Membership

New Credit Union Network Creates Pathways for Young Professionals

By / Sep 21, 2017 (Yuri_Arcurs/DigitalVision/Getty Images Plus)

The Northwest Credit Union Association’s Northwest Young Professionals Network gives these individuals opportunities to lead the credit union industry into the future.

Working with young professionals’ organizations in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, the Northwest Credit Union Association recently launched its Northwest Young Professionals Network.

Set to debut at NWCUA’s 2017 MAXX Annual Convention next month, the region-wide network gives young professionals the opportunity and tools necessary to advance themselves and the credit union industry.

“At its core, it’s about creating a good future,” said Denise Gabel, NWCUA’s chief operating officer. “It’s about the people and the possibilities.”

NWCUA has set up an online community with resources ranging from career training to mentorship opportunities. Eighteen “YP Leads” are at the helm of this initiative, helping connect colleagues to new learning opportunities, and Gabel said they will be actively engaged in NWCUA’s policy and advocacy work.

“They are not going to sit on the sidelines. We’re going to involve them in as many opportunities to grow as we possibly can,” she said. “We want them around the table to increase the diversity.”

In recruiting these YP Leads, NWCUA held a competition and received more than 30 applications for its 18 available seats. When it came to the selection process, however, NWCUA decided to reach out to other young leaders in the region to serve as judges.

Gabel said NWCUA has already received feedback from the YP Leads, who are excited about the opportunity to connect with like-minded colleagues and expand their industry knowledge. Most of all, she said, “they are excited to do something.” She added that while many young professionals are enthusiastic about getting involved, they can become discouraged when the professional pathways are closed.

“When you create an intentional pathway and it makes people feel welcomed, they will perform,” Gabel said. “I think that’s the beauty of the network that our team has created.”

The goal is to help these young professionals build impactful, long-term careers, and Gabel said NWCUA hopes to one day see them in executive positions. “We want them to continue to have passion for this industry and be able to attract additional talent,” she said. “We want them to be good representatives and ambassadors for credit unions in general.”

Right now, the YP Leads are in the process of meeting one another and learning more about the expectations set forth before them. In the coming year, they will be asked to step into leadership roles, as NWCUA closely follows their progress.

“We want to track their career success,” Gabel said. “We want to track the ideas that they are embedding and bringing in for others.”

Thorne McFarlane

Thorne is an assistant editor for Associations Now and a literature buff who loves a great story. Have something interesting to share? Send it his way. More »

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