Verity Credit Union’s Jeremy Sankwich Wins Emerging Leaders Scholarship

“I am truly excited about 2014 as I continue developing and growing. My goal is to become a great leader who helps others to develop and grow, too.”
— Jeremy Sankwich, winner of the Emerging Leadership Scholarship Contest

Jeremy Sankwich, whose search for quality training first led him to Verity Credit Union in April 2013, is this year’s winner of the Northwest Credit Union Association’s Emerging Leadership Scholarship Contest.

Sankwich is a mortgage relationship officer at Verity, where he launched and continues to manage a real estate referral program. As the contest winner, he’ll receive free tuition to a program that includes nine days of face-to-face training, several months of project work, one-on-one coaching, and mentoring focused on nurturing the credit union leaders of tomorrow.

The scholarship, valued at $2,650, is sponsored by the NWCUA’s Strategic Link.

“We are excited to be able to provide this opportunity for Jeremy and Verity Credit Union. Having gone through the program myself, I have seen firsthand how it has improved my leadership abilities and provided me a foundation to excel through the next phase of my career,” says Craig Reed, the Association’s director of strategic partnerships. “It’s important that we continue to grow the talent in our Northwest credit unions, and this is a perfect example of how we can support that initiative.”

Sankwich joined Verity in April 2013 after working as a volunteer firefighter in California, an international sales manager in the Middle East and China, and a business development director for a Seattle high-tech startup. One of the goals he set for himself at Verity, he says, was to seek out an intensive, hands-on training program that would prepare him for a leadership role at the credit union.

With the help of the Emerging Leaders Program, he says, “I will become a far more resourced and prepared leader for Verity.”

The 2014 Emerging Leaders Program will take place in three sessions: March 26-28, June 4-6 and Sept. 17-19. All three sessions will take place at the NWCUA Conference Center in SeaTac, Wash. Over the course of nine days, participants will receive face-to-face training in “Strategic Leadership,” “Building Leadership Presence” and “The Practice of Leadership,” and four coaching sessions with trainers from the DDJ Myers Advancing Leadership Institute.

Leadership projects will then give participants a chance to apply what they’ve learned at their credit unions and in their communities; they’ll report back to the group in September, and have an opportunity to present final results at the 2014 NWCUA Amplify Convention and Annual Business Meeting in October.

“After six months,” says Susan Geear, vice president of innovative leadership and education for DDJ Myers, Ltd., “each participant will have gained skills and tools to enhance their lifelong leadership capacity to communicate and coordinate more effectively, to persuasively advocate and advance ideas, and to be and act strategically.”

Is that what Sankwich is looking for? Anthem asked the scholarship winner to reflect on his career and talk about how the Emerging Leaders Program can help him take the next step. Here’s his story:

My Journey to the Credit Union Industry

By Jeremy Sankwich, Mortgage Relationship Officer
Verity Credit Union

Last month, a co-worker nominated me for a scholarship to participate in the Emerging Leaders Program in 2014. She was part of the original class last year and has spoken very highly of her experience. I feel very fortunate to be the winner of this year’s scholarship, and am grateful for the opportunity to participate in the program.

I have my own story about how I came to the credit union industry, and about how that journey — within my first year — has already allowed me to embark on the first of perhaps many once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

After I graduated from California State University in Chico with a double major in financial services and financial management, I quickly learned what a recession feels like. A finance degree in 2008 was not worth a whole lot in the financial services industry, so I had to look elsewhere. Fortunately, connections I made while president of a business fraternity on campus landed me an interview with a local rescue tool manufacturer. I was hired for the International Sales Manager position and given responsibility for expanding the company’s business into Europe and Asia.

I felt “in over my head” at first, making cold calls at 2 a.m. But I learned that being adaptive in your skills and proactive with your goals will compensate for years of experience. I traveled to Germany, the Middle East and China, where I trained civilian and military rescue teams on structure collapse and vehicle stabilization. I created many relationships with wonderful people, and I still keep in touch with many of them to this day.

When I realized that I wanted to be closer to my family, I moved back to Washington and pursued a career in the Seattle high-tech startup world. I loved the pressure and the fast-paced nature of the projects I oversaw, but getting married to the girl of my dreams quickly changed how I viewed the value of stock options versus actual income.

I discovered the credit union industry last year when I decided to pursue a job in finance at a stable company that provided quality training. My searches continually led me to information about Verity University, a full-curriculum internal training program offered to employees of Verity Credit Union. I applied immediately to work at Verity.

Since last April, I have served as the mortgage relationship officer for Verity, overseeing both the mortgage originations for the credit union and the business development of our real estate lending programs.

I am truly excited about 2014 as I continue developing and growing. My goal is to become a great leader who helps others to develop and grow, too. With the training provided by the Emerging Leaders Program, as well as the personal relationships created with executive coaches and other employees working towards similar goals, I hope to become a far more resourced and prepared leader for Verity Credit Union.

Jeremy Sankwich will share his Emerging Leaders experience with Anthem readers throughout 2014; look for his reports later this year. For an overview of the 2014 Emerging Leaders Program, including a list of speakers, hotel accommodations and registration information, go to


Questions? Contact Gary Stein: 503.350.2216,

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