Emerging Leaders Scholarship Worth More than the Money

A friend sent me an email a while back with the most unique college scholarships available for the next generation of Ikea shoppers. I liked the “Carnegie Mellon University Bagpipe Scholarship” the mostThis scholarship offers $7,000 yearly to bagpipe majors who apply. Either there are not many bagpipe students around or this scholarship trust is extremely well funded.

So what is a scholarship anyways? It has to be more than a passion for 16th century Scottish aerophane instruments right? To some people, a scholarship is simply a way to finance an education or training program. To others, it might be a contest; something to win. 

So these were the thoughts I had – free tuition and a good competition – when I was nominated last year for the Emerging Leaders Scholarship. I clearly did not know what I was getting myself into. Now, reflecting on this past year and after completing the Emerging Leaders program, this experience has been worth so much more than just the tuition. Here are three benefits of winning the scholarship, beyond the dollars. 

More Opportunities 

I have been blogging for the Anthem newsletter this past year, writing about the program and sharing my growth. Last October I had the opportunity to present my credit union project at the Amplify Convention in Spokane, to an audience of industry leaders.

Both of these experiences produced growth and developed new skills. Speaking in public is not necessarily a fear of mine, but presenting a year-long project to a room full of executives and CEO’s brought some nerves. Especially since I had to use a lapel mic. My first time ever. 

Having several executives wanting to implement your project at their credit unions is a reward well beyond the dollar amount of the scholarship.

A Wider Vision

Winning the scholarship came with higher expectations. My coach assessed my leadership abilities quite accurately from the beginning. So I could not just pretend to grow. I was being challenged the entire year. As I wrote about from Session 2: “What elevates Emerging Leaders above any weekend seminar on leadership are the same two things that make playing sports so memorable: a coach and a team.”

My key area of growth from the coaching was developing a wider vision. Having a wider vision of my role in the credit union industry has allowed me to develop a more effective leadership presence. Looking beyond this quarter’s numbers and casting a vision that is three years out, and then inspiring others to go with you, is reaching towards executive-level leadership.  

The Greatest People in the Industry

If you are thinking about attending Emerging Leaders this year, you will have the opportunity to meet the greatest people in our industry. Winning the scholarship just makes it easier to meet them. Attending the NWCUA Amplify Convention was one of my favorite experiences from last year because of the people you can network with and learn from. The conversations I had and the advice I was given from executives of several credit unions is alone worth anything this entire program could have cost.

In closing, if you are passionate about credit unions, if your career path is pointed at Executive, and if you want to open the door to opportunities and an amazing network of leaders – I encourage you to apply for Emerging Leaders. If you are the one that wins the scholarship, you will find out as I have this past year that the benefits go far beyond the monetary reward.

Click here to nominate someone for the Emerging Leaders Scholarship, presented by Strategic Link.

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790, jpearson@nwcua.org.

Posted in Events, NWCUA.