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big. bright. minds.·Business Development·Change·Collaboration·Community Development·Creativity·CUNA Councils·Gen Y·Innovation·Leadership·New Release·Uncategorized

Scholarship Application Ideas

Hello Everyone!

I am looking to see what other credit unions have done for college scholarship applications. Our scholarship is for high school seniors that will be attending a university/college in Fall 2018.

In past, we have done papers, but I am looking for something more interactive/innovative that would get students excited to apply.  Two years ago we tried video applications and that did not seem to go over well either.

Thank you in advance for your suggestions. :)

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

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