A Look Back and What I Learned

I sit here, trying to put into words my experience with NTCUE and the CETNET conference. Even now, weeks after the final thank-yous and good-byes, I struggle to coherently explain how it makes me feel.

I feel thankful. I’m thankful to be a part of an industry that celebrates young talent, and that understands the opportunities and challenges that lie shortly ahead as so many of our leaders plan retirement. I am thankful that I have found my home in a movement that inspires me, that fulfills me, and that has endless possibilities in store for me. I feel thankful for the support of fellow CETNET attendees; for the encouragement of the CUES team and the NWCUA; for the coaching from DeeDee Myers; for the masterful organization of Currency Marketing; and for the overwhelming love from my family, my Fibre family, my friends, and my networks of credit union-ers, school gardeners, YP-ers, NYIB-ers, Crashers, and fellow finalists.

I feel encouraged. I feel like my ideas really connected with people, and that they “got it” and “got me”, and that’s pretty encouraging, especially on such a big stage. The feedback I received from the conference attendees made the presentation and the waiting much more comfortable than I could have imagined it would be. And all of the support from literally all across the US- and even from Canada- opened my eyes to the network I have at my back. It’s encouraging to think, “If I can do this, what else can I do?

I feel inspired. I feel like if I can do it, surely you can, too. I feel inspired to pass this opportunity along to other young credit union professionals- those that I know, and those that YOU know. You have no idea what we can do, until we have the chance to prove it.

I feel powerful. Like. Seriously. I feel like I could run the world. (Then I remember that I can barely run the leaf blower.) But there’s nothing that provides a bigger boost to your confidence than an accomplishment like this… especially coming at a time when personally and professionally, I was feeling ever so slightly adrift.

I feel giddy. Holy Moley. When I really, really think about it, I get all wiggly and squealy and totally not professional or adult-ish. Happy isn’t a strong enough word. But this song kind of sounds like what it feels like. And this one. And maybe this one.

I feel connected. I am delighted to have added four new outstanding young credit union professionals to my network. My fellow finalists are incredible people that I am proud to know, and am honored to have competed alongside. Beyond these four career-long connections, I feel more plugged-in to the credit union industry than ever. It’s the biggest little world of them all. Possibilities are endless, yet the family is close-knit.

I feel honored. Being a part of this competition, let alone winning the whole shooting match, is one of the most amazing accomplishments I have had so far. The best part, as Twinstar’s Scott Daukas pointed out, is that this may just be the first of many more great moments in the years ahead.

I feel proud. I feel proud of myself. How many moments do you get to feel that, deep down in your bones? That’s a pretty great gift.

There are so many other words that I could use to express what this experience has meant to me, and what I’ve learned from it, but I think this gives you the right idea. I’m looking forward to the journey from here, both with my project at FFCU and the experiences at the CEO Institutes and beyond.