Hey everybody. Not ignoring anyone just super busy this time of year closing down year-end books, submitting 5200 report to NCUA and uploading budget into accounting program. Looking forward to meeting everyone in DC!
Your 2017 Crashers!
We’re back once again! We have FIFTY young professionals from all over the U.S.A. heading to Washington D.C. for Crash the GAC! We’re so thankful once more to Credit Union National Association (CUNA) for being our partner and primary supporter to make these magical events happen, all of our Crashers are receiving full attendance scholarships from CUNA. Speaking of Crashers… Come and meet them!
In addition, for the CUNA GAC – we are bringing even more political advocacy to our Crash event, including a ‘town hall’ style meeting with Rep. Swalwell and more events for our crashers, to be announced!
Oh… and guess what… THUNDERPUNCH IS BACK! Come and join us on Monday, 2/27 for the best time and one of the ‘go to’ evening events of the CUNA GAC hosted by your Crashers & supported once more by our friends at Larky and SavvyMoney. Check out the details now!
Herb Wegner Award
This year we have been lucky enough to be the recipients of the National Credit Union Foundation‘s Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Outstanding Program! This is a huge honour and the highest in the credit union system. We’re very humbled by the recognition of The Foundation and can’t wait to celebrate with everyone at the awards dinner at GAC! Read more about why we are being recognised…
Crash the GAC wouldn’t be able to happen without an army at our disposal. First, we would thank the talented colleagues we have at Filene Research Institute, Credit Union National Association for being our partner and the Crash the GAC team made up of Ariel Bilskey, Lindsey Hodson, Matt Vance, Andy Janning and James Marshall.
A shout out must be given to the credit union leagues and associations who have helped us promote and recruit for this event, as well as being strong proponents of our program.
Finally, we would like to thank Larky & SavvyMoney for partnering on Thunderpunch once more; we’d like to thank CUNA Mutual Group for their ongoing support; and lastly but certainly not least – Visa, Bethpage FCU, and Alogent for helping to get all our Crashers to the Herb Wegner Memorial Awards Dinner at GAC 2017!
One day at the office I received an email from my manager with information on Crashing the Cornerstone Leadership Conference. I didn’t fully understand what the “Crash” group was, but I knew I was interested in attending the conference to learn more about credit union leadership. I submitted my application but I figured there would be so many applicants I would never actually get accepted. When I received the email stating I was accepted I was so excited! I called my manager, let all my co-workers know, I even texted my mom about it. I still didn’t have a full understanding of what the crash group would be doing, but I was thrilled to attend the conference. The grant provided by Cornerstone CU Foundation gave me the opportunity to participate in this conference that I would otherwise not be able to attend.
During the event, I learned how the crash group originated and what set this group apart from other conference attendees. In addition to attending the leadership conference, our group had extra sessions where we had the opportunity to meet with credit union executives and keynote speakers in a much smaller, more personal setting. This allowed us to gain insight into their personal philosophies which helped them become successful. We got to learn their stories of how they got where they are today and could openly ask questions about anything and everything.
After the daily sessions were over, the crash group stuck together until late in the evening. The socializing revolved largely around credit union culture and leadership strategies. We discussed current issues facing our credit union and what solutions we have developed. We thought about how we could become better advocates for all credit unions, not just our own. The time spent building relationships with my fellow crashers was invaluable. I made several new contacts that I know I can reach out to in the future for support or ideas.
I returned to work inspired, energized, and motivated to share what I learned and implement new ideas. The entire event was an eye opening experience which allowed me to see a much higher level of the credit union industry. It helped me grow both personally and professionally. I plan to apply for crash events again in the future and I highly recommend any young professionals looking to grow in the credit union industry to do the same!
The opportunity to attend the Crash program taught me more than I could have ever imagined. I was able to listen to very powerful and relevant presentations. The speakers inspired me and taught me that all credit unions employees need to stand together: we should be helping each other, not be in competition with one another.
