“Passion, I see, is catching.” -Shakespeare

It felt like we were preparing for a college mid-term. There were six of us crammed into Lois’ hotel room. Papers, binders, and laptops were strewn everywhere. We were sitting on the couch, laying on the floor, or leaning against any available wall. Of course there was pizza. And candy. Snacks of all kinds, actually.

That was the scene yesterday. We were doing final preparations for Development Education training today.

I’m a volunteer for the 2010 Credit Union Development Education (CUDE) program. The purpose of this training, paraphrasing the National Credit Union Foundation, is to provide critical lessons in cooperative principles, credit union philosophy, and the member-centric business model that has enabled credit unions to weather the economic storm better than many for-profit institutions. Participants leave with a strong understanding of the entire credit union system.

They also leave with a healthy dose of passion for our model. This passion inspires participants to take on projects to spread the credit union message. This passion empowers participants to make a difference in our movement. This passion connects participants from all over the world to a purpose beyond a day-to-day job.

And this passion lingers over time.

The energy in the room yesterday was palpable. The six of us are past graduates of the CUDE program. We were in Lois’ room for a day-long planning meeting. At one point we were discussing case studies: which ones should stay and which ones should be modified. We debated. We shared strong opinions. We even called the World Council for back up.

Ultimately, we were all engaged in the end result: creating an amazing experience for the participants.

I noticed throughout the day, different people in our small group talked about the enthusiasm or passion of our team. 

That’s why I’m here. I’m on a mission. Not only am I the Logistics Coordinator (actually, I prefer the title ‘Goddess of Everything’) for the program, I’m here to find a way to capture this energy for credit unions and incorporate it into my NTCUE project.

One of the missing links in my program right now is a connection between individual passion and passion for our credit union system. I just read it again this morning in The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave. Two elements key to a work environment are trust and hope. Those themes can be summarized in one sentence:

People want to believe in something.

Especially now. We are so beat down in this market. So many people, media and consumer alike, assume credit unions are the same as banks. I feel like working in a financial institution right now is so not hot. It’s disheartening, disenfranchising, demoralizing.

Now, more than ever, we need to be reminded of who we are and what we are here to do. It goes beyond the commodity we offer. The innovation and creativity we need to emerge triumphant is rooted in passion.

At least, that’s what I believe. Another .10 basis points off on that certificate is not enough. If you took the commitment and enthusiasm from the group I was a part of yesterday and gave it to any executive team, dynamic strategic meetings would result. 

Energy begets energy. Cultural programs need to harness it. Passion is the key. That’s what I want to accomplish this week as a next step in my NTCUE experience. Capturing industry passion and adding that to my program.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead


Regional Finalist – West