics solutions to help them grow and compete.
From working with startups to fostering relationships with community leaders, Sarah has a diverse background in marketing, sales, customer relations and education. No matter the role, she is driven by outcomes and data, strong partnerships and outstanding communication.
Sarah's passion for public engagement, economic development and maintaining positive customer relationships stems from her alma mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. There, she earned her bachelor's degree in human development and family studies.
When Sarah isn't solving credit union data challenges, she is spending time with her loved ones, figuring out yet another imaginative DIY project or enjoying the spontaneity of life. Above all, she is a wife, mother and social butterfly.
Data nerd-tastic fact about Sarah: She is captivated by relationships - or connections - between data points. Connections. It's all about connections.
John Papadia has held CEO, senior strategist, engagement manager and practice leader positions throughout his 20+-year career in data and analytics. Companies ranging from Fortune 500 firms to tech startups have looked to him for guidance on using data to generate insights and compete in fast-changing and wildly competitive environments.
John has led the planning, development and implementation of data analytics solutions for financial services organizations as well as for media, manufacturing, hospitality, retail and consumer products companies. As the leader of our Consulting Services solution line, he puts this rich experience to work for credit unions at all stages of the data transformation journey. Whether they are just starting out with data analytics, rebuilding their architectures or advancing into AI, the credit unions who work with him and the Consulting Services team experience incredible speed to value in the form of quick wins and data maturity evolution.
Credit union clients who work with John also experience momentum-driving results tied specifically to their business objectives. He and his team insist that AdvantEdge Analytics' deliverables are tailored to each credit union's unique vision and goals, organization and resources, and members and communities. With expertise across the data and analytics lifecycle, John engages with credit unions in fully custom roadmap development, enterprise data warehousing, business intelligence, predictive analytics, process enablement and change management initiatives.
When he's not building customized data transformation roadmaps, John is spearheading the growth of Nousot, a software company that automates predictive analytics using artificial intelligence and machine learning models.
Data nerd-tastic fact about John: He has consulted on data strategy with some of the most well-known brands in the world, from tech giants like Microsoft and Facebook to consumer favorites like Toyota and Disney.