I now have a better understanding on how credit unions help their communities and play an important role in member’s lives. Some credit unions are going to schools and teaching students how to save, while others are volunteering on their days off. Hearing these stories have driven me to persuade my credit union team to get together and do more for our community.
I learned that paying attention to our members will help us attain better customer services skills. By putting ourselves in our member shoes we will be able to accomplish this.
Another topic we covered at the conference was advocacy. In the four years I have been at my credit union, I never understood the importance of PAC. I feel encouraged to learn more so that I may help my members get involved.
I came out of my comfort zone and was able to network, meet amazing people, and build relationships. It was remarkable to network with young professionals who feel as passionate as I do and who have similar goals for the future.
Another take away from this conference was my new understanding of how mentorship works. Mentorship doesn’t mean scheduling a meeting to discuss a particular topic, it means having someone that can offer advice and be there to support you at any given time. This leadership conference helped me understand that being a leader doesn’t require you to be a certain age or to have a degree. We need to let the people who inspire us know that we appreciate them and their wisdom that they offer. James was meant to lead this crash experience- he is fantastic and intelligent. I will forever be grateful for this experience!
If credit union members experienced a noticeable uptick in the service they received on Monday, May 16, 2016, leaders from Climb Idaho might be able to explain why.
“Nothing stokes the passion and enthusiasm for member service and the credit union movement like a crash event. It’s just that simple,” said Jake Denning, chair of Climb Idaho and LPL Financial Advisor with Beehive Credit Union. “Once you connect your career with the fundamental principles of financial cooperatives, your mission becomes clear and your passion becomes palpable.”
Crash Idaho brought 21 representatives from 11 of the state’s credit unions to “respectfully disrupt” the Annual Meeting with the primary goals of education and networking, and according to the crashers, the event was wildly successful.
“As a Millennial in the credit union movement, I found purpose in a cause bigger than myself at Crash ICUL,” said Brandon Allen, crasher and branch manager with Clarity Credit Union. “It allowed me to see why Credit Unions are key to the financial success in any community.”
“For me, Crash was a three-day adventure, where we were given opportunities to network, brainstorm, spread passion, and learn from some of the best and most influential people,” said Paul Lucariello, vice chair of Climb Idaho and regional manager with Pioneer Credit Union. “It took my love for credit unions and the movement to the next level. We were able to take ideas from that week to not only enhance Climb but to also start locally with our individual credit union so we can get our young professionals involved in the movement with passion and motivation.”
“As a branch manager who is tasked with meeting loan and account goals, I can never forget what’s most important – making a difference in our members’ lives,” said Melissa Thometz, crasher and branch manager with CapEd Credit Union. “It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers, but our members matter more than any task or goal.”
Thometz, who also represented Idaho at Crash the GAC 2016, said her recent crash experiences have helped clarify and solidify the cooperative nature of the credit union movement.
“Despite my knowledge about the cooperative principles, I still saw other CUs as competition,” she said. “Crash drove home the point that we aren’t competing with each other, but we should be supporting one another.”
One of the primary goals of all crash events is to strengthen the industry’s professional network across Idaho, which serves two core purposes: leadership development and retention of top talent. To wit, the annual turnover rate of those involved in crash events since the inception of Climb Idaho – the group responsible for hosting the event – is a mere 4 percent.
“I have never attended a professional event more beneficial in networking than the league meetings,” said Cameron Topliff, branch manager at ISU Credit Union. “The events of the league meeting helped me develop a deeper connection with the credit union movement.”
While the networking opportunities and cooperative movement themes were strong, the crash program specifically focused on leadership development, storytelling and the central role of member service in the movement.
“I loved hearing the crashers tell stories of how CUs are helping members overcome financial hardship,” said Nick Fugal, executive committee member and treasurer with Climb Idaho. “I enjoyed the passion the crashers had for the movement and their motivation to further our cause!”
For 2017 and beyond, the expectations and results from Climb Idaho events will only strengthen.
