New YP Leads Legacy Group Leverages the Power of Connection to Make a Difference

Nelea Lem had been in the credit union industry for 14 years when she applied to join NWCUA’s YP Leads program last fall.

She and nine other Young Professionals earned free registration to the Association’s 2021 MAXX Convention and Trade Show in Boise, Idaho, where they became strong ambassadors for the Credit Union Movement. For three days, the cohort networked with their peers from across the Northwest, heard from inspiring speakers, attended thought-provoking breakout sessions, learned about the power of advocacy, and discussed ways to propel the industry forward.

For Lem, who serves as Sales Manager at Vancouver, Washington-based iQ Credit Union, it was an awe-inspiring experience, one that she wanted to keep going well into the future. During a breakout session at MAXX, Lem approached Mark Gonzalez, NWCUA’s Senior Manager of Member Engagement, with an important question: “How do we keep this initiative going?”

After the convention ended, Lem was inspired to share her passion for credit unions with others to make a difference on a deeper level. She and the rest of the 2021 YP Leads met with Gonzalez and others to create a community of like-minded Young Professionals who wanted to deepen their involvement within the Movement. Thus, an alumni group, called YP Leads Legacy, was born.

“It all started with Nelea’s idea. Once MAXX was over, the group met and brainstormed to come up with the name, mission, and purpose, and with a goal to add value to the [YP Leads] program,” said Gonzalez, who manages the YP Leads program at NWCUA.

Lem said the group’s purpose is for fellow YP Leads to network, grow, lead, and inspire one another as well as to encourage involvement with local Young Professionals groups, credit union chapters, or other Micro-Communities across the Northwest. The group also hopes to encourage, mentor, and build relationships with future YP Leads.

“I didn’t want to lose all the goodness that we experienced at MAXX 2021. There are probably 50 or 60 previous YP Leads to form a group, to pick their brains. We can open up that channel to ask questions like ‘What is your credit union doing to inspire staff?’ and ‘What are you doing with retention?’ I wanted to keep the passion for credit unions going,” said Lem.

According to Lem, the group is enthusiastic about advancing the Credit Union Movement and doing all it can to shine a light on all the good work credit unions do each day.

“We received all this great information at MAXX and it’s really about what we do with it when we get back that matters. Advocacy is a vibe, and sharing that goodness is so huge. We’re hoping to make a difference,” she said.

The YP Leads Legacy group’s first virtual meeting kicks off March 15, with a presentation from Nick Fugal, CFO at Clarity Credit Union, on advocacy. Lem has sent all former YP Leads invitations and received more than 30 acceptances. She said all are welcome to attend.

“If you are curious about credit unions, the future is ours. This is a great opportunity to jump in. You’ll get hooked on the credit union glitter.”

Read more about the 2021 YP Leads and what they’ve been up to over the past several months here.

Posted in Micro-Communities, Professional Development.