The Blog

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My desk phone rings, on average, four times a day. The calls come from all over the country: Dumont, New Jersey; Greenville, South Carolina; Covington, Kentucky; Midvale, Utah... I’m a programmer, so I like doing the math. Five calls, four rings each, twenty rings a day - I answer none of them. When I started my job two years ago, the week after I graduated college, I was excited to hear the phone ring. Somebody wanted to talk to me, hear what I had to say! At first I was afraid to answer, but eventually I did pick up. Two years later, they’re all still telling me I won a cruise.   This past week, I was away from my desk. I was in DC, “crashing” the ...
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I wanted to take a moment to share with all of you the amazing opportunity I had Crashing the Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington D.C., it is safe to say my eyes are now fully open and I am looking at everything through a Credit Union lens. When I left my corporate bank job to join Boeing Employees Credit Union 5 months ago, I knew it was because I wanted to be part of this culture and this movement. However, until this trip I had no gauge as to just how big this movement really is. During the Crash week  I was exposed to speakers, presenters, CEO’s, politicians and other credit union staff and there were a few reoccurring themes. The top theme for ...
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Thoughts On Crashing

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Being a crasher was one of the best experiences I’ve ever encountered within the credit union industry! Who knew being around so many young professionals would help create innovative ideas, implement projects to bring back to your team and organization, and build lifelong connections with your fellow crashers. It takes you out of your comfort zone, at least for me, and it left me feeling empowered, wanting to enforce change for the better. When I first arrived in DC, I met up with a few other crashers and we all took an Uber to the hotel. Everyone was so excited, but I just couldn’t wait to lay down. We didn’t have anything planned that night, so a few of us ...
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Another Crash the gac is complete... I'm calling attention to something very important, that is, Crash the GAC 2020. Specifically, I want to share a bit about the power of networking and vulnerability to build a life-long career in credit unions. Here’s a highlight of our time with the 2020 Crasher Fam:   We met the Saturday before GAC started for a full day of team building. We dove into it right away leading with a session on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion where we covered the topic of codeswitching and covering. We asked Crashers to open-up and be vulnerable, and gosh did they deliver. This session set the stage for the rest of the week. From there ...
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To The Cooperative Trust: Filene stands at the ready to get you the support and resources that would help you best serve your members and employees right now. “Stress and worry. You may think that you’re not under stress, but you can be and just have a way of hiding it. I would say about six to nine months, it took about [that long] to save to get caught up and to have security if [another financial emergency] were to happen again. You know, jobs are not guaranteed at all. Nothing’s guaranteed in this world.” Leeza, a Freedom First Federal Credit Union member, made this comment to our researchers about her need for a program that Filene ...
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The Crash after The Crash…

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I made it back to work my first Monday after Crash the GAC and was ready to conquer the credit union world.  I had ideas, notes, and dreams a million!  I realized, very quickly, that while my world was being changed in DC nothing was changing back home.  Don’t get me wrong back home wasn’t doing anything wrong, but it also hadn’t just experienced the most exhausting, life changing week that I had.  It took a second for it to sink it that if I wanted to create change it wasn’t going to be instantaneously.  Then it happened…the crash…after the crash.  No one understood my passion.  No body grasped my excitement.  So, I started to crash.  It was like running ...
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When I Crashed the GAC in 2016, my life changed forever. Am I being even slightly dramatic? Absolutely not. My memory of the first conversation I had with my husband after the conference was finally over resulted in me bursting into tears and my husband thinking I’d just suffered some type of serious physical pain. Surly, nothing else would have caused such an immediate and untamable reaction… she said sarcastically. What I had I experienced was pure joy knowing the collective power of credit unions. I gained a network of intelligent and like-minded humans. For the first time in my professional career I felt like I was doing exactly what I was supposed to. It’s ...
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Thank you!

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My Cooperative Trust Friends and Family: Today I’m wrapping up the last threads of my time as the leader of this incredible community. As I’ve cleared out my desk and crossed off my last to-dos, I’ve been reflecting on the transformation that’s taken place over the last several years for the community and for me personally. Together, we have accomplished so much. We doubled in size at Crash the GAC, bringing 100 Crashers to Washington in our most diverse Crash class ever. We’ve grown professionally and in our support for one another. We’ve started more young professional groups, advocated for more members, and tirelessly worked even more for the growth ...
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What's New in 2018?

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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Colloquia and Curveballs

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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 ...
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The question we don’t ask before Crashing an event is, “What am I prepared to do after I Crash?” Life after Crash If you imagine doors would open at every turn, I’d say you’re about half-right. The doors are left ajar, but there is no door attendant waiting for you to walk through – that’s up to you. Creating opportunities, sustaining and maintaining the relationships you’ve started takes effort. My life after Crashing the GAC in 2016 has been filled with excitement and learning, and then testing the boundaries of what I thought I was capable of to the realities of where I’m at in my career. By keeping in contact with my fellow Crashers and Crash mentors, ...
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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 ...
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New Beginnings

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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 ...
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