“We have an incredible group of developing leaders, but we’re only beginning to scratch the surface in terms of what we can do for the movement and, most importantly, for our members,” said Brian Rich, executive committee member and secretary with Climb Idaho. “By retaining top talent and focusing the passion and drive of Idaho’s most ambitious young leaders, we’re securing the future of our industry and guaranteeing our state’s credit union members will enjoy the greatest member experience we can offer.”
Climb Idaho – created in 2014 – enlisted the help of Filene Research Institute to create the crash program for the 20 crashers. James Marshall, cooperative trust manager, emceed the event and oversaw the education/training components of the crash.
“When it comes to crash events, there’s really only one person in the country to seek out,” Denning said. “James has hosted dozens of crash events and with Climb Idaho still in its early years, we knew his expertise would be invaluable in helping build our statewide movement.”
Marshall said he was impressed with what he saw from Climb Idaho and expects member benefits to grow from the involvement.
“Idaho credit unions are in wonderful hands; it was fantastic to see the passion, enthusiasm and all round determination of the Idaho Crashers to develop credit unions,” he said. “Over the course of the few days we spent together, it was evident that this group has a commitment to not only Idaho credit unions, but Idaho credit union members.”
#CrashMBD16 was quite the experience to say the least. It was packed with great networking experiences, excellent speakers and invaluable knowledge.
- Crash Sessions
- We were the inaugural crashers of the MBD council conference led by our fearless leader James Marshall of Filene Research institute. Along with attending the conference, crashers get the opportunity to meet and network with some of the top leaders in our industry, and get additional “crash” sessions that with special guest speakers. These were some of my favorite sessions because we get to have intimate thought-provoking conversations with a few of the speakers that hosted their own breakout sessions, the executive council and some were previous crashers at other events. Leadership, Technology and the Cooperative Principles were just a few of the topics that we tackled as we listened, learned and exchanged our own individual experiences from our own credit unions. The crash experience puts things in perspective since we were all from different states at credit unions of different sizes, it exposes us to a bigger picture of the common challenges we can face and more importantly it allowed us use cooperation to come up with potential ideas and solutions that other might be implementing that we could bring back to our own institutions.
Crashers at the Diamond Awards
- Keynote Speakers
- Johnny “Cupcakes” Earl
- Johnny had a great presentation about building your personal brand. His was specifically a T-Shirt company with storefronts disguised as cupcake shops. He did this in an attempt to really stand out in a saturated market and needless to say it was a huge success for him. Financial institutions all have the same products for the most part, so how can credit unions stand out. One of the best things we can do is have our members become Brand Ambassadors to inspire Brand Loyalty. We do this by giving our members new experiences and positive memories that people want to share with the world. Johnny was able to grow his brand virally by the word of mouth of his customers that had unique experiences when they came into his store and I believe that we can do the same thing with credit unions.
- Johnny “Cupcakes” Earl
Johnny Earl with Crashers
- Scott Stratten
- Scott is the President of Unmarketing. A terrific speaker who uses wit and humor to get his point across to get people to “stop marketing and start engaging.” He refers to this as authentic marketing. We need to realize that we are able to connect to people easier than ever thanks to social media. Social media isn’t just a way to communicate to the mass audience but rather a way to reach people individually. Every interaction moves the pivot point of the member experience either up or down, positively or negatively. Stability is not the goal, continuous change is the goal. Credit Unions have an advantage because we serve our community; we know our community and we need to position ourselves to be our community’s first choice when they have a need.
Scott Stratten presenting Scott Stratten with crashers
- Overall Takeaways (From myself and fellow crashers)
- No matter how big or small we can make a difference and an impact!
- Be coachable, you don’t know everything.
- When building the brand be compassionate and genuine. Give members a sense of ownership of THEIR brand.
- Tap into your network to help brainstorm ideas and get different perspectives.
- Be transformational no transactional.
- A hand written note can go a long way.
- Stay humble, stay hungry.
- Give people a memory.