Communication is the Real Work of Leadership


This is the amount of employees that Servus Credit Union has that are 35 and under.

With over 100 branches in 62 communities, one of the first issues needed to be resolved by the Servus Young Leaders Network was how can we communicate with young leaders throughout the province?

Solution: The Servus Young Leaders Network Online Site.

When we first started to investigated our own social networking site, we were aware that the National Young Leader Committee (an organization made up of credit union young leaders throughout Canada) was using Ning. Ning is an online platform for people, artists, brands, businesses and organizations to create their own custom social networks. Ning offers customers the ability to create a community website with a customized appearance and feel, feature sets such as photos, videos, forums and blogs. It also provides the ability to update your status and link it to Twitter, make “Friends”, as well as the ability to “Like” pretty much anything.

Vice Chairperson and Online Presence Committee Chair Robert Christiansen has done a masterful job on completing all of the programing to the site. The site has all relevant information pertaining to the Servus Young Leaders Network including the mission, vision, constitution, and our National Scholarship Program. It also includes various groups including the “Servus Young Leaders Network – Lloydminster” group (a young leader group based out of one of our branches), “The Awesome World of Volunteering” group (people sharing their stories on who and how they volunteer for their communities), and the “CSI Think Tank” group (a place to discuss CSI exams, which many of our retail staff are required to complete). This has really allowed young leaders from across Servus Credit Union to build their network by sharing their learning, successes, and even failures.

When we first set up the site, it was our intention to only have it open to those in the 35 and under age bracket. After testing and previewing it to several peers, including some over 35, we decided to open the site to all staff. We felt what a great opportunity to have experienced staff on the site to act as mentors to our young leaders. We can learn from them, but they can also learn from us. To date, we have 362 total members of the Servus Young Leaders Network site, and that includes 113 people that are over the age of 35.

I believe our site has several features that truly sets us apart in regards to the development of young leaders using social media. For this blog, I’ll be keying on three of those features and have included some screen shots for your viewing pleasure.

The first is our Leadership Development Page. Our links include the following:

35 Under 35

  • A leadership retreat being held in September for 35 Young Leaders 35 and under that will provide 2 days of learning in the area of credit union, leadership readiness, networking, as well as meeting other young leaders from across Servus Credit Union. (I’ll be providing more details in later blogs/videos)

CUCC Conference Learning

  • This past May, the Servus Young Leaders Network had several young leaders attend the Credit Union Central of Canada’s National Conference in Niagara Falls. This link shares their learning from that experience (Again, I’ll be writing about this in a later blog).

Leadership Development Links

  • Provides links to the following leadership blogs:

Chick-fil-A Leadercast
Harvard Business Review - Blog
Leadership 501
Linked 2 Leadership
Scott Eblin's Next Level Blog
TED - Blog

Leadership Development Programs

  • Provides links to various leadership programs at various educational institutions across Canada.

The Leadership RSS page has been combined with the Leadership Development Link page and will be deleted shortly.

The second key feature is our Young Leader Spotlight. The spotlight is used as a way for us to showcase other young leaders across Servus Credit Union monthly. Attached is the first spotlight we did on Jordan Petersen, the first ever winner of the Servus Young Leaders Network National Scholarship.

For the young leader being spotlighted, it provides recognition for their accomplishments to date. For other young leaders, we hope it inspires them to understand that we ALL have the ability to do so much for our credit union and our communities.

The third and final feature, which I believe has been the most impactful, yet could be our most simplest feature, is the “I AM” section in each young leaders profile.When you first join the Servus Young Leaders Network Online Site, we ask a few simple questions that are posted to their profile page. These questions include: Name, Birth Date (which is kept private), Branch/Department, Position, and the “I AM” section. In this section, the invidual gets to “check” if they are a mentor, mentee, looking for a mentor, or looking for a mentee.

During the pilot phase of the Mentorship program being completed by Servus Credit Union, we were able to pull stats from the Servus Young Leaders Network Online Site for a list of potential mentees. WE HAD 154!!!!!! This gave us a large pool of mentee candidates from different locations and departments throughout the province to choose from for the pilot project. Going forward, this simple feature could also be used to compile a mentor pool when the Mentorship program is released corporate wide in the New Year.

Since opening the site to the entire Servus Credit Union family 9 months ago, we have 249 members that are the age of 35 and under. This represents 28% of the 35 and under work force. While we are extremely excited about this stat, we know we have a long way to go to reach our ultimate goal, which is to have every employee 35 and under as a Servus Young Leaders Network member.

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars. ~Les Brown