SAN FRANCISCO – CUNA’s new chairman, Juri Valdov of Virginia, certainly has paid his dues in leadership jobs in the trade organization having served as a CUNA director for eight years, and now he finally gets to fulfill a long-time passion – find ways to: improve financial education, particularly in the public schools. “Financial education leads to financial independence” which means picking the right choices in life, said Valdov, an ex-Marine who served in Viet Nam. Valdov, who is president/CEO of the $1.4 billion Northwest FCU of Herndon, Va. has for the last year been vice chairman of CUNA but he also has held numerous other posts dating back to CUNA’s Renewal process, a broad re-organization of CUNA governance which Valdov helped engineer. In his debut speech to the Future Forum, Valdov said as chairman he plans to work on improving external communications with the public to convey a stronger message about CUs serving the public good. As an example, Valdov said “we have all these stories we share” internally about generous contributions of time and money to Katrina victims but not many in the public sector know about them. Credit union executives, he said, are often reluctant about detailing their own achievements or that of their CUs. Over the last year Valdov has served as vice chairman of Cavion Plus, chairman of CU Realty of Va., Md. and D.C. and has headed up the Children’s Miracle Network annual Cherry Blossom 10K Mile Run in Washington. He is a graduate of Penn State University’s Smeal College of Business and Administration. Valdov formally took office during a board election Sept. 26. Elected vice chairman and succeeding Valdov is Allen Kemp McMorris, president/CEO of Oakland County CU in Waterford, Mich. who moved up from treasurer. Continuing as secretary is Donald Larsen, president/CEO of Community CU of Tacoma, Wash. Tom Dorety, president Suncoast Schools FCU, Tampa, formerly member-at-large, became treasurer and succeeding Dorety in the member-at-large slot is Richard Ghysels, president of First Financial FCU in West Covina, Calif. -jrubenscut@aol.com