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Crash the GAC·News Release

What’s new in 2018?

Hi everyone,

Happy 2018! As the new year has gotten off to a super start, we’ve been taking time to think about how the Cooperative Trust and Crash programs should evolve and grow to ensure we are making the most impact possible for young professionals and the credit union system. You’ll see lots of changes starting in the next few months: a new Cooperative Trust website, a new logo, a mentorship program, and Crashes galore.

We’ve also challenged ourselves to take Crash the GAC to the next level this year, which brings me to today’s exciting news…

Join me in welcoming *78* Crashers to Crash the GAC 2018 this year!

Competition was fierce, and huge congratulations are in order for this year’s Crashers! Several credit unions took even more action on behalf of young people in the credit union space by donating extra Crasher spots so that we could continue to grow the group, including Bethpage FCU, BECU, Coastal CU, and SchoolsFirst FCU.

Huge thank you to all the yo-pros who applied, to the generous and forward-thinking credit unions who donated spots or paid for their Crashers’ registration fees to allow us to make the group even bigger, and of course, many thanks to Credit Union National Association for making the Cooperative Trust and Crash the GAC possible!

Join us for your own Crash this year: check all the opportunities out at!



PS: The full press release is available here!

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

Follow A Crasher

Follow A Crasher, Week 3 Video: Bring All of Yourself to the Table

Follow A Crasher Week 3 Video: Sara DeLance from Filene Research on Vimeo.

Follow A Crasher

Follow A Crasher, Week 3: Making a Difference Inside and Out

Follow A Crasher

Follow A Crasher, Week 3: Channeling Credit Union Passion

Hi everyone!! I’m beyond excited to embark on my first blog experience with you all! I appreciate everyone’s support in this cool ‘Follow a Crasher’ series put on by The Cooperative Trust! When I’m not attempting to write a blog, I spend a good portion of my time at Heritage Family CU as the Senior Vice President of Retail in the gorgeous state of Vermont. I have a little family at home that keeps me grounded and relaxed. I serve as a Board of Director to an organization that offers services to underserved children and young parents, and I am so incredibly proud to be the Founder and Chair of the Credit Union Young Professionals of Vermont.

I want to share the first time I truly discovered my job had turned into a career.I, like most credit union young pro’s, fell in love with my credit union long before I really understood the impact of this movement.

My passion for helping members and finding ways to empower staff began almost the second I walked through the door… yes, as a teller.

Credit unions are where I have spent the bulk of my employment (at the ripe young age of 36), and while I’m not sure where my career path will take me, the one constant will be that I will remain in credit unions.

In thinking about some of the moments that have contributed to my affinity for credit unions, I recall the times that I was given a platform to share my ideas and knowledge. I often looked for opportunities to get in front of a crowd (even though public speaking petrifies me) to talk about credit unions and share ways that young pro’s can get involved. In fact, a challenge I faced early on was wanting to do TOO much. Hearing “not right now” was sometimes difficult feedback to manage.

It was in those moments that I realized it was up to me to channel my energy and passion in a meaningful way for my credit union and my community.

I also became enamored with networking and engaging with credit union people. This was the best outlet and truthfully one of the most profound ways for me to develop my skills, gain confidence, and develop a community for information sharing. Without contest, I am most grateful for the people I have met in this movement. They fuel my fire and encourage me to blossom.

Ok, so how does all this relate to Crashing? For some, Crashing is where it all begins! For me as an SVP, Crashing showcased everything I love about credit unions in a two-day invitation-only conference.

Crashing Filene’s big. bright. minds conference allowed me to be in a room that I wouldn’t normally have been in and meet individuals that I wouldn’t normally have had the chance to meet. It also showcased credit union knowledge in a proactive way that I hadn’t ever seen.

Needless to say, it was a major highlight of my ever growing career!

Editor’s note: Crash big. bright. minds. 2018 applications are now open through 10/20! Apply now and experience the Crash “magic” Sara wrote about!

Follow A Crasher

Follow A Crasher, Week 2 Video: Making an Impact

Crash Event

Colloquia and Curveballs

You think you’ve got life figured out and suddenly, destiny throws you a curveball.

That is not to say that all curveballs are bad. Google defines a curve as “a line or outline that gradually deviates from being straight for some or all of its length.” The keyword “deviates” perfectly explains the effect this curve ball has taken on my career; it has led me to question whether I should continue on my current career path or diverge into something I’ve newly discovered a passion for within the credit union industry.

While I was in high school, I decided that I would study finance in college and obtain a job as an Accountant. It was my ultimate goal. Being one of the first in my family to attend college and, furthermore, the first to obtain a white-collar job, I have accomplished that goal. Fast forward a few years and I continue to love my career. I have now set new goals in climbing the corporate ladder; Senior Accountant, Financial Analyst, Controller, CFO, etc.

Best of all, I work in a great industry where the main focus is helping others improve their lives and achieve financial goals.

Late August, the President of my organization forwarded me an email regarding the applications for becoming a Crasher at the War for Talent Colloquium in Austin, TX. Little did I know, this would be the start of something wonderful.

This colloquium and the entire Crasher experience is my curveball. At the colloquium, I was exposed to a world that I was not quite familiar with: talent acquisition and human resources. Although I have had some involvement in improving employee morale and corporate culture through my participation in the Employee Relations Committee in my organization, I have not had a direct role in the decision-making process of searching for talent, retaining employees, providing career development or terminating employees.

Every single presenter at the colloquium provided insightful information on the subject. Dr. Sekou Bermiss’ research report, The Laws of Attraction: Credit Union Recruitment in a Competitive Labor Market, provided key findings that can help a credit union become more attractive to applicants by providing a guideline as to how to evaluate the recruiting strategies as well as the organizational fit. Dr. Quinetta Roberson focused on branding and how that can have both negative and positive effects. Deedee Meyers, Rebecca Bower and Debbie Hilton all brought in different perspectives and their own experiences as recruiting agents. James Schenk, CEO of PenFed FCU, spoke of how his rather aggressive approach to obtaining highly talented individuals has benefited his organization. And lastly, Daron Roberts provided us with his remarkable story of how he transitioned from Harvard Law Student to NFL coach.

The presenters, along with all the amazing people I met (Lauren, my fellow Crashers, Visa representatives, other Filene associates) made this an amazing experience. It reassured me that I am, indeed, in the correct industry and it left me hungry for more!

I want to continue to learn and get more involved in the industry. I want to continue my path in finance while also find ways to become involved in the “people” aspect of it. I want to help make an impact on people as well as my organization and the industry.

Lastly, I want to thank Lauren and everyone at Filene for organizing the colloquium and Crashers program as well as the President at my CU for having thrown this curveball at me!

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