Where Are They Now? Young Professionals Reflect on Their Credit Union Careers


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

The Northwest Credit Union Association’s YP Leads Program offers young credit union professionals valuable networking and professional development opportunities year-round and at the MAXX Annual Convention. At MAXX, YP Leads are empowered to become catalysts in furthering the Credit Union Movement and often go on to play a key role in championing advocacy efforts within their own credit unions and communities for years afterward.

The YP Leads program, now in its fourth year, will begin accepting 2020 applications this spring. Look for more updates soon. YP Leads receive complimentary registration and need-based scholarships for MAXX, where they attend general and breakout sessions, assist with special events, serve as ambassadors for the Credit Union Movement, and more. Young professionals who attend MAXX as YP Leads return to their credit unions armed with fresh perspectives, vast industry knowledge, and wide-reaching connections that they use to positively influence the culture.

Anthem recently caught up with past YP Leads to find out how the experience has propelled their careers. Sarah Buck, a Member Experience Manager for Cutting Edge Federal Credit Union in Milwaukie, Oregon, says the value the program brought to her is immeasurable.

“From the connections to the experiences and more, the YP Leads Program has opened many doors for me that I didn’t think were possible,” said Buck. “Before I was chosen as a YP Lead in 2017, I only really knew people from my credit union at the time, and didn’t fully understand the power and the magnitude of the Credit Union Movement.”

In the two years since Buck participated in the YP Leads Program, she has seen incredible growth in both her career and her advocacy efforts at large, including becoming the President of the Cascadia Chapter of Credit Unions.

“I am so proud to lead and serve alongside my fellow board members and work together toward a shared goal of bringing fellow passionate credit union champions together for leadership, education, advocacy, and philanthropic opportunities.”

The YP Leads Program inspires young professionals to seek out valuable growth opportunities. Though she participated in the program only a few months ago in 2019, Jade Commack, Assistant Branch Manager at Tongass Federal Credit Union in Ketchikan, Alaska, has already used what she learned at MAXX to advance her career.

“Since becoming a YP Lead, I have been promoted to Assistant Branch Manager and have done four financial literacy outreach sessions,” said Commack. “At the conference, I learned that my passion for credit unions, especially my credit union, will allow me to make a difference and that it’s not all about my title. I learned how valuable a network is to learn and grow. Lastly, I learned how important it is for me to tell TFCU’s story. My belief that dignity, integrity, and attitude will take me a long way in my career was solidified by my experience in the YP Lead Program.”

YP Leads bring valuable expertise and leadership to their teams, drawing on their expanded networks to bring innovative ideas and solutions to their credit unions.

“The YP Leads have influenced other employees to be proactive in obtaining knowledge regarding the Credit Union Movement and leadership skills,” says Karen Zerger, Chief Administration Officer at Rogue Credit Union, based in Medford, Oregon. “The value return for employees from attending various events has assisted in propelling Rogue Credit Union forward by providing relevant knowledge and creating relationships with other young professionals within the industry.”

Want more inspiration? Read more stories from YP Champions online or find YP Groups near you to get involved.  

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. 

Posted in Professional Development.