Credit Union Professionals Grow, Strengthen Skills Through Emerging Leaders Program

Recent graduates of the 2018 Emerging Leaders program.


Mallory Randazzo was working as a training and development specialist in 2016 at Seattle-based Verity Credit Union when she decided to develop her skills and advance her career. She felt something was missing, but wasn’t sure how to move forward.

“I was so hungry for a different type of development I hadn’t gotten yet in my career,” Randazzo said.

After hearing about DDJ Myers Advancing Leadership Institute and its Emerging Leaders program from colleagues, Randazzo applied for and received a scholarship through her credit union to enroll.

The program consists of a series of three-day training sessions that start in the spring and end in early fall, with three sessions total. During the training workshops, participants collaborate with industry colleagues and build strong professional relationships with peers from other credit unions. Participants also receive executive-level coaching and mentoring between training sessions. By the final week of the course, each participant presents a leadership project, applying their new skills to support their credit union and community.

“The program helped me to discover the opportunity to be a leader,” said Randazzo. “I am more open, confident, and resilient in day-to-day interactions with my team and the overall staff.”

Holly Miller, Northwest Credit Union Association Project Manager, also gained valuable skills that she’s now able to use day-to-day.

“Emerging Leaders helped me take a deep look at my patterns and behaviors and gave me the tools to help shift my perspective and truly access my ability to be a confident leader.”

Each year, the Northwest Credit Union Association teams up with DDJ Myers to offer the Emerging Leaders Program, and NWCUA’s Strategic Link offers one credit union professional with a scholarship to attend each year. Registration for the 2019 program is now open.

“Successful businesses need to constantly develop their bench of strong leaders,” said NWCUA Director, Cooperative Momentum, Carmen Vigil. “The Emerging Leaders Program helps credit unions groom their existing staff to fill that need. We’re excited to partner with DDJ Myers to launch the 2019 program.”

The program focuses on strategic visioning, delivering powerful assessments, coordination and accountability models, and the power of a well-grounded leadership presence.

Tiffany Pillars, Director of Accounting at Providence Federal Credit Union in Milwaukie, Ore., shared how the program helped her get beyond her personal barriers. She graduated from the program in 2014.

“I was my own worst enemy; I chose not to speak up when I should have – mostly out of fear of being wrong or seeming too pushy,” said Pillars. “Emerging Leaders gave me the confidence to establish my presence and provide my feedback or opinions because they matter.”

By prioritizing the development of an organization’s mid-level talent, Emerging Leaders helps professionals understand their organization’s strategies and apply a strategic plan to each project. As this becomes a standard operating practice, mid-level leaders can then more effectively challenge, refine, evolve, and develop the strategies their credit union will adopt in the future.

“We need to equip tomorrow’s executives with the ability to implement a strategic vision without being provided all the answers,” said Peter Myers, Senior Vice President, DDJ Myers. “Managing uncertainty and taking effective action is a skill that can be taught. That’s what we teach, practice, and enact in the Emerging Leaders Program.”

Many of the program’s participants advance in their careers after graduating. Randazzo was promoted to the Community Branch Manager position, and Pillars was promoted to Director of Accounting role soon after completing the program. Pillars also went on to win the 2018 Young Credit Union Leader award at this year’s MAXX Convention.

“If you’re looking for the next level, don’t miss this opportunity to create a better version of yourself,” said Randazzo. “This is not just a leadership class – it’s a full-on experience.”

For Miller, the program was life changing. “I did the deep work, and I made sure to stay committed from start to finish. The more that you invest in the program, the more you will take away and you will not regret the time.”

To learn more about the program and how it can advance your credit union career, register for an informational webinar, Developing Mid-Level Leaders, scheduled from 10 to 11 a.m. on Dec. 10.

For information or to register for the 2019 Emerging Leaders Program, please visit the program page.

Posted in Emerging Leaders.