The 2019 YP Leads Cohort Brings Collaborative Spirit to MAXX


The 2019 YP Leads pose together for a photo at MAXX 2019 in Spokane.

MAXX 2019 surpassed the expectations of many Young Professional Leads this year with a jam-packed program of events and activities designed to take their credit union careers to the next level.

“MAXX blew my expectations out of the water,” said Daphne Girard, Business Development Officer at iQ Credit Union. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I am extremely grateful I was a part of it. The friendships and the confidence I built in such a short time was unbelievable.”

The YP Leads program, now entering its third year, was born out of the collaboration of local Young Professional groups, including YCUP Oregon & SW Washington, Climb Idaho, YCUP Greater Seattle Area, and Inland Northwest YCUP. This year, the cooperation grew even more thanks to a partnership with the Emerging Credit Union Leaders of Alaska (ECULA).

In addition to attending the general and breakout sessions, the YP Leads cohort had a MAXX agenda tailored just for them. They volunteered at the Northwest Credit Union Foundation’s Donor Appreciation Breakfast and the Credit Union Legislative Action Council fundraising booth, and assisted throughout the night during the Credit Unions for Kids Masquerade Auction, breaking records raising nearly $872,000.

The professional connections that are developed at MAXX are always special, and this year was no exception.

“My absolute favorite thing was mingling,” said Blaire Terry, Member Service Specialist at Clarity Credit Union. “Mingling with people who have vastly different credit union experiences to me was a great learning opportunity.”

On Tuesday evening, the group ventured out to a networking event with board members from two local Micro-Communities – Inland Northwest YCUP and the North Idaho Chapter of Credit Unions. The event provided an opportunity for all involved to share ideas and best practices around building engagement with grassroots initiatives. Linda Crane, President of Inland Northwest, was in attendance. Crane formed the group as part of her commitment to advancing the young professional community. 

To further enhance the MAXX experience, YP Leads got behind-the-scenes access to several key speakers, including Dr. Mary Kelly, economist and leadership keynoter, Shahar Ziv, Senior Director of Global Strategy at PayPal, and Scott Butterfield, credit union industry thought leader and Principal of Your Credit Union Partner. These networking opportunities offered the YP Leads with a chance to gain deeper insights that will be valuable as they continue in their careers.

“Everyone in the YP group is highly motivated to make a difference in their respective careers and organizations,” said Shawn Ohki, Consumer Loan Underwriter at Unitus Community Credit Union. “I am excited to return to my credit union to share what I had learned and help motivate my colleagues to look into MAXX and the other powerful opportunities the Northwest Credit Union Association provides.”

Reinforcing just how much YP Leads go on to contribute to the Credit Union Movement, Mary Vasquez, Community Advocate with Point West Credit Union and a 2017 YP Lead, was recognized at MAXX for her outstanding dedication to members, receiving the 2019 Young Credit Union Leader Award.

Vasquez has focused her career on reaching out to members of all backgrounds and cultures and helped her credit union obtain its Juntos Avanzamos designation, making it the second credit union to receive the designation in the Northwest. She also committed hundreds of hours of service to more than 30 community organizations.

The YP Leads cohort of 2019 will return to their credit unions with a renewed sense of energy for the Credit Union Movement. As part of the program, they are expected to take an active role in engaging with their local Chapter or YP group, participate in advocacy trainings or events, and serve as ambassadors for the broader Young Professionals Network in the year ahead.

“The enthusiasm for credit union advocacy that I was exposed to at MAXX was incredibly motivating and sparked great interest within me to get more involved,” said Brandon Rolfe, E-Branch Specialist at East Idaho Credit Union. “I am eager to bring this motivation and energy back to my credit union.”

Editor’s Note: For more information about the Northwest Young Professionals Network, please visit their site or reach out to Carmen Vigil, Director, Cooperative Momentum, at 206-340-4817. Young professionals also are encouraged to check out the opportunity to be part of Crash the GAC, the Credit Union National Association’s Governmental Affairs Conference. Applications are due Nov. 30. CUNA GAC takes place in Washington, D.C., from Feb. 23 to 27.

Posted in Micro-Communities, Professional Development.