Respectfully Disruptive: An Idahoan Helps Crash the GAC
Waking up on Friday, Feb. 24, 2014, I can feel my body crying out for rest. Instead of the usual eight hours of sleep, I have slept an average of about 3.5 hours a night over the past five. Though the discomfort that sleeplessness brings is agonizing, I find myself wishing I didn't sleep at all. This uncommon reaction is due entirely to a group of 45 young professionals known as the 2014 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference Crashers. I had the privilege and honor to be selected as a Crasher for the 2014 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference.
The 2014 Crashers were selected by The Cooperative Trust to participate in a specialized agenda in conjunction with the 2014 CUNA GAC. We represented 43 different states and Washington, D.C. On paper, the purpose of the program is to engage young professionals in the GAC and empower them to participate in political action for the defense of credit unions and their members. As a participant, you quickly realize that there is much more to the program than could ever be described on a piece of paper.
Although I could describe the program in detail with a complete outline of the events, I don't believe it would give justice to what participating in the 2014 Crashers group meant to me. Despite the fact that the agenda was full, informative, and packed with many energetic and intelligent speakers, it was the people involved that made the experience incomparable to any other credit union conference or program I have ever attended.
Never have I met a group of people with more intelligence, passion and enthusiasm. It permeated the meeting rooms, event centers and Thunder Punch venue attended by the 2014 Crashers. As I spoke to these great people, I quickly realized that I was conversing with the future of the credit union movement. The ideas, stories, innovation and love for credit unions found within each individual Crasher was awe-inspiring and created an environment within the group of desire, empowerment and charity towards each of our credit unions and their members. As we progressed through the program, this excitement increased exponentially and amplified our unified mission to share the message that credit unions are the best financial option for consumers.
Not only did the event strengthen my conviction of credit unions and their mission; but also, it empowered me to increase credit union awareness and support within my own community. I plan to take what I learned from the other Crashers and use it to form a young professionals group for Idaho credit union employees under the age of 35. I envision this group participating in events such as our local GAC conference, the Idaho Credit Union League annual meeting, CULAC fundraising, community service, monthly and quarterly meetings, and other events as decided by the group. Participation will enable these young professionals to accelerate the credit union movement in Idaho as well as receive the experience necessary to become future leaders in our industry
The experience I had with the 2014 Crashers is one that I will never forget. The friendships and network I have built because of my participation in this event will prove to benefit me, my credit union, my league, and credit unions across the nation. I am humbled and honored to have been counted as one of the 45 Crashers in 2014.
Nick Fugal is chief financial officer at Idadiv Credit Union in Nampa, Idaho. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (208) 318-0437.