This has been a strange year to be a part of the workforce. Those who are fortunate enough to still be employed have either been thrown into the weird and isolating world of remote work, or returned onsite to the workplace under a new set of rules like mask-wearing, social distancing and sanitation protocols. Even those of us who have always worked from home (like the CU Times staff) have faced challenges, like the cancellation of in-person meetings and events – which we previously considered key elements of professional relationship building.

With so many disruptions throwing off the work routines we envisioned for ourselves this year, it’s easy to toss aside some of the goals we would have worked toward had 2020 not been so, uh, 2020 – like advancing in our careers.

From a business and productivity perspective, credit unions have done well amid the current crisis, thriving in areas like mortgage lending and stepping up to help struggling families and businesses. But a gap that is persisting in the lives of credit union industry professionals is the time spent networking with others in a way that is familiar and traditionally leads to new contacts and opportunities – those impromptu conversations that happen in office break rooms, in conference center hallways and at after-work happy hours.

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Natasha Chilingerian

Natasha Chilingerian has worked in the credit union space for over a decade. She joined CU Times as managing editor in 2015 and was promoted to executive editor in 2019. Before that, she served as a communications specialist for Xceed Financial Credit Union (now Kinecta Federal Credit Union) in Los Angeles from 2013-2015, and as a CU Times freelancer from 2011-2013. She has been a professional writer and editor for more than 17 years, specializing in news and lifestyle journalism as well as marketing copywriting for companies in the finance and technology space.

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