Wanted: 2018 GAC Crashers

Young credit union professionals looking to dive into CU advocacy are invited to “crash” the 2018 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference. Hurry — the application deadline is Nov. 28.

11/14/17

The 2017 GAC Crashers with Jim Nussle. Photo by Linda Crane of Global Credit Union.

The 2017 GAC Crashers with Jim Nussle, President and CEO of CUNA. Photo by Linda Crane of Global Credit Union.

For young professionals ready to dive deeper into the world of credit union advocacy, or credit union leaders eager to invest in their leadership pipeline, 2018’s Crash the GAC is an incredible opportunity.

This year, The Cooperative Trust, CUNA, your Association, and state leagues across the nation are joining forces to send one Crasher per state to the upcoming CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC), Feb. 25 through March 1, 2018, in Washington, D.C.

Planned alongside an existing credit union conference, “Crash” events are designed to inspire young credit union professionals ages 35 and under, or 35 at heart, and to help them grow in their credit union careers. Crashers are sponsored to attend a conference at a lower cost, and with additional content created especially for young professionals.

For the 2018 Crash the GAC, crashers will receive free conference registration, which includes attendance at keynote and breakout conference sessions, congressional meetings, and crasher sessions with leaders in the Credit Union Movement. Travel, lodging, and food costs are the responsibility of the Crasher and their credit union. Scholarships also are available from your Northwest Credit Union Foundation to help cover expenses.

The 2018 Crash the GAC application deadline is Nov. 28, 2017. To apply, young credit union professionals should visit crashthegac.com to submit a 60-second video about why they wish to participate in the program, and what they hope to contribute.

To learn more about what to expect from the program, read on. The following is a guest blog written by Linda Crane, a 2017 GAC Crasher and Executive Administrative Assistant for Spokane-based Global Credit Union.

Before attending GAC, I had never encountered a group of young credit union professionals with such a passion for not just their own credit unions, but for the entire Credit Union Movement, including living out the philosophy of “people helping people.”

Many of the speakers at GAC spoke to this philosophy, and it ignited a spark within me to return to Spokane and work toward creating a Young Credit Union Professional (YCUP) group to light this same spark among young professionals in my area.

Hearing from Jim Nussle, President and CEO of CUNA, reminded me how unique our cooperative Credit Union Movement is, and how important it is for us to be educated and take action as advocates on regulatory items that could impact the future of credit unions.

I was very proud and encouraged to be a young professional at the GAC. Many vendors and individuals, such as Nussle, took the time out of their busy schedules to come meet with us, ask us questions, and answer our questions. It was empowering to feel that my opinion and my voice not only mattered, but were being sought after and heard.

The mornings started early and the nights went late, but the relationships I forged with my fellow Crashers and group leaders, along with the lessons I learned from the speakers and Crasher breakout sessions, were worth every minute of lost sleep.

To say Crashing the GAC had an impact on my career would be an understatement! At the end of the conference, I remember talking with one of my fellow crashers, Blair Wolston from VSECU, about how I wanted to be hired as our full-time Credit Union Advocate so I could focus on engaging employees in advocacy and uniting young professionals to educate them about credit unions. While this idea was most likely a result of sleep deprivation and a “conference high,” that passion for advocacy and young professionals never went away, even as I resumed my normal duties.

Since returning from GAC, I have had conversations with my manager about my desire to engage YCUPs in our area. I recently applied for and was accepted to be a YP Lead with the Northwest Young Professionals Network, and attended the MAXX conference with 17 other YP Leads from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

Crashing has focused my passion on advocacy and young professionals, and I am very excited to see what the future brings.

Questions about 2018’s Crash the GAC? Contact Will Hagen, NWCUA’s Grassroots Advocacy Manager, at whagen@nwcua.org.