“CUaware Podcast” hosts Paul Narcisse and Phil Kadzielawski have returned with a new episode for April that takes listeners back to CUaware’s roots as they interview the council’s co-founders Brandon McAdams and Patrick Livingston of Coastal Credit Union. The podcast episode also includes a segment on the rise of blockchain technology and the premiere of “Real Talk with Dr. Troy” led by SC Federal Credit Union COO Troy Hall.
McAdams and Livingston, tasked with a follow-up project as part of the CUDE certification program, started CUaware back in 2011 with a simple premise to fill a gap that exists within the credit union industry: staff often not knowing what makes credit unions and cooperatives unique and special. So, they started to host afterhours meetups to bring credit union professionals in the Triangle together for networking and knowledge exchange.
|Coastal Credit Union's Patrick Livingston (left) and Brandon McAdams (right) were honored with the 2014 Cooperative Spirit Award by the National Credit Union Foundation for creating CUaware. Photo credit: Coastal CU
“We reached out to folks that were DE graduates in the area as well as people that we worked with and brought them in and said, ‘hey, we’re going to be at a local watering hole after work, just come and talk,” recalled McAdams.
“We also started off with buy-in from folks,” Livingston added. “Working with our management team and other credit unions’ management teams, and saying, ‘this is something that you want to participate in.’ So, it became an opportunity for real networking to happen.”
Later in the interview McAdams reflected on the growth of the CUaware Council, remarking on how they quickly realized this program had great potential to expand and make even more of an impact on the lives of professionals in the Carolinas and beyond.
“Once we realized that people were coming back and people in other areas wanted something similar, we realized that…the two of our efforts weren’t enough to keep up with demand," said McAdams. "We needed some funding, to expand out and we looked at each other realizing, this was that next step. Now, we have the League involved, CEOs coming and we have a lot of people’s attention and we don’t want to mess up."
CUaware today has five active regional councils in both states, hosting events throughout the year focused on four central themes: education, volunteerism, protégé, and advocacy. The League’s existing Protégé Competition was also added to the CUaware “family” in 2014 and has since expanded, adding a Protégé Mentor program for sustained career development for CU professionals of all ages.
Kadzielawski and Narcisse are both past participants in the Protégé programs, and have shared in a past episode the impact these CUaware programs have had on their own careers and lives.
For McAdams and Livingston, CUaware was among their first experiences serving in a strong leadership role at a time when their careers were just beginning. And from then to now, they carry the lessons of that experience into their roles at the credit union today.
“In my role at the time, I was not managing anybody or had a marketing background,” McAdams continued. “CUaware was an opportunity for me to lead and show a different skill set. It’s not just a networking opportunity.”
“It’s allowed me to explore creativity [at my job] in way that’s better than what it would have been without the experience of going through that,” Livingston added.
Listen to the full interview and more on CUaware’s podcast page or access the podcast on iTunes here. Lastly, if you have a podcast topic or suggestion, please contact Paul, Phil or Jeff Hardin using the email links on the podcast page.