Announcing Our Northwest GAC Crashers!


Your Northwest Credit Union Association is thrilled to congratulate the seven young professionals from the Northwest who have been selected by The Cooperative Trust and Credit Union National Association to attend Crash the GAC 2018. This year,  78 Crashers were selected, representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The Northwest region’s Crashers are:

  • Blaine Bartholomew, Unitus Community Credit Union
  • Allison Hericks, BECU
  • Sam Jensen, Pioneer Federal Credit Union
  • Tony Phillips, BECU
  • Rebekah Schroeter, Verity Credit Union
  • Symantha Sermino, Northwest Community Credit Union
  • John Suk, BECU

Crash the GAC is a career-changing program for young credit union professionals interested in advocacy. The program covers the selected young professionals’ registration fees to attend CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference, and provides exclusive networking opportunities and mentoring sessions with industry leaders from organizations such as Filene Research Institute, the National Credit Union Foundation, Credit Union National Association, and CUNA Mutual Group.

As the financial services industry continues to evolve, it’s more important than ever that young people are included in the conversation. The Northwest Crashers are eager to be part of the dialogue.

“I decided to participate in the program because I eat, sleep, and breathe credit union advocacy and how I can better serve my members. Since returning from MAXX last October, I have made it a personal goal to learn as much as I can so I can further develop the member experience,” said Sam Jensen, Lead Video Financial Solutions Specialist at Pioneer Federal Credit Union in Idaho, and a YP Lead for the Northwest Young Professionals Network. “I’m a firm believer in the power and opportunity credit unions have, and am passionate about tapping into our potential to better serve our underserved communities. It is my hope that I will be able to expand my credit union toolset and acquire more contacts just as passionate and dedicated to the bigger picture of serving the underserved. I can’t wait to be a part of the energy in D.C., and look forward to bringing that energy back to my credit union.”

Rebekah Schroeter, Assistant Branch Manager for Verity Credit Union in Washington and also a YP Lead, emphasized her desire to be a great example of the Credit Union Difference in her community.

“After attending the NWCUA MAXX conference, I was filled with so much fire for the Credit Union Movement as a whole, and couldn’t wait to start my journey with the young professionals I met throughout my experience. When I heard about the Governmental Affairs Conference, I knew it was something I needed to witness and be involved in,” Schroeter said. “I wanted to apply to crash the GAC to continue to act as an example for not only my young professional peers, but also for my community, our credit union Board, senior staff, and our entire member base. Actions speak so much louder than words, and by continuing to engage with the community and be involved on all levels, I believe it will help the voice of the Credit Union Movement be heard. I can’t wait to see the ripple effects of this Movement spread throughout the entire world.”

Likewise, Symantha Sermino, a fellow YP Lead and a Business Services Assistant for Northwest Community Credit Union in Oregon, looks forward to amplifying the voice of the Credit Union Movement.

“My energy and passion for credit unions has grown exponentially with every event I’ve attended. I feel I’ve truly developed a voice for the movement, and I look forward to really participating in the conversation,” Sermino said. “Every time I make a connection and grow my network of peers in the credit union industry, it reinforces for me that I’m in the right line of work. I feel validated and even further motivated to fight for my members and my community. What I hope to gain from this experience is an even stronger and broader network of likeminded individuals whose energy is aligned with the overall philosophy of credit unions: people helping people.”

Click here to register for and learn more about CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference, Feb. 25 – Mar. 1, 2018.

Posted in CUNA.