“Crashers” Wanted for 2019 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference

Symantha Sermino with Jim Nussle, Credit Union National Association President and CEO, at 2018 Crash the GAC in Washington, D.C.


Calling all Northwest young credit union professionals: your advocacy engagement is needed!

For young professionals interested in furthering their advocacy experience, the 2019 Crash the GAC in Washington, D.C. is an event not to be missed.

The CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference is the premier event for political impact in the credit union industry. Through the Crash the GAC program, young credit union professionals are selected to attend the conference at a lower cost and enjoy additional content for their specific demographic.

For 2019, The Cooperative Trust, CUNA, the Northwest Credit Union Association, and state leagues across the nation are collaborating to send one crasher per state to the event from March 10 to 14.

The Crash the GAC application deadline is Nov. 30. 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.

Three GAC attendees

Sermino with fellow 2018 Crashers Rebekah Schroeter, center, and Sam Jensen.

For Allison Hericks, Paid Media Manager at Washington’s BECU, participating in the 2018 Crash the GAC event provided some highly memorable experiences.

“Hiking the Hill was one of the most amazing experiences of my career,” said Hericks. “We listened to our Congressional Representatives Denny Heck and Rick Larsen speak, and watched credit union employees from all over Washington state discuss common sense credit union industry regulation with Washington Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell. We basically got a front-row seat to politics in action.”

The event draws an audience of credit union presidents, board members, executives, governmental affairs specialists, and others wanting to go deeper into the world of credit union advocacy, including GAC “Crashers” like Hericks.

Crashers get 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 his or her credit union. NWCUA Grassroots Involvement grants also are available to help cover expenses.

Nick Fugal, Chief Financial Officer at Idaho’s Clarity Credit Union, had an experience similar to Hericks’. He left the 2014 Crash the GAC inspired to the point that he wanted to make sure other young professionals learned about the Credit Union Movement.

“It changed my perspective on what credit unions do and how great they are for the people in their community,” said Fugal. “Ultimately, that experience led to the formation of CLIMB Idaho, a young professionals organization designed to promote credit unions among the young professionals in Idaho.”

For Symantha Sermino, MBS Program Coordinator at Oregon-based Northwest Community Credit Union, crashing the 2018 GAC gave her a foundation for professional development.

“It was all about connections,” said Sermino. “I connected with industry leaders. I connected with fellow credit union professionals. I learned how to form a relationship with my congressmen. I completely conquered anxieties I’d previously had about my ability to take the lead on advocacy.”

If you would like more information about the 2019 Crash the GAC or Grassroots Involvement grants, contact NWCUA’s Grassroots Advocacy Manager Gretchan Blum at gblum@nwcua.org.

Posted in Advocacy News.