Wisconsin’s own Mitchell Michiels (Best Advantage CU) and Danielle Frawley (Fort Community CU) – along with 17 other CU young professionals – were selected from a national pool of applicants to Crash the CUNA Government Affairs Conference in DC in February. The Crash experience included nearly a week’s worth of education, networking and project work that focused on helping credit unions to better serve the needs of small businesses and cooperatives.
Danielle was kind enough to share some thoughts about her experience:
“We stayed in a hostel. We were on the sixth floor and I could have carried on a conversation with someone on the sidewalk without opening the paper thin window. We woke up early to ensure that there was still hot water left in the community shower room. However, even without all of the comforts of home, I was happy that I was staying in a dorm-style room with five of the other “crasher” ladies.
At night we could come back and talk about our projects, share ideas to take back to our own credit unions and form a bond around the craziness of what we were taking part of. You might be wondering what I’m referring to with projects. As part of the crasher group, we were challenged by Brent Dixon and Theresa Hilinski to come up with ideas of ways that credit unions could help small businesses. While everyone else was enjoying their breakfasts, lunches and breaks, we were sitting in Salon F at the Washington Convention Center, learning about design thinking, brainstorming, applying our ideas, breaking them down, and rebuilding them.
In between our project work, we had the opportunity to have different “mentor sessions” with much admired credit union professionals including Bill Cheney. While everyone else saw him speak in a room of 4,200 people, we were in a room of about 20.
Needless to say, it was an incredible experience. However, the most prominent memory I will have from this experience is how often I heard my fellow crashers say things like “Wow-Wisconsin is where it’s at!” or “Everything awesome about credit unions comes from Wisconsin!”. All of this being said while Pat Wesenberg was appointed CUNA Chair and Paul Kundert was appointed Filene Chair. I’ve never felt more proud to be a credit union professional from the cheese-head state.”
CUNA Mutual Group was also on-site and provided some video coverage featuring interviews from Mitch, Danielle and several other Crashers:
James Marshall from the UK was also one of the Crashers – he joined us during some of our Wisconsin hill visits and shared his experience on the CUNAverse blog.
So make sure Crashing the CUNA GAC is on your radar for next year! And don’t forget to check out the Cooperative Trust, who made this Crash experience possible!