Principle Five: Education, training, and information. Credit unions provide education to their employees, members and the communities they serve.
Principle Six: Cooperation among cooperatives. Credit unions work together to improve services to members and build sustainable communities.
In 2014, six chapter level winners participated in the CUaware Protégé Competition. From the written tests and public speaking engagements at the chapter level, to the finals at the Leadership Conference, each contestant described the CUaware Protégé Competition as quite a learning experience. That learning experience has continued into 2015, as five of the six chapter winners have been paired with a credit union mentor.
The CUaware Protégé Mentor program strives to provide young leaders exchange of knowledge and passion for the culture of credit unions. The program allows for a cross-cultural impact, encouraging the acceptance of new ideas, personal growth, and development opportunities.
Current leaders who serve as mentors also benefit by actively working to extend the credit union movement
into the future.Now in its first year, the CUaware Protégé Mentor program was developed by Troy Hall (SC FCU) and Will Crosswell (Palmetto First FCU). Crosswell won the Palmetto Protégé Competition in 2013, while Hall is passionate about professional development opportunities for the emerging crop of credit union leaders.
|SC Federal COO Troy Hall
developed the CUaware Mentor
program in partnership with Will
Crosswell of Palmetto First FCU.
“Emergent leaders need one-on-one opportunities to identify, challenge and adopt the beliefs and values of strong leadership models to prepare for their future endeavors," shared Hall, SC Federal's COO. "The CUaware Mentor program offers that type of connection and ensures there exists a succession of leaders within the credit union movement ready to step in at any time.”
The program itself is designed to be flexible in order to allow the Protégés an opportunity to concentrate on their individual goals and career focus areas. For Tarheel Chapter Protégé Jennifer Moore, whose career goal is to be a chief operations officer, that flexibility has allowed for organic growth in her relationship with mentor Arlene Babwah (Coastal FCU).
"She is focused on providing me with the information, tools and opportunities I need to be successful in furthering my career in the industry," said Moore of Babwah. "Arlene is a leader; she is very open-minded, inspiring and encouraging. She defines what a true mentor is and I am looking forward to developing our relationship for years to come."
For Northwest Chapter Protégé Jon Hamby, the focus has been on reaching shorter term goals. Mark Curran (Lion's Share FCU CEO), who serves as Hamby's mentor, encouraged him to enroll in CUNA's Financial Counselor Certification program. Hamby is well on his way to earning the designation. Along the way, he has become a strong advocate for the Protégé program at Members Credit Union, and is working with the senior management team to design an internal Protégé competition at the credit union.
|Lion's Share FCU President/CEO
Mark Curran is one of the five
CU veterans serving as
"I see so much of myself in him," Curran says of Hamby. "I am continually reminded of when I was new to credit unions. I wanted to learn as much as I could and I needed encouragement all along the way. I have encouraged Jon to take advantage of every networking event he can and to read multiple industry