The Pitch — a second annual game show during the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues’ REACH 2023 conference on Tuesday — spotlighted Talia Sanchez and Emily Sobolewski of SCE FCU (both digital and data marketing professionals) as first-place winners of $10,000!
(View and download event photos from the REACH 2023 Photo Galleries)
Similar to the inaugural show at last year’s REACH conference, “champion” contestants from four credit unions pitched their mission-driven ideas to a panel of judges in front of a live audience. Champion contestants also included Royce Ngiam (vice president of sponsor and community relations for Financial Partners CU), Priscilla Delphin (marketing and business manager for Chaffey FCU), and Doron Noyman (vice president of sales and development for KeyPoint CU).
Sanchez and Sobolewski unanimously won votes from all four judges (100 percent), as well as a majority of the live-audience’s vote (58 percent). They will use the $10,000 check awarded on stage by Leagues President and CEO Diana Dykstra to boost Revenue, a fledgling women’s entrepreneurial workshop and professional mentorship network for “underrepresented” females in the small business world, addressing issues such as funding, capital, tools, leadership support, and banking resources.
Revenue’s goal is to develop 50 women entrepreneurs in its first year before replicating this prototype as a fun, unique, philanthropic model for other credit unions to be involved in across California, Nevada, and the nation. The $10,000 will go toward equipment, mentor speakers, workshop materials, and resources.
“By supporting us, you are investing in the economic empowerment of women,” Sobolewski said. “When you invest in Revenue, you invest in women.”
The Leagues would like to thank the judges for once again making The Pitch so successful in its second year, including Mike de Vere (CEO of Zest AI), Tony Boutelle (CEO of Origence), Gigi Hyland (executive director of the National Credit Union Foundation), and Dean Michaels (CEO of Co-op Solutions). Each judge had critical questions, constructive comments, and positive responses as they dissected each pitch, just like a live-reality TV show.
In the months leading into this unique and inspirational on-stage production, credit unions small, medium and large were asked to encourage dedicated credit union movement employees to submit their “pitches.” All submissions were reviewed to pick the top contestants who would travel to REACH to make their case, including Ngiam (Girls in STEM clubs), Delphin (Financial Fitness—Playing the Game of Money curriculum workshops/network), and Noyman (Economic Empowerment Impact for local nonprofits).
Pitches consisted of contestants’ unique ideas for making a meaningful impact on credit unions, credit union members, or their communities. They were about building stronger communities and changing peoples’ lives for the better through financial education, wellness, social responsibility, mentorship, or diversity, equity, and inclusion. Applicants submitted pre-pitch videos with their submission form, summarizing why they should be selected to be on the main stage during REACH. Industry professionals who understand credit unions’ mission and commitment to improving the lives of members and communities submitted forms, as they were eager to turn a great idea into reality.
While all four pitch presentations served as an invaluable experience for REACH attendees, each stakeholder respected each other’s ideas and comments as they sought to encourage the audience in front of them. Besides Sanchez and Sobolewski, the initiatives presented by the other champions (Ngiam, Delphin, and Noyman) each received $1,000 personally from Leagues President and CEO Diana Dykstra for being involved in such a unique community impact effort.
“All of you were fabulous,” Dykstra said. “Not everyone can be winners, but you all did fantastic — and we look forward to the great things you all will accomplish.”
REACH is one of the credit union industry’s premier annual events, attracting leaders and system partners from across California, Nevada and the United States. This year it’s held from October 22 – 26 at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas in Las Vegas, NV!