Andrew Kraft has been Director of the Center since October 2012 and is passionate about helping youth learn ways to have a more beneficial future. Currently he serves as Co-Chair of the Board. Mr. Kraft’s work for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools as the Chief Program Officer for Accountability. In this role, Mr. Kraft provides support, oversight and direction for all federal and state mandated assessments that are administered to the 56,000 students that attend Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. Mr. Kraft has worked as a teacher, coach and administrator in a wide variety of educational settings.
Mr. Kraft holds a bachelor’s degree from Elon University and a Master’s Degree from Wake Forest University. In addition Mr. Kraft earned his license in School Administration through Appalachian State University.
Matt Hearn has been a Director of the Center since February 2015. Matt loves teaching people how to financially better themselves. Currently he serves as Co-Chair of the Board. He is a Wealth Planner with experience in the financial services industry since 2002.
He completed his undergraduate degree in 1998, and completed his professional studies through The American College, becoming a Chartered Financial Consultant®. In 2012, he was approved to hold the title of Certified Financial Planner™.
Matt approaches his role as that of a financial guide – endeavoring to direct his clients toward their stated financial goals while helping them avoid unnecessary risks along the way.
Matt has served on the Board of the Rural Hall Area Business Association the Board for HandsOn Northwest North Carolina. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family, volunteering at his church, and reading. Matt has served as a youth pastor and is interested in sharing his knowledge of finances with others.
John McGrail has been a Director of the Center since January 2013. McGrail serves as a Financial Advisor with Edward Jones. McGrail is a veteran of the credit union industry having served as President/CEO of Carolinas Credit Union Foundation; President/CEO of Lion’s Share FCU in Salisbury and Vice President/Member Services of Winston-Salem City Employees’ FCU. Both credit unions noted strong membership and asset growth results during his tenure.
McGrail graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. McGrail also serves as the Northwest Chapter representative on the NC Credit Union League Board of Directors.
Vance Pepper has been a Director of the Center since May 2013. He serves as the Treasurer for the Board. Pepper’s entire working life has been in the financial services sector, the most recent of which had been 24 years at I-R Employees’ Federal Credit Union. Vance currently works with Special Projects at Allegacy Federal Credit Union with an emphasis on Member Services and the Center for Smart Financial Choices. He was the recipient of the Career Person of the Year in 2002 by the NW Chapter of the North Carolina Credit Union.
He received a BA in Economics from Methodist College and has taken various continuing education classes. Vance and his wife, Pam have two adult children.
Ashley Kohlrus has been a Director of the Center since July 2013. She is the EVP of Operations at Winston-Salem-based Allegacy Federal Credit Union, one of the largest credit unions in North Carolina, with over 600 member companies including the two largest medical organizations in the Southeast and three nationally prominent law firms. In this role, she is responsible for the enhancement of member experience, Marketing and Communications, Business Development and Financial Center Operations. She has been with Allegacy for eight years and most recently served as Vice President of Human Resources.
Kohlrus is active in the Winston-Salem community where she volunteers with the Wake Forest University MA Mentor Program, serves on the Women’s Council for Forsyth Medical Center Foundation, the NC Triad Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure board of directors and the Maya Angelou Center for Women’s Health Advisory board. She is also a 2010 recipient of the YWCA “Women of Vision” award and the 2012 Credit Union Executive Society (CUES) Next Top Credit Union Executive.
She received her undergraduate degree in Speech Communications from East Tennessee State University and her master’s degree in Leadership and Organizational Change from Pfeiffer University. She also earned a senior professional human resources certification.
Rudy Allen has been a Director of the Center since November 2013. He is the VP of Human Resources and Organizational Development for Goodwill Industries of North West North Carolina. He has an extensive HR operational background in helping organizations maximize results through people. Allen’s areas of focus include: Internal/ external career coach, Training and Development, working with managers and supervisors, providing counsel and coaching in resolving complex people concerns.
He holds a BA in Administration and a MSA with Human Resource concentration. Allen is also a licensed Pilot and photographer.
Lauren Whaley was appointed as a Director of the Center in March 2016. Ms. Whaley is Secretary to the Board. in December 2015, she was named the executive director of the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation. In that role, she represents the cooperative efforts of credit unions in North and South Carolina and serves at the helm of a philanthropic organization with a mission to enrich the lives of children in the Carolinas.
Whaley was formerly Vice President of Governmental Affairs at the Carolinas Credit Union League, the trade association for credit unions, where she developed influential relationships with political figures as well as close connections with credit union leaders. She also has public relations and communications experience from her time with Jennings of Chapel Hill and Truliant Federal Credit Union of Winston-Salem.
A graduate of North Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management, Whaley is a founding CUaware council member and is chairman of the North Carolina Jump$tart Coalition Board of Directors, vice chairman of the North Carolina Council on Economic Education, and a former member of the North Carolina Professional Lobbyists Association Board of Directors.
Lauren has been married for over 10 years to her husband, Charles, a CPA. They currently reside in Salisbury, NC with their two children.
Tom Daugherty was appointed as a Director of the Center in November 2016. He has been an educator for over ten years. Mr. Daugherty taught for eight years at Eastern Guilford High School. For the last two and a half years, he has worked as the Social Studies Curriculum Coordinator for the Guilford County Schools District.
He is responsible for providing professional development to over 350 teachers as well as implementing programs to improve social studies performance by students. He is an executive board member for the North Carolina Council for Social Studies and is a regional board member of the North Carolina Council on Economic Education.
Mr. Daugherty holds a Bachelor’s of Science in History Education from Utah Valley University and Masters of Arts in Educational Leadership from High Point University. He is married and has four children.
W.K. ‘Ike’ Keener, Jr. is the former President/CEO at Allegacy Federal Credit Union. Mr. Keener is a founding Board Member of the Center which began operations in August 2011. While CEO at Allegacy, Keener was responsible for growing the membership to over 110,000 members with assets of $1 Billion. Under the direction of Mr. Keener, Allegacy was actively involved in the creation of the first high school student run credit union in North Carolina in 2008.
From the beginning of his career, Keener has been actively involved in serving high school students. He served on the North Carolina Business & Office Education Advisory Committee from 1979-1991. He received the North Carolina Future Business Leader of America Business Person of the Year in 1983.
Keener is a graduate of East Carolina University and the College of Financial Planning. He is a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) and a graduate of the Certified Credit Union Executive Program. Keener currently serves on the Board of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine.