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The phrase “trial and error” sums up Noel Sanger’s leadership journey well, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

For the latest Trailblazer 40 Below, who has been a 2014 CUES Next Top Credit Union Executive Top 5 finalist, spoken at conferences and served as one of 13 Young Professional Advisors for the Cornerstone Credit Union League, constantly stepping out of his comfort zone has made all the difference. Sanger said taking chances has opened doors to rewarding opportunities that have helped him grow both professionally and personally.

Just under four years ago, Sanger was recruited by United Federal Credit Union in St. Joseph, Mich., and the then-banker took a chance and moved to Arkansas to serve as market vice president. From the moment he interviewed in Michigan and felt the cultural difference at the $1.8 billion credit union, Sanger said he knew he’d found the perfect fit and became “a true credit union believer.” He has made it a point every day to talk up the credit union culture and its values to a point where his name and United Federal have become one in the local community.

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