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Follow A Crasher

Follow A Crasher, Week 1 Video: Today is a Great Day to Work for Credit Unions

Follow A Crasher Week 1 Video: Mario Mejia from Filene Research on Vimeo.

Follow A Crasher

Follow A Crasher, Week 1 Podcast: Live by Design

Follow A Crasher

Follow A Crasher, Week 1 Blog: Crash or Burn

One thing the 2016 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference showed me was that there is no better time to be in the industry.  I realized current leaders who’ve carried the legacy of thrift, cooperative, and people helping people are shifting into transition.  Likewise, one thing that the Crash the GAC program showed me was how critical our role is in the industry.  That experience was invaluable, but the stake in the ground didn’t initially break ground there.

The road to Crash the GAC started earlier than the conference, but from that experience I’ve been able to maximize my professional progression more efficiently.  Learning from the people I admire, I’ve been able to see how my experience at GAC excelled my efforts and set me on the path I walk today.  The GAC elevated my level to perceive opportunity, and how to capture it.

I’ve realized “crashing” is a mindset that makes the best out of an opportunity when it presents itself.  Likewise, I also realize “burning” is not realizing an opportunity has just passed by.  Considering the trajectory of my foreseeable career, I see a theme of three regular occurrences where I always chose to “Crash”. Doing this has contributed greatly to where I am now.  Choose to Crash!!

Say Yes

Post-Crash the GAC 2016, I wrote a blog entitled Say Yes. I discuss how “yes”, is a mindset of readiness.  That degree of readiness can transform ideas into opportunities.  Early in my career I made the choice to ready myself for opportunities.  My CEO was my example.  He started as a teller and worked his way to where he is now.  With aspirations to become a CEO myself, I understand it takes more than doing my job well.

My yes made me understand it was essential to have a mentor but to also be a mentor.  My yes required a higher bar but also asks how can I return more value for my team, credit union and community.  Knowing that iron sharpens iron, my yes kept me involved in advocacy and connected to individuals who are smarter than me or already doing what I aspire to become.  I chose to crash and crash loudly.

From consistently crashing in these situations, I began to work by design rather than default.  And from this, I’ve created disruption in the fields of innovating, leadership, and philanthropy.  Those efforts led to both national, and regional recognition in those fields.  Crash!

 

Challenges come – keep it moving

Your “hell” can manifest in many different ways.  It could be political challenges, learning curves, budget, work environment, or personal life. But keep it moving.

When I originally presented the idea of an in-house philanthropic initiative as the prognosis to our staggering SEG growth, I was commended.  However, that turned to disbelief after realization set in that the powering force behind it would be our employees through monthly volunteering. Reservations rang out from budget, to consistency, to size of the credit union.  Finding a solution was in the effort to keep moving.  The question became, how can I do this?  For four months straight I commandeered personal friends to kick it off.  I’d bring success stories back to the office to create a buzz, and it wasn’t long before staff began to show interest.

Years later, that initiative would become award winning, and contribute to more than 200% penetration of my primary SEG goal.  Choose to crash.

The sky’s the limit

“The sky’s the limit,” he told me.  Now you tell me: what’s the first thing that came to your mind?  “Yea right,” is what I thought too, as I left my interview with the Executive VP at Interior FCU.  Although completely cliché, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Filene·Leadership·News Release·Updates

New Beginnings

A note from James:

Four years ago, you all started a journey with me. A journey to an unknown destination, but you came with me anyway. Four years ago, I took charge of The Cooperative Trust and everything that includes. As I write this, my part in this journey is approaching its end. Yours, however, continues onwards… What’s next for me? I’ll come to that later, but first…

The last four years have given me the chance to meet and work with some of the brightest talent in the credit union system. I’ve been surrounded by passionate, committed, kind and generous people at all times. Not once in the last four years has working with you, ever been ‘work’. You have made my life a joy to live, in all that you and this community of people have done. As I think about this time, a song comes to mind – “Swing Life Away” – there’s a line in this song that describes my time with The Cooperative Trust perfectly:

“I’ve got some friends, some that I hardly know
But we’ve had some times, I wouldn’t trade for the world”

In addition, there are also some thank-yous that need calling out by name: Brent Dixon, Theresa Jelderks (Hilinksi), Chris Fraenza, Meghann Dawson, Chad Helminak, Brianne Williamson, Heather Ristow, Tammy Wood, Lindsey Hodson. Andy Janning, Ariel Bilskey and Matt Vance.

