NWCUA’s YP Leads Program Prepares Young Credit Union Professionals for the Future

Three YP Leads share stories of personal and professional growth.

5/28/2019

Preparing the next generation of credit union leaders ensures that the Credit Union Movement will both thrive and evolve to embrace the future. The Northwest Credit Union Association is helping to cultivate  tomorrow’s leaders through the YP Leads Program, which offers professional development and strategic networking opportunities for young credit union professionals.

All YP Leads receive a “full ride” to MAXX 2019, the NWCUA’s annual convention, scheduled for Oct. 15-17 in Spokane. Eighteen young professionals from Idaho, Oregon, and Washington will be selected to attend the convention sessions and fully participate in the event activities, as well as work behind the scenes.

JT Rogers

Young Professional and Rogue Credit Union Business Systems Analyst 1, JT Rogers.

It’s not uncommon for program participants to become inspired to take on leadership roles in their local YP Group or Credit Union Chapter, or advance their careers by way of a promotion or through other avenues at their credit union. This was the case for 2018 YP Lead and Rogue Credit Union Business Systems Analyst, JT Rogers. He was voted into a high-profile role for the Southern Oregon Chapter of Credit Unions after becoming a YP Lead.

“I continued my participation in our Young Credit Union Professionals group and was voted onto the Southern Oregon Chapter of Credit Unions as the Policy Advocate,” said Rogers. “I worked with a colleague and fellow YP Lead to merge the operations of the YCUP within the chapter as a subcommittee.”

Rogers’ efforts did not go unnoticed.

“I was able to make a positive impression on high-level managers by my participation in the group, which contributed to my promotion to Rogue Credit Union’s first ever Business Systems Analyst!” said Rogers. “I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to participate in the YP Lead program.”

Isabel  Lara

Young Professional and OnPoint Community Credit Union Member Services Representative, Isabel Lara.

Another 2018 YP Lead and OnPoint Community Credit Union Member Service Representative, Isabel Lara, was excited to make a difference through the program.

“When I first applied for the YP Lead Program, I had little idea of what I was getting myself into,” said Lara. “But I had the support of my managers and that little push was all I needed to try. Once I got started in the process it was very exciting.’’

As a YP Lead, Lara attended the MAXX convention and left filled with ideas and inspiration she was eager and excited to share.

“The MAXX event was awesome and so informative,” said Lara. “It was filled with like-minded people, and it was very inspiring. I couldn’t wait to come back and share with everyone at my credit union.”

Throughout the program, Lara made connections and reaffirmed her role in the Movement.

“You get to meet other people that you really relate to, and you hear so many amazing stories that others bring from their credit unions — it reminds you of why you are [in the movement],” said Lara. “After MAXX, I got involved with a chapter and serve on the Board of Directors for the Cascadia chapter in Portland.”

Toni Matthews, Vice President of Operations at Trailhead Credit Union, used her time as a 2017 YP Lead to focus on networking and broadening her credit union connections. After attending MAXX, she felt compelled to do more.

Toni Matthews

Young Professional and Trailhead Credit Union Vice President of Operations, Toni Matthews.

“The remarkable collection of speakers, compelling energy, and connection with other credit union professionals I felt at MAXX made me more proactive in my professional development,” said Matthews.

Her interactions with fellow YP Leads helped her define her ambitions and career goals, setting the stage for her next steps.

“After I became a YP Lead, I sought out and became a part of our local Young Credit Union Professionals board,” said Matthews. “I became a co-leader for the Portland/Vancouver Sister Society under the Global Women’s Leadership Network.”

Matthews also credited her time as a YP Lead for helping her shape her professional life and offered the following recommendations:

“Network as often as possible; speak up, especially if it is out of your comfort zone; ask questions; and especially as a woman, strive to be more assertive and self-promoting,” said Matthews.

The contest to become a YP Lead for 2019 opens on June 1. If you have questions about the 2019 YP Leads Program or would like more information, contact Carmen Vigil.

Two YP Leads will be accepted from Alaska, through a partnership with the Emerging Credit Union Leaders of Alaska group. The YP Leads Program also offers opportunities for networking and mentoring throughout the year to help young credit union professionals define or refine their career paths.