Maps CU Branch Manager Wins Tuition-Free Registration to Emerging Leaders

Emerging Leaders is a career development program offered by the Northwest Credit Union Association and the DDJ Myers Advancing Leadership Institute.  The program includes nine days of face-to-face training spread throughout March-August, and coaching, mentoring, and project work between sessions.

Jennifer Smith, a branch manager for Salem-based Maps Credit Union, will be part of the program this year. Even before the season kicks off March 9, Smith has checked off a leadership benchmark: She won the most competitive scholarship contest in the program’s history, and will receive tuition-free registration as a result.

“I am really passionate about the credit union movement,” said Smith. “We really can do things for members and make them our priority.” Smith believes Emerging Leaders will grow her leadership presence and help her to work up to the executive level where she’ll be able to make higher level decisions about providing the services and products members want.

The scholarship Smith won is funded by Strategic Link, Inc, the wholly owned subsidiary of the Northwest Credit Union Association.  Strategic Link creates value at all levels of the ecosystem by linking credit unions to business partner solutions and helping credit unions to develop their talent.

For the 16 contestants this year, the process was rigorous. It required them to submit either a video or essay and flyer. Three top candidates were then interviewed by a panel of judges.

Smith and her 2016 classmates will focus on strategic leadership, building their leadership presence and best leadership practices during their face to face training in SeaTac. They will also receive four individual executive leadership coaching sessions.

Need Convincing?  2015 Emerging Leaders Share Testimonials

Liz Henderson, also a Maps Credit Union employee, won the 2015 scholarship. The Business Development Officer said the program gave her “the tools, skills and confidence to take something from idea to execution…I now have a myriad of multidimensional tools to help my community and operate more effectively, a network of peers who make me proud to be part of this industry, and the knowledge and lessons learned from some of the most well-known and respected leadership coaches in the industry.”

Other comments from 2015 participants include:

  • “I have learned that I can stand on my own two feet.”
  • “Emerging Leaders taught me that I am in control of how my career grows.”
  • “Since beginning Emerging Leaders training, I have been asked by our executive team to mentor three people—the next Emerging Leaders in our organization.”

Editor’s Note: Class size is limited to 20 students to provide individualized attention from trainers.  Just three spots remain open. Please contact NWCUA Project Manager Holly Miller as soon as possible if interested.

Questions about this story? Contact Lynn Heider: 503.350.2225,

Posted in NWCUA.