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big. bright. minds.·Crash

Kickin’ Up Dust: A Crasher’s Take Away from big. bright. minds.

At the beginning of this month I had the opportunity to crash big. bright. minds. in Austin, Texas. What do I mean by crash? The Cooperative Trust hosts crash events. They describe these as, “non-stop, packed out, credit union events for young professionals! They come with a work hard/play hard schedule and are here to help you develop as a credit union executive.”

After attending this conference I am here to say energy, collaboration, and optimism in the credit union movement is alive and well! Big. bright. minds. was an incredibly invigorating experience. Industry leaders came together to share the latest in innovation and technology. What I love the most about credit union conferences isn’t just the inevitable karaoke after the normal programming; it is that credit union folk have a certain caliber of personality that immediately bonds them to each other upon first meeting. Allowing likeminded people to collaborate and build upon one another’s ideas creates an environment rich for innovation. What could be more exciting than that? That is exactly what I had the opportunity to be a part of at this conference and I couldn’t be more grateful!

Allowing likeminded people to collaborate and build upon one another’s ideas creates an environment rich for innovation. What could be more exciting than that?

At this event there was extensive talk about millennials, but let’s be real, when is there not? Lauren Culp gave an incredible presentation entitled “So You’re Sick of Talking About Millennials.” She made some sobering comparisons and drove home some key points that had many attendees taking action immediately. (Big shout out to Rob Meloche of Visa for checking in with us right before his morning presentation!) When Lauren analogized talking about millennials to skydiving she said, “Inaction might kill you, especially as it relates to the next generations.” She sums up some of what we’ve all experienced; we have struggled capturing millennials as members and that we have struggled capturing millennials as employees in leadership positions.

What’s Lauren’s solution? Instead of talking about millennials, invite them to the conversation! We are in a freefall; don’t forget to pull the ripcord!

The Crash program invites young professionals to the table and it is an important way of bridging the gap. But you don’t always have to wait for that. Use LinkedIn, use your local credit union chapter, reach out and talk to your employees now. Young Professionals are ready and willing! Heck, they are even crashing your events. They’re motivated, passionate, creative, and they really enjoy collaboration. Make that phone call, send that email, and get them to the table. The talent you’re looking for is right in front of you.

Having trouble getting started? I’m here to help! Being a designated YP Lead by the NWCUA, it is part of my charge to help build an umbrella network for young credit union professionals in the Pacific Northwest. Don’t live near there? Let me help you get connected in other ways. You can email me at, I’d love to collaborate!

If you are a young professional, get on over to the Cooperative Trust and apply to crash an event in 2018! Also, get in touch with your local credit union chapter or young credit union professional group. There are events all throughout the year that you can attend.

I’ve taken to heart what I learned at the MAXX convention in Spokane this year and I am completely #CUobsessed! I look forward to working with as many of you as possible in 2018.

I want to thank the Filene Research Institute and the Trust Cooperative for creating such an amazing program, a big huge thank you to VISA for sponsoring us crashers and a giant high five and a squishy hug to my employer, Northwest Community Credit Union, for supporting me in going to this event.

Have a safe and happy New Year!


Symantha Sermino

Member Business Loan Processor at Northwest Community Credit Union

Vice President, Willamette Chapter of Credit Unions

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