We can’t predict the future, but we can build it together.
The Cooperative Trust is a grassroots group of young people working in credit unions and cooperatives. Founded in 2010, we connect and enable those fighting for the future of socially-responsible finance. Our goal is simple. While we can’t predict the future of business, credit unions, or cooperatives, we want to help build it. We want to learn from industry leaders. We want to build things. We want to grow. We want to help solve problems. We want to work. We want to laugh. We want to make a difference. Together.
We want to learn from the vast amount of talent among industry veterans while aggressively shaping the future.
Our mantra was penned by Edward Filene, father of the American credit union movement and a hero of ours, towards the end of his life:
“Youth is too serious to become obedient.”
His point wasn’t that anarchy should rule the day. His point wasn’t that young people have all the answers. Rather, Filene knew that the young people have something the rest of the business world does not: naivete. Naivete to ask difficult questions, attempt the impossible, fail without fear of consequences, dance like nobody’s watching, and solve problems that the old guard wrote off as meaningless.
In an effort to exact a change, we decided to get young people more involved and expose them to the importance of the credit union model. The inspiration? In 2010, we crashed the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference. (Which, incidentally, we’ve been doing ever since. http://crashthegac.com)
After working alongside industry leaders for the entire week, and asking ourselves “what are we going to do with this experience?” – we realized this was the beginning of something. We started by creating a small site for us to share our ideas, and things grew from there.
The sustainability of an industry is only as good as being able to pass on the business model, and right now there’s not a lot of that going on. We need to improve.
-NCUA Board Member Gigi Hyland, 2010
The leadership of the credit union industry is growing older, and the gap between veteran talent and new talent is spreading. And all of this while credit unions – with their social focus, higher levels of opportunity to influence strategy immediately – are a more relevant and desirable opportunity for young talent than ever. In theory.
But because of this age gap, many young people working in credit unions feel like they’re on an island with limited connection to other industry youth. And the bottom-line is: Most young people have no idea of these opportunities credit unions present in the first place.
Credit unions and cooperatives need to invest in the next generation of talent and fill this gap so we can grow and learn to be more effective at helping our communities.
The Cooperative Trust is working to make that happen.
Now we have morphed from a group of crashers into a growing community of young professionals. Our goal is simple: Enable leaders with a community that allows them to come together and build the future together.
Learn more about how we’re doing that here.