I thought I’d take a small step away from the typical content on my Next Top Credit Union Exec project to mention a few of my great experiences at the recent Credit Union 1 Conference in Las Vegas. But as I thought about it, these thoughts really apply to any life situation, including my efforts for NTCUE.
Last year I was fortunate enough to win a Young Credit Union People (WYCUP) Scholarship from the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU.) My prize in 2009 in Barcelona was an all-expense paid trip to the Las Vegas event this year. In addition to a great networking session with other young credit union leaders, (special shout out to fellow NTCUE competitor Tina Hall who was also there!) the sheer expanse of opportunities extends far beyond the sessions listed on the agenda.
After my win in Barcelona, I met Catherine Roberts, one of the WOCCU board members. In the small world we live in, we later learned that we are both originally from Michigan. We were re-connecting at the supporters’ reception in Las Vegas and were eventually joined in conversation by another woman Catherine clearly knew. The three of us chatted for quite some time about various credit union topics, the WYCUP program, attracting new generations to credit unions – all the while I had no idea who this other friendly and engaging woman was. She congratulated me on my win and took great interest in the WYCUP program.
It wasn’t until Catherine mentioned the woman’s move with her husband to the Washington DC area that I thought to get a better look at her name badge that was previously obstructed. I had been leisurely chatting with Crissy Cheney for at least 15 minutes and was none-the-wiser. She spoke with enthusiasm about her husband Bill Cheney’s new role as CUNA CEO and clearly appreciates the issues facing credit unions.
No matter where you find yourself in life, you never know who else will be there with you. I hope we find someone for our Vice President of Unbanking position who understands and appreciates the community connections we’ll ask them to make – and then goes off on their own to find ones we never thought of. No matter what you’re doing, take every opportunity given, and more importantly, find the ones that aren’t just handed over.