YP Boot Camp #2 for 2013 is in the books! More than 75 credit union young professionals from 29 credit unions joined us in Wausau on August 7th. Read below for a rundown of the day’s happenings and some of the feedback/reflections after the event.
We kicked off the day by inviting first-time YP attendees to join me for an intro session on the credit union system. After that, the group split up and attended two breakouts:
Breakout #1 was led by Connexus CU YPs Natasha Wallschlaeger, Ashley Weinke, Ryan Kennedy and Amanda Godleske. They shared detail about their staff’s internal YP group and followed that with some great group conversations about YP development at credit unions.
Session #2 was a leadership presentation by Dave Christenson, President/CEO of Connexus CU that revolved around the results of a online assessment test called StrengthsFinder. A few weeks before the Boot Camp, we had attendees take the StrengthsFinder test to provide insight into their personal-character attributes. Codes were sponsored by Connexus and the YP Network for all participants and Dave’s session delved into how YPs could interpret and use the test results to their advantage.
Pat Wesenberg (President/CEO of Central City CU and CUNA Board Chair) also joined us and gave us the scoop on the national CU scene, as well as Holly Fearing (Senior Comm Specialist at CUNA Mutual Group) who talked about her experiences being a leader in the Madison cooperative scene and shared examples of what YPs can do on the local level to grow and promote cooperatives.
We ended the afternoon with a CEO panel discussion featuring Liza Edinger (President/CEO, Ripco Credit Union), Kelly Hladovcak (President/CEO, Valley Communities CU), Brian Prunty (CEO, CoVantage CU) and Dave Christenson. Lots of great insights were shared by these local CU leaders and it was interesting to hear their different approaches to management, leadership and what YPs can do to develop their own careers.
As part of the event, the YP Network hosted a raffle to benefit the Wisconsin Credit Union Foundation. We had some awesome prizes thanks to donations from area CUs, including Milwaukee Brewers tickets and an Apple iPad mini and all in all, we raised $730 (!).
After the Boot Camp, several attendees went to the nearby Great Dane Restaurant and Pub in Wausau to wind down and network with our fellow YPs.
After sending out an evaluation form to attendees, here’s a sampling of the feedback we’ve received:
- 92% rated the Wausau YP Boot Camp as an “excellent” or “good” experience.
- 72% of attendees indicated that the Boot Camp “inspired them to learn more about credit unions”.
- 79% indicated that it “grew their interest in developing a career within credit unions.”
- 83% said the Boot Camp experience “made it more likely that I will promote or talk about credit unions in public.”
Sampling of comments:
- “I really enjoyed it. I loved the part about Connexus Credit Union’s internal YP group. I am now trying to implement it at my own credit union.”
- “I thought that the realization that we are part of the cooperative movement along with all other cooperatives was great.”
- “I found the CEO panel to be very motivating and beneficial. I enjoyed hearing what they had to say about their journey to being a CEO and experiences in the credit union.”
The results above hopefully provide compelling reasons for why YP development is a worthwhile investment for credit unions.
Honestly, the “negative” feedback we received about the Boot Camp can be attributed to a lack of time for networking, or that we should have gone more in-depth on certain topics. I’m encouraged by that because (1) we can easily adjust those things to make future Boot Camps more effective and (2) it’s a sign that we’re largely headed in the right direction and developing something that our industry desperately needs — young people who are interested in credit unions.
The credit union industry continues to make great efforts to reach more young adults and help them realize the benefits of CU membership. But if we are going to make young people believers in credit unions, it’s clear that we need to start with the ones that work in our very own branches. Boot Camps and other YP events are helping to do this by developing young employees who believe in what they do, are knowledgeable about the industry and its mission, and most importantly, are willing to talk with others about it (see above).
The topic of leadership is a tricky one to tackle in one day. With Boot Camps, we aim to provide
introductory content and hopefully spark the interest of YPs to learn more on their own and eventually apply that knowledge to benefit their CU.
It’s clear that YPs want to grow their careers and be successful, but many would prefer to do that within an industry they believe in. Credit unions are that industry (if we tell them about it, that is) and it’s our responsibility as CU leaders to reinforce that when we have the chance and keep good people within our ranks. I know that we’re lucky to have so many CU leaders in Wisconsin who support YP development and allow their young employees to hang out with us.
So with all of that said, we look forward to hosting more Boot Camps and seeing familiar faces, along with some new ones too. Our next Boot Camp is slated for October 8 in La Crosse. Registration will be coming soon, make sure you’re signed up for the YP Network to find out first!
BIG THANKS TO…
All of our presenters who took the time to travel and hang out with us in Wausau.
Connexus CU staff for coordinating the meeting space, helping to prepare details, sponsoring the StrengthFinder codes and books and present!
Our raffle sponsors: CoVantage CU, Cloverbelt CU, Marathon County Employees CU, Park City CU, Best Advantage CU, Ripco CU, Valley Communities CU and the Wisconsin Valley Chapter of CUs.
The members of the YP Network Advisory Board and area YPs who helped to secure donations from area CUs.