The Crash Network continues to grow as young professionals gear up to crash the 2011 Missouri and Oklahoma leagues’ Convention & Exposition.
Launched a little over two years ago, the Crash Network is a grassroots organization of over 100 young credit union professionals catalyzing the industry through meet ups, mentorships, online collaboration and development projects.
In fact, Crash Missouri has been the realization of Mazuma Credit Union Chief Financial Officer Brandon Michaels’ service project, developed when he was chosen as one of the 15 to crash the 2011 GAC.
“There’s not an opportunity here for young professionals to get together and network and at the end of every crash every crasher is tasked with completing a project.
Laura Eblen, a branch manager at Central Missouri Community CU, who crashed The One conference in Las Vegas and I had similar ideas about bringing the Crash Network to a local level,” said Michaels. “We met at Starbucks, discussed how we could breed that excitement internally among our own local credit unions and hashed out an agenda and website.”
Crash Missouri, slated to run Sept. 20-22 in Branson, Mo., has kicked off a search for 10 young credit union professionals across Missouri and Oklahoma to attend the annual convention of the Missouri Credit Union Association and Credit Union Association of Oklahoma.
With an eye on providing young professionals age 35 and under access to the conference’s networking and growth opportunities, Michaels said the agenda will revolve around fostering innovation and how to make it to the C-suite.
“We’re excited about the speakers, who include CUNA economist Mike Schenk and Matt Davis from the Filene Research Institute,” said Michaels. “We’ll also have discussions with a few CEOs, discussing what it takes to be a CEO and how we can move the industry forward.”
In keeping with crash tradition, after the conference crashers will be responsible for following through on their plans, whether it’s making a presentation to their senior management and board or organizing a meet-up. Applications will be accepted through Aug. 26 at http://mo.crash.coop/apply-now/
According to Michaels, given the state of the economy and growing legislation, the timing for a local grassroots young professional network has never been better.
“Through regulation and legislation, we’re slowly losing our competitive advantage and that has to be fixed and the gap between banks and credit unions shrinks,” said Michaels. “If we don’t change we’re going to die. The fundamental fact is the world today is vastly different than what we were back in the ’50s and ’60s, and we have to be able to appeal to the new generations of people coming into the workforce.”
In addition to the rethinking and reframing of the credit union business model, which has for the most part been the same since its inception, he suggested that one challenge credit unions may eventually have to consider addressing could even be the inclusion of the words credit union in their name.
“Think of the millions of dollars spent on just explaining what a credit union is,” said Michaels. “The words themselves create conflict and confusion–people associate debt with the term credit and the word union builds an instant barrier as people think it’s only available to union members. It’s worth exploring if that time, effort and money could be put to better use?”