Emerging Leaders Program Gives CU Professionals the Tools to Grow in Their Careers


This is the final article in guest blogger Heather Brammeier’s three-part blog series on her Emerging Leaders experience this year (read part one and part two). Emerging Leaders is a career development program offered by your Association and the DDJ Myers Advancing Leadership Institute. The program includes nine days of face-to-face training, coaching, mentoring, and project work between sessions.

The last week of Emerging Leaders focused on assessments. An assessment is someone’s opinion, evaluation, judgement, or interpretation based on his or her perspective. We are often given a wide range of “drive-by” assessments like, “You did a great job!” which can leave us wondering what made it great and if it can be improved.

I learned the importance of assessments is that they are relevant and generate growth. If I seek to be a confident presenter, receiving the assessment of “nervousness” because my voice changed pitch and there was tension in my neck and shoulders brings awareness to my body, and then I can work on it. Many assessments I received during Emerging Leaders stung, but I knew that my cohort was providing me information that would make my presentation better. Also, the sting of the comment was shortlived, and now I can move forward in improving my word choice and presence when speaking in front of my peers.

We practiced asking for, receiving, and offering assessments by presenting our projects that we had been working on for the last six months. Before we started each presentation, we each requested the cohort look for a specific item we wanted to accomplish during the presentation. At the end, we received assessments from the cohort and provided a self-assessment to gauge if we accomplished our goal.

For two days, we practiced asking for and giving specific and direct feedback. It was hard to give what felt like a challenging assessment without sandwiching it between positive comments or suggesting corrections. Yet it helped us focus on the most important information and worry less about protecting our self-esteem.

As the third session came to an end, I was sad our cohort would not formally meet again and practice together in our dojo.

Looking back on how much my perspective of leadership has changed, the joy of learning in this environment, and the connections I’ve made overwhelms me. I committed to becoming a confident leader at the beginning of the course. I am still committed to being a confident leader, yet I have a better understanding of what that looks like and how I will accomplish it. I have the tools, the knowledge, and the commitment to use those tools, which makes all the difference when you leave the dojo and enter the office.

Meet Me at MAXX

Are you interested in becoming a leader, but never received any training? Are you looking to become a better leader? Have you taken several leadership courses already, but can’t decide if you want to take another? Do you know someone who fits these descriptions?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, I encourage you to come to the Emerging Leaders breakout session at MAXX, where I will join four of my cohort members — Mallory Randazzo of Verity Credit Union, Joe Krull of Rogue Credit Union, Shelley Pierce of Fibre Credit Union, and Jim Newstrom of Seattle Credit Union — to present our projects and share how much we learned from Emerging Leaders.

To find out more about Emerging Leaders, visit the program page, or contact Northwest Credit Union Association’s Strategic Partnerships Manager, Kaitlin Ramos, at 503.350.2208 or kramos@nwcua.org

Posted in MAXX Annual Convention.