by Shawn Marie Brummer, Communications & Media Specialist
Three Dakota credit union professionals recently “Crashed” the CUNA GAC that was held virtually on March 2 – 4. Nanci Wilson from University FCU (Grand Forks, ND), Erica Clements from East River FCU (Madison, SD) and Elizabeth Colby from North Star Community CU (Maddock, ND) joined other young emerging leaders representing nearly every U.S. state.
Crash the GAC is a non-stop, career-changing program for young professionals that introduces them to the top leaders in the credit union industry. The Crashers are selected through a highly competitive process, and this year, 32 crashers earned free registration to the biggest credit union event of the year, including our three Dakota Crashers. Because of the accessibility of the virtual conference, 66 total crashers were admitted to the program led by Filene’s Community Development Director, Cortney Angeley. (Photo below compliments of Nanci Wilson.)
“Last week was full of amazing things,” said Elizabeth Colby. “Things that are inspiring. Things that are encouraging. Things that are daunting. With the theme of Financial Well-Being for All, the conference did a really good job of fully encompassing what that meant and looked like. It highlighted the challenges that lie ahead. How do I sum up the whole week and describe the impact that it had on me, what is my ‘take away’? I will share with you what I shared with my Crasher team. I spent the week listening to a lot of perspectives of people’s lives and situations. I have been fortunate that my life hasn’t really changed much from the COVID shutdown. I’ve still been going to the office every day, my kids still go to school, I even attended the Summit in Sioux Falls! But what did happen is that my world become very small, very fast! What I mean by small is that my influencing perspectives became small, while my echo chamber got bigger. This conference provided me with a platform to expand my world and my perspective,” she shared.
“The experience was like an uplifting ‘pep talk’ coming out of 2020 with all of its hardships and heartaches,” said Erica Clements. “I feel more motivated to make a difference, and not to let life pass me by. I think after the past year we can feel a little drained and on autopilot, but there are so many opportunities out there to step out of your comfort zone and take on something new. I really enjoyed having the opportunity to talk with some of the speakers in our smaller Crasher group. My favorite piece of advice from those sessions was, Was it not meant to be, or did you just give up? from Antonio Neves. It can be so easy to not push through the hard times and essentially just chalk it up to ‘not meant to be.’ But what if you gave it your all? What if you didn’t give up? Then he asked us, Based on the last 30 days, would they still hire you? He was very thought provoking!”
She continues, “As for my career, it really opened my eyes to other professionals going through some of the same things, yet they might be from a big credit union on the East Coast or a small credit union in the West. Regardless of geography or size, we face a lot of the same obstacles each day. It gives you an extended network where you can reach out to others, or maybe they already went through that and have a great solution or idea. It all goes back to the ‘people helping people’ philosophy, credit unions help credit unions,” she added.
Nanci Wilson agrees. “I enjoyed networking with other credit union professionals from all over the country,” she said. “The energy is tangible - even through the screen! Crashing the GAC was a wonderful opportunity to place myself in an area of credit unions that may have not been the most natural for me. The experience allowed me to really listen and understand the legislative side of our movement and how I can be a proactive part. This was a fantastic opportunity to stand collectively with like-minded professionals for the greater good.”
On a side note, Nanci Wilson received her Credit Union Development Education (CUDE) designation in 2015, and for the second consecutive year, she will be leading a group of young professionals during our 2021 Annual Summit in May. “If you are on the fence about Crashing the Summit in Fargo this year, please reach out to me! I would love to tell you all about it!” she concluded.
Be a Summit Crasher!
Learn more about the industry and expand your professional network! If you are a credit union professional age 35 or under who is interested in expanding your career and professional development, consider applying to be a Summit Crasher! The Crashers’ registration fees are FREE so the only expense you will incur is travel and lodging when we meet May 3 – 4 at the Delta Marriott Hotel and Convention Center in Fargo. Visit our Summit Event Page for more details and the complete agenda. Contact George McDonald if you have any questions about the Crasher agenda.
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