When I found out that I had the opportunity to be a crasher for The Cornerstone Leadership Conference and Expo I was filled with a few emotions. I was excited, confused, and filled with anxiety! After meeting a few of my fellow crashers it all made sense why we were picked, because so many conversations on what we do at our credit unions sparked. We all love what we do! Going in I didn’t really know what to expect since I’d never been to a conference before. I thought I would be spending the week taking numerous notes and learning how to be a great leader, but that was not the case. I found the experience to be more eye opening, self-developing, and empowering. Being able to crash the conference gave us young professionals a voice. During breakout sessions we were able to voice our opinions. It definitely helped me realize that I things that I do and don’t do have impact so I shouldn’t be afraid to speak up.
Hearing from Dick Ensweiler, Karen Hart, and many others on what they do and encouraging us to reach out to them also helped me realized that they don’t just think of us as little kids and really want to know what we have to say, because we are the future. They helped paint a picture of what we can and do for our members and the community. I was jotting down so many notes so that when I got back to the office I could spill all these ideas on how my credit union can be more involved. Karen spoke on a meeting she held where everyone made peanut butter sandwiches that were later given out to the homeless. My credit union is literally down the street from a homeless shelter and it would be awesome for us to do the same, if not something similar to that.
Leaving the experience I have so many ideas and ways to try and get more of my colleagues involved in the movement. They just don’t know all the great things that we can do outside of our day to day tasks. I plan to try and get them to go to chapter meetings and participate in charity events so that they can open their eyes and see that we work in, if not, one of the best fields.
I feel like being a part of the crashers I’ve made a bond with some great people and I now have a network of go to people whenever I get stuck or need ideas. From the day we met to the last morning I learned so much about what they do for their members and staff to have them more engaged. And it’ll be great to see a familiar face at future meetings and conferences.
I would recommend every young professional to apply for a crash event, it’s something you won’t regret. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this great experience.