Caren C. Gabriel

Photo of Caren C. Gabriel

Member, Board of Directors


Compensation Committee Chair & Governance Committee Member
President & CEO, Ascend Federal Credit Union
Tullahoma, Tennessee


Caren C. Gabriel serves as a member of the Board of Directors of CUNA Mutual Group, a leading provider of financial services to cooperatives, credit unions, their members, and valued customers worldwide. She joined the board in June 2012.

Gabriel is president and CEO of Ascend Federal Credit Union of Tullahoma, Tennessee, which serves more than 200,000 members with 26 financial centers in Tennessee. Gabriel has been with the credit union since 1985 and has served as CEO for the past fifteen years. Under her leadership, Ascend has grown from $960 million to $2.5 billion in assets.

As president and CEO, Gabriel’s most notable achievements to date include a massive rebranding project that repositioned the credit union within its competitive landscape, and implementation of an aggressive branching strategy that expanded Ascend’s footprint within the 12-county area it serves. Also under her tenure, the credit union has returned more than $79 million to members through bonus dividends and loan interest refunds.

Gabriel holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from the University of Alabama and a doctor of jurisprudence degree from the University Of Tennessee College Of Law. From 1985 to 2004, she served Ascend as executive vice-president and general counsel, and in 2004 she was chosen by the Board to be president and CEO. Gabriel currently serves on The Nature Conservancy of Tennessee Board of Trustees, Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee Board of Directors, Federal Reserve Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council, and the Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt Advisory Board. In addition, Gabriel has served as chairman of the Tennessee Credit Union League, on the Nominating Committee for the National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU), and a variety of community boards, including the Red Cross and the Rotary Club.

Gabriel resides in Tullahoma and Nashville, Tennessee.


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When our Board of Directors, leadership teams and workforce are diverse, we can better serve our customers and each other. The 2020 Women on Boards campaign, which is the leading education and advocacy campaign driving movement toward accelerating gender balance on corporate boards of directors, has recognized CUNA Mutual Group as a Winning "W" Company since 2012.

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