NORTH HAVEN, Conn.-Connex CU here has appointed a new VP with a one-year term-Quinnipiac University student Lauren Dufour is set to serve as the credit union's third VP of Unbanking.

This is the third year Connex will have a VP of Unbanking, and while last year the focus was on boosting the credit union's social media presence, Dufour will put an emphasis on making sure Connex has a presence at events on various campuses in the area-including job fairs, sporting events and more-as well as building connections with Greek life organizations at campuses.

Dufour is the second Quinnipiac student to hold the position. Last year's VP, Chris Whalen (now a marketing and e-services specialist at Connex), attended the University of North Haven. Dufour said one of the biggest challenges will be to expand Connex's presence beyond the two schools where it already has a base because of previous VPs. There are six colleges in the area.


Authoring A Blog

Dufour will also run a weekly blog with financial tips and entries related to her experience with the CU. She will also post on Connex's social media profiles, though Whalen will continue to head up the overall direction of the credit union's social media messaging.

While she had previously held internships in the public affairs department at the Yale School of Nursing and did an event-planning internship with a local marketing group that focused on trade shows, Dufour is new to credit unions. She is not currently a member at Connex (employees are not required to join) but said she will most likely join the credit union.

The VP of Unbanking program was a collaborative effort between Connex and its PR agency, Mason, Inc., as the two searched for a way to differentiate the credit union and reach out to a younger audience.


Elevating The Brand

"The goal here was to also elevate Connex (and the Unbank brand) to a younger audience with an emphasis on college students. Really, to help position Connex as a better choice and alternative to traditional banks and create awareness in the local marketplace," said Derek Beere, new media manager at Mason, Inc.

VPs of Unbanking receive a $5,000 stipend for the academic year. While the event-based component has always been a part of the program, said Whalen, during the program's early years the focus was more on laying the groundwork for social media efforts and increasing engagement through those channels.

"Now more than ever, we're working on trying to figure out how to become more event-based," he said. "We'll have to see how this year develops and reevaluate the position and where we want to take it from there."

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