As much as all this ‘touchy feely” stuff is what I’m all about, we’ve really achieved something too! We’ve seen the credit union system open its eyes and its arms to the need for the development of young talent, of you! We have seen more professionals than ever before come through our Crash programs and leave with a new lease of life for credit unions and what they do. We’ve seen our Crashers attend CUDE, become i3’ers and become credit union CEOs. Yes, we’ve really achieved something. I never could have imagined that we’d be here, achieving so much, together.

As for me, I’ll still be at Filene. For now, I’ll still be with the Trust helping to manage our transition. This is not goodbye, just, catch you later! I am excited to continue to help credit unions implement our vast body of research to better help Main Street Americans and credit union members all over the world.

As for The Cooperative Trust: LAUREN! LAUREN CULP. Lauren is amazing and is joining us by way of Alaska. Lauren brings a curiosity to The Cooperative Trust that will take this amazing community to the next level – I don’t want to tell you too much as I’ll let her speak for herself (below…)

Four years ago, when I started, Brent Dixon asked you to reach out to me, meet me, mentor me. As Brent asked this of you four years ago, I ask this of you now for Lauren. If my rollercoaster has been anything to go by, Lauren is sure to have 100 more loops and corkscrews and she’ll need you to help her through!

Thank you for everything. I’m not crying, you are.

James

A note from Lauren:

Hi everyone!

Thanks James, for the introduction! If you don’t know me yet, I’m Lauren – avid coffee lover, recent Alaska resident, current i3er, and 2016 Crash the GAC alumnus. I just moved to Madison last week after six years spent in “The Last Frontier.” In case you’re wondering, here are just a few fun things I did in Alaska:

  • Backpacked the scenic 33-mile Chilkoot Trail
  • Watched the Northern Lights from my bedroom window
  • Flew a tiny plane (with the assistance of an actual pilot) through Alaskan mountain ranges
  • Took lots of Vitamin D because yes, it is really dark in the winter
  • Spent five years working for a great Alaskan credit union

Now, I’m thrilled to be joining the awesome folks at Filene. Brent and James have done big amazing things with the Trust and have left large shoes to fill. In the coming months, I’ll be working with James and Tansley to transition into the Cooperative Trust Manager role. My first Crash in this capacity will be a really cool opportunity to Innovate with Visa in San Francisco this August – check it out!

Lots of exciting things are happening at the Cooperative Trust from earning the Herb Wagner Award to reaching the 1500 member mark. None of this could have happened without YOU, so give yourself a pat on the back and then come back for more!

In the coming months, we’ll be focusing on a mentorship program, more integration and engagement at Crash events, and an exciting new website. More on that later. In the meantime, check out the opportunities to stay involved with the Trust!

I’d like to take a moment to personally thank James so much for his fearless leadership, boundless energy, and determined commitment to young people in the credit union movement. Reach out to James (jamesm@filene.org) to let him know how awesome he is (and congratulate him on tying the knot!)

I can’t wait to get to know as many of you Trust members as is humanly possible (shout out to my #CrashTheGAC16 and #Filenei3 family)! Drop me a line if you’re in town or at a Filene event – I’d love to connect, and look forward to working together to empower young adults in credit unions.

 

With lots of excitement,

Lauren

laurenc@filene.org

704.771.8483 mobile

Conferences·Crash·Crash Event·Crash the GAC·CUNA·CUNA Mutual Group·Filene·Gen Y·Governmental Affairs·Leadership·News Release·Professional Development·Updates

Crash the GAC 2017!

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!

Something new!

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!

Thunderpunch!

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 SavvyMoneyCheck 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…

Thanks to… 

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!

Follow Along.

Make sure you follow along on social, on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Our hashtag is #crashthegac17 and you can see our social wall here!

Crash Event·Leadership

My Experience Crashing the Cornerstone Leadership Conference

 

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!

 

Crash·Crash Event·Leadership

Crash the Leadership Experience!

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!

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