This past weekend (July 11th through 14th), I attended the Michigan Credit Union League’s (MCUL) Annual Conference and Exposition (AC&E) in Traverse City. Why is this noteworthy? Because I’m not a credit union CEO, VP, or board member, the typical audience at such an event. I’m a 27-year-old with just two years in Marketing at Consumers Credit Union.
“How did this happen?” you ask. Well naturally, I Crashed.
“Crashed? Like crashing a party uninvited?” Well, sorta. Allow me to elaborate.
To Crash in the credit union world means to give young professionals (30ish and under) the opportunity to attend major conferences frequented by senior managers and board members. These young up-and-comings are selected by application and sponsored to attend at little cost to their credit unions. These folks are the future of credit unions, soon expected to step up into leadership roles. How can we prepare them for such responsibility? By giving them the opportunity to attend conferences and learn about what’s happening in the industry.
The Cooperative Trust and the MCUL
The Cooperative Trust (formerly the Crash Network) organizes the official Crasher movement. They sponsor Crashers at four events each year. Last year, they hit the AC&E in Grand Rapids.
The MCUL enjoyed the Crashers so much that they invited them back this year, however, the Cooperative Trust couldn’t commit to repeating the same state event two years in a row.
The MCUL didn’t take no for answer, however. They decided to fund Crashers themselves and asked two 2011 Crashers, Bill Clancy of Lake Michigan Credit Union and Jayson Peters of Wyandotte Federal Credit Union, to organize the group. Bill and Jayson reviewed 32 applications and selected eight Crashers from around the state.
Given the opportunity to attend, I learned about the industry and gained global perspective on its challenges and strengths. I also networked and socialized with an exceptional group of peers, who will continue to be a invaluable and inspiring support group. Over the next week, I’ll be posting a series of blogs on my takeaways.
Thanks for reading!