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Collaboration·CU Times·New York

Totaro’s Keys

Lisa Totaro holds many titles.  A Crash the GAC alum, Chair of CUANY‘s Young Professional Commission, Marketing Associate at Sunmark Federal Credit Union and soon-to-be DE graduate.  It is some of these experiences, a few others and her all around spectacular persona that has garnered her most recent title, Trailblazer 40  Below from CU Times.

Like many of us, Lisa sort of fell into credit unions, but she’s been in love with them ever since she started at Sunmark FCU.  Her years in the industry have had her realize that the competition of banks is secondary to the need in getting more folks aware of credit unions.

I know the talk of a national brand campaign has been challenged, but if we could get behind a common theme, it might work on a smaller level. One huge asset as an industry is our willingness to work cooperatively, it’s just a matter of finding a way to leverage that.

It’s not just for marketing that collaboration is important, Lisa also sees its value for day to day reminders and individual projects:

Knowing that if you’re frustrated or if you need help with a project or just to be reminded of the big picture that you have a network of peers you can go to any day at any time ready to listen, share and collaborate makes all the difference.

Congrats, Lisa!!

Change·New York

Jessica Herishko is a Woman to Watch!

The CU Times announced its first five “Women to Watch,” including our own Jessica Herishko.   Jess is a rising star in her credit union outside Albany, NY, wearing multiple hats including running their new in-house card program, being a strong force in their lending department, and working on the Employee Activity Commission.


Jessica was named NY’s first Young Professional of the Year in June.  She serves on NY’s Young Professionals Commission and is fresh off an interstate crash with the NY and Wisconsin young professionals groups.


Congrats, Jess!

Leadership·New York·Professional Development

Reverse Panel in Lake Placid

Amid the tall mountains and pacifying waters of Lake Placid, members of the Credit Union Association of New York’s Young Professionals (YPs) Commission shook things up this past weekend at the 2011 Annual Meeting and Convention.

The Crashers made their presence known by participating in a number of activities including carrying the NY chapter flags during the opening ceremonies and hosting a successful “Cheers & Beers” social event at local night club, Roomers. The dynamic energy of these young professionals was perhaps best demonstrated through the group’s Reverse Panel on Saturday.

In a very open discussion, the panel of YPs turned the tables on their audience consisting of credit union CEO’s, board members, and managers. What resulted was a candid exchange between both sides on topics such as: how to identify and promote YPs, best practices for professional development, general tips for success, and what young credit unionists can do to help secure the future of the industry. The participants eagerly shared personal stories of the great work YPs were doing and how their younger managers and employees continue to rise to the various challenges thrown at them. The audience additionally advised the panel on ways to excel in every position, get involved in legislative and grassroots efforts, and how to continually modernize credit unions for the next generation while maintaining the core mission of personalized service.

Crashers clearly demonstrated their passion for the credit union industry the entire weekend. Though already printed boldly on their lime-green t-shirts, the reverse panel exemplified that when it comes to the CU movement, the Young Professionals are indeed “Carrying the Torch”.

Meetups·New York

Crashin’ the Crashers in Utica, NY

Since the Credit Union Association of New York (CUANY) began their relationship with the Crash Network in 2010, the youngsters have been going crazy with planning meetups.  With over a half dozen now under their belt, the Young Professionals of CUANY are now taking on a new idea: Crashin’ the Crashers.

Wednesday, March 9th will be the inaugural ‘reverse crash’ in Utica, NY where the old guys and gals more seasoned employees in credit union land will be sitting and learning from the youngins in their area.  It’s the perfect opportunity to find out just what Crash means to these young whippersnappers, just as much as it is a learning experience for the vets of the movement to see who is next in line in carrying Eddie’s beliefs into the future.

Believe it or not, having Brent Dixon facilitating is only a piece of fun; the location (FX Matt Brewing Company) for the event is what should be putting you over edge from thinking about attending to registering.  As Crashers, we may love beer, but it’s actually the Differentiation Strategy of FX Matt’s that we love most (and can identify with):

Look out Bud! Look out Miller!
New Matt’s Light is a giant killer
With taste that’s great and body surprising
Look out you guys–a new sun is arising.
We’re not very big compared to you
But we love our beer and know how to brew–

A great light beer–with malt and hops
Shove over guys–your monopoly stops

Whether you’re an aged beauty/stud wanting to hear more about these Crashers, or a young guy/gal looking to get more involved – this meetup is not one you will want to miss.

Crash Utica – Wednesday, March 9th at 5:30PMBe there (or you could stay home and be sad you missed it).

Meetups·New York

Meetup: Dec 29th in Syracuse, NY

Indeed, indeed.

If you’re in or around Syracuse, NY, close out 2010 with free coffee and great conversation with other young credit union types. We’ll be meeting at Biscotti Cafe (holy moley, check out these pastries) on December 29th from 8:30am – 10:00am.

Click on the busty flyer or visit for details and to RSVP.

(Rock and roll bust via ffffound.)

New York·Professional Development

[Braintrust] How Do I Launch a Young Adult Advisory Group?

One of our New York Crashers recently posted the question:

I am trying to get approval to start a Youth Advisory Board. Does anyone have any experience with this and or have one at your credit union? Just looking for advice and or ideas on how to get one up and running, how much feedback it creates, how to get the youth to volunteer, etc.

Youth advisory boards are a fantastic way to get outside of your own head, move beyond polls and statistics, and starting learning what really makes your young members tick.

Here’s some advice I yanked right from our research at Filene to help with her project. I hope it helps some of you too:


The first part of recruiting is deciding on your target. Who are you trying to reach and learn about? This can be driven by your product needs. This breakdown shows what age groups are using what products -


Where depends on the age of the group you’re recruiting.

  • Meeting at the CU is good if the group is older with their own transportation and your credit union is centrally located.
  • Meeting at the school is good if you have a relationship with the administrators, you’ve partnered with a business class or group like Junior Achievement.

Other meeting places include local community centers and partner organization (SEGs, etc) sites.


That depends on age too.

  • High schoolers = meet after school or during a partner group activity.
  • Working adults = meet after work over dinner.
  • College students = meet during class at a community college. Try to target / partner with a marketing or business admin class.

A Few Best Practices

  • Find an existing group like a college class or club.
  • Offer a tangible incentive like cash, a gift card, or a “nice” dinner.
  • Recruit a mix of potential and existing members, but remember to avoid trying to sell stuff to the non-members.
  • Use personal invitations rather than sending out a mass email.


Here are a few resources from Filene that may help:

. . .

Any of you out there with success stories, challenges, or advice to share?

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