Drinking from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

Last year, drinking water out of a fire hose became my modus operandi. 

From learning about Strategic Planning at Wharton, to a new position as Program Manager at the Northwest Credit Union Association, to marrying my best friend Michael—all within 3 months of each other—it goes without saying 2014 was busy. But, no complaints on my end because every single opportunity continues to grow, shape and equip me for what’s ahead. 

And what’s ahead is now CEO Institute II at Cornell. 

Looking back on the education received at Wharton—the professors I met, the professional relationships I developed, and the project I worked on—taught me some things... Here are just a few:

Balance. One thing I noticed about many of the CEOs and other executives I had the opportunity to chat with, was their emphasis on work/life balance. One in particular mentioned their love for gardening/yard work and how that outlet was their escape—‘their balance’. Of course a quick google search about work/life balance will bring up so many arguments for or against such a thing, but the opportunity to talk with real life executives from all over the country and hear their tips and tricks about how they attain balance was impactful to say the least. It has challenged me in new ways and although I’m not at an optimal balance between work and life at the moment, I’ve definitely made it more of a priority. Disconnect and refresh… ahhhhhhh.

Ask Good Questions. In my experience at Wharton, not only were the professors and curriculum phenomenal, but my colleagues throughout the room asked really good questions. And, with my professional career being so young, that exposure to higher level thinking and processing really opened up my eyes. Because of the entire Wharton experience, I’m happy to say my mind has reached a new level of thinking that helps me ask better questions, more of those ‘good’ questions.

Dreams Come True. During my time in high school, I wrote off ever getting into a ‘good college’, let alone getting into one period, so I didn’t try very hard—or at all. (It’s a looong story, but don’t worry, I took some time off after high school graduation and then graduated top of my class from Corban University in 2012.) I will say stepping onto Wharton’s campus last year was a dream come true—a former ‘unobtainable idea’ that became a very real experience. (I kinda acted like a kid in a candy store.) Although I knew I wasn’t there to attain an MBA –which is a cool $250,000 last time I checked—I still had the ‘dream come true’ opportunity of learning from their professors—some of the top minds in the business world. I never thought I’d get an opportunity quite like that, but thanks to CUES, DDJ Myers, Currency Marketing, my Maps Credit Union Family, and my own friends and family—they all made a dream come true, and I believe Cornell will be yet another dream come true. Thanks go out again to all of you who have supported me and continue to do so in this adventure—including my new NWCUA family. 

So bring on that water hose of knowledge, I’m ready for it. I’ll take in just as much as my brain can handle and then stew on it for years to come just as I have stewed on the experience and education I received at Wharton. Onward to new experiences and a super long plane ride…

Amanda Brenneman
2013 Next Top Credit Union Exec