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Metaphorically speaking, Cooperative Trust Manager James Marshall’s career hasn’t been about filling his own cabinet with trophies. Rather, it’s been about helping young, aspiring credit union executives fill theirs.

In just two years, the latest Trailblazer 40 Below has grown the Cooperative Trust to 1,200 members, expanding its reach throughout all 50 states, while leading Crash events, youth workshops and publishing research papers for the Filene Research Institute, all aimed at attracting young adults to credit unions.

The Crash events have evolved since a group of 20 young credit union professionals participated in the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington in 2010. Not only have the Crash events expanded beyond GAC to include state league, CUNA Council and World Council of Credit Union conferences, but the number of participants (called “crashers”) who become exposed to people and ideas they may have never encountered otherwise has grown as well. Anyone who thinks crashers only turn up at events to drink and eat should forget that idea, Marshall noted – all participants attend exclusive sessions and workshops before and after daily regular conference sessions.

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