An Open Letter to the Next Top Credit Union Executive

Something magical happened during your time in Savannah. There were breakthroughs, breakout session triumphs, conference eggs, and moments of absolute nervousness. But, your name was called and you instantly felt this calmness that allowed you to deliver your acceptance speech. What an honor!

The experience of being the 2015 Next Top Credit Union Executive has brought so much value to my life. What I thought was going to be an incredible recognition in fact turned out to be a stimulating and intuitive year of networking and learning alongside great credit union leaders. I have gained so many insights on ways to grow a credit union, internally and externally. I have also built great mentorships and friendships with a few amazing trailblazers. All of this from simply clicking one button to enter a competition that provides a platform for emerging credit union leaders.

This experience has taught me that anyone with a dream, commitment, and diligence can create change in this movement. Every person I met at the CEO Institute had valuable advice to offer. If there is one lesson that I could take away from it all, it’s that strategic planning and anticipation of change helps an organization maintain a competitive advantage in changing times.

Shannon, I hope that you continue to promote your system that allows credit unions to track, measure, and prove profitability of their financial literacy efforts. Programs like yours will allow organizations to realize their investments in the financial lives of the communities in which they serve. My hope is that your efforts will one day help us lower the average member age and get young people involved in the movement.

This next year will be as magical as the moment when Tim called your name. Congratulations to you, Shannon Cahoon, 2016 Next Top Credit Union Executive!

Jimese Harkley