Our People
Patricia Brownell Sterner

World Traveler
Rugby Fanatic

Patricia Brownell Sterner

Senior Strategist


In the world of credit unions, Pat is headliner. With a long and storied career entirely dedicated to the civic sector, she’s served as Executive Director of the National Credit Union Foundation, Managing Director at the Center for Women’s Health Research at the University of Colorado, and as Chief Executive Officer of Domestic Operations for the National Cooperative Business Association. In 2002, she established her own firm providing governance, fundraising, program development, strategic planning and organizational development consulting.

Pat’s passion has always centered on community development. An early proponent of the CDFI Fund’s Financial Assistance grant program, Pat worked with the first CDFI Fund Director to raise the profile of credit unions within the agency so that they could participate in grant funding. Among her other volunteer posts, she puts her community development expertise to good use as a member of the City of Duluth’s Community Development Commission which oversees the distribution of $3.5 million in annual HUD funding.

Living in Duluth, Minnesota on the very shores of Lake Superior with her faithful canine companions Gus and Tully, CU Strategic Planning staff delight in getting winter weather reports from her arctic post. Beyond efforts to stay warm in frightfully cold conditions, one of Pat’s claims to fame is her ability to “Top Chef” just about anything you might have in your refrigerator into a glorious meal. She also has the ability to “ankle tap” anyone or any problem in her way using her ten years of semi-professional rugby experience.