OUR TEAM

Miriam De Dios Woodward, CEO
As CEO of Coopera, Miriam promotes Coopera’s approach to serving Hispanics throughout the credit union industry. This comprehensive approach has helped credit unions and credit union industry organizations position themselves for long-term growth by serving Hispanics. The idea of a “double bottom line,” where sustainable growth strategies are synonymous with social value is central to Coopera’s mission of partnering with people, businesses, and communities. Miriam also serves as Senior Vice President for Affiliates Management Company, Coopera's parent company.

Miriam has significant experience working in the financial services industry, having worked with State Farm Insurance Companies and John Deere Financial. She has served as a board member of various non-profit organizations in the Des Moines area including Alianza Latino Business Association, Iowa International Center, Latinas para Un Nuevo Amanacer (L.U.N.A.) and Hispanic Educational Resources (H.E.R.). She currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of Grand View University in Des Moines and is a member of Iowa State University's Women in Business Advisory Board.

Miriam was named a 2016 Woman to Watch by Credit Union Times and 2015 Latino Business Person of the Year by the League of Latin American Citizens of Iowa (LULAC). She is a 2012 recipient of the World Council of Credit Union’s Young Credit Union People Program (WYCUP) award, a former board member of the national Network of Latino Credit Unions and Professionals, a member of the World Council of Credit Union’s Global Women’s Leadership Network and an Advisory Panel member of Filene's Reaching Minority Households Incubator.

Miriam is a 2010-2011 Leadership Iowa class graduate and a Des Moines New Leaders Council fellow. Miriam has also taught English as a Second Language classes to first generation immigrants as an Adjunct Professor for Des Moines Area Community College. She earned her bachelor’s degree with honors from Iowa State University and is a graduate of the Leading Change and Organizational Renewal executive education program at Harvard Business School. Miriam is currently pursuing her Executive Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Iowa and resides in Des Moines, Iowa with her husband.

 

Alba Perez, Client Relations Director
As Client Relations Director for Coopera, Alba works closely with Coopera’s clients to implement Hispanic growth strategies. She assists credit union leadership, staff and system partners working to build loyalty through engagement and continuous improvement of services. Alba also helps with Coopera’s ongoing product development efforts, as well as promotion of the company’s products, services and thought leadership.

Prior to joining Coopera, Alba served as Executive Officer for the Office on Latino Affairs & Status of African Americans, an agency of the Iowa Department of Human Rights. She also served for nearly 12 years as Diversity Development Director for the Greater Des Moines Partnership implementing and organizing educational programming, networking and recognition opportunities on issues of diversity and inclusion for member companies and communities.  

Alba is a native of Honduras who has called Iowa home for nearly 30 years, serving in the non-profit, private and public sectors, as well as on numerous civic and community boards, including the Latina Leadership Initiative, Latino Center Board and Iowa Community Capital. She has been recognized for her work with the following achievements: Latino Achievement Award, Women of Influence Honoree, Passport to Prosperity Honoree, Latina Business Leader Award and Forty Under 40 Honoree. Alba studied foreign languages, English and French, at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras and resides in Des Moines, Iowa.

 

Lizeth Aquino, Client Support Specialist
As Client Support Specialist, Lizeth supports the delivery and fulfillment of Coopera's products and services. This includes Hispanic strategy assessments and analytics, consulting, training, marketing services, translations and Hispanic consumer products. She also coordinates client communications, assists with new-client onboarding and manages ongoing client request fulfillment.

A native of Colima, Mexico, Lizeth’s strong background in customer service and administrative support, as well as Spanish interpretation and translation, is a great asset to Coopera and its clients.  She has worked in the credit union, medical and logistics and transportation fields helping businesses better serve Hispanic consumers.

Lizeth is pursuing her marketing associate’s degree from Des Moines Area Community College, and holds a medical translating certificate from Mercy Hospital in Des Moines.

 

Kenia Calderon, Client Relations Associate
As Client Relations Associate for Coopera, Kenia works closely with the client relations team to assist client organizations in implementing Hispanic growth strategies. She coordinates client delivery workflow, assists in the product development process and represents Coopera at industry events. 

Prior to joining Coopera, Kenia assisted the Hispanic community with aspects of the immigration process at American Friends Service Committee. She also previously served as an emerging markets intern and project assistant at Coopera. Kenia is a recent graduate of Drake University with a degree in Management and a concentration in Entrepreneurship.

A native of El Salvador, Kenia has been a tireless advocate for Latinos, for the undocumented community and those with DACA status (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as Dreamers). Kenia’s advocacy work has garnered substantial local and national media attention. In 2015 she was named one of the “15 people to Watch in 2015” by the Des Moines Register and in 2016 she was named an Iowa International Center Passport to Prosperity Honoree.

Kenia is a graduate of the 2014-2015 Latina Leadership Initiative and 2017 Adams Academy cohort. During her time at Drake she co-founded three student organizations: La Fuerza Latina, UNITY Roundtable, and Drake’s Women in Business. She enjoys writing about the topics she is passionate about such as the development and growth of the Hispanic community, immigration, and access to higher education. A few of Kenia’s pieces have been published by The New York Times, Huffington Post, and The Des Moines Register.



George Poitou, Consultant
As a Consultant for Coopera, George focuses on consulting topics such as Hispanic outreach and immgrant lending programs. George is a native of Cuba and recently retired as the Chief Operating Officer of SCE Federal Credit Union based in Irwindale, CA. He is also the founder and the Chairman of the Board for the Center for Financial Empowerment, a non-profit institution focusing on offering financial literacy classes to underprivileged and minority students, local employee groups and the community in general.

George served as the President of Community Mortgage Funding (CMF); a CUSO that provides a full menu of mortgage-related products and services to credit unions. He is also the Chairman of the Board for Members Business Services (MBS); a CUSO that offers a full menu of business services to Credit unions.

Prior to joining SCE FCU, he spent 10 years with the California Credit Union League as Vice-President of the Compliance/Custom Training and Research/Information Departments. George has managed various credit unions, served in a management capacity at a number of for-profit financial institutions, and was a credit union board member. 

George was awarded the 2002 California Credit Union League’s prestigious Diversity award. In 2015, he was awarded the Distinguished Service award by the California Credit Union League and was inducted into the U.S. Credit Union’s House of Leaders. He is a frequent speaker at credit union conferences and seminars; speaking on issues ranging from regulatory compliance, lending strategies and policies, asset/liability management, and credit union philosophy. George regularly facilitates strategic planning seminars for credit unions of all asset categories. 

George is a Certified Credit Union Chief Executive Officer and a Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE). He holds a BA degree from California State University Fullerton, as well as a professional designation in Credit Union Management from U.C.L.A.

 

Murray Williams, Strategic Advisor
Murray Williams is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Affiliates Management Company (AMC), Coopera's parent company. He is responsible for alignment, integration and exploration across AMC's operations. He also serves as COO of the Iowa Credit Union League (ICUL) and is a PolicyWorks board member. Murray has been with AMC and its family of companies since 1996. He earned his Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation through the American Society of Association Executives and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Executive Program. Murray received his MBA and BA with honors from Iowa State University. He has served on the CUNA Strategic Services board along with other industry leadership roles. Murray has been inducted into the International Executive Volunteer Corps for the World Council of Credit Unions and is a recipient of the Leadership and Support Award by the Network of Latino Credit Unions and Professionals. He is a former chairman for the national Public Relations Society of America's Association/Nonprofit section and is active in his local community, including serving on the Des Moines Social Club board of directors.

 
Meet Our Board
 
Patrick S. Jury - Chairman & CEO, Affiliates Management Company
Patrick S. Jury serves as the board chairman and CEO of Affiliates Management Company. In this position, he provides governance oversight and innovative leadership for Coopera, PolicyWorks and TMG Financial Services. Since 2006, Jury has served as the president and CEO of the Iowa Credit Union League (ICUL). He joined the credit union movement in 1989 as vice president, government affairs and then as COO of ICUL. In 2009, Jury was elected to the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Board of Directors and currently serves as Chairman. Jury formerly served as a board member of CUNA Strategic Services and was an executive committee member of the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) and the Iowa Taxpayers Association. He earned a master’s degree in public administration from Drake University, is a graduate of the Institute for Organizational Management Program at Stanford University and has achieved the Certified Association Executive Designation (CAE) from the American Society of Association Executives.
 
 
Monica Fischer - Consultant
Monica Fischer serves as a consultant to Iowa nonprofit organizations as a representative for a private charitable foundation that provides anonymous financial investment in the human and social services sector. Prior to beginning this work in 2006, Monica served for more than 12 years in state government, including as Deputy Director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, Communication Director for the Iowa Finance Authority and Press Secretary in the Office of the Governor. She is active with the Iowa Council of Foundations and the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines and has served on several nonprofit boards. She received her Master of Public Administration from Southern Illinois University and her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Iowa.
 
 
Brent Helin - CEO, Des Moines Metro Credit Union
Brent Helin serves as the CEO of Des Moines Metro Credit Union. Helin joined Des Moines Metro Credit Union in 1992 as the executive vice president, and became the CEO in 2004. He has served as a board member for Iowa Credit Union League since 2009 serving as the finance committee chair, governance task force chair and most recently as vice chairman. He also formerly served as a board member of Community Business Lenders. He earned his baccalaureate degree from Drake University as was designated as a Certified Credit Union Executive in 2009.
 
 
Bob Hoefer - Strategic Consultant, Dupaco Community Credit Union
Bob Hoefer is strategic consultant to the Dupaco Community Credit Union Board of Directors. He retired as Dupaco president/CEO in 2012, after more than 48 years of service to the credit union. Hoefer is an honorary director and past board chair of the Iowa Credit Union League and has provided service to the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Renaissance Commission and Governmental Affairs Committee, Credit Union Executives Society (CUES), National Association of State Credit Unions, Filene Research Institute, and was an Iowa Governor appointed past board member of the Iowa Student Loan Liquidity Corporation. He currently serves on the TMG Financial Services Board of Directors. He has been recognized for his leadership of a Top 5 Iowa employer in 2011 by the Des Moines Register, named Boss of the Year by the Dubuque Jaycees in 2006. In 2005 Hoefer was inducted into the CUES Hall of Fame, in 2001 was recognized with the Iowa Credit Union League Cooperative Spirit Professional Award, and was named the first-ever Iowa CUES Manager of the Year in 1985. In 2011, he was named the CUES Outstanding Executive, an award presented for excellence in leadership.
 

Tom Kuehl - Consultant
Tom Kuehl has been active in the financial services industry in Iowa for more than 30 years most recently serving as president and CEO of The Members Group (TMG). He also served chief operating officer of AMC from 2008-2011 and as the president of Iowa Corporate Central Credit Union from 1981 to 2008. Before joining TMG, Kuehl worked for Postal Finance Company and First National Bank in Sioux City, Iowa. He graduated from Briar Cliff College in 1974 and served in the United States Army from 1966 to 1969.
 

Helen Pearce

Helen Pearce - CEO, Cedar Falls Community Credit Union
Helen Pearce serves as CEO of Cedar Falls Community Credit Union, where she held various prior positions in her 33 years serving the credit union members. Pearce served as president of Iowa’s Black Hawk Chapter of credit unions, a member of the ICUL Board of Directors and as Vice President of the Iowa Credit Union Foundation Board of Directors. She is currently vice chairman on the ICUL Board of Directors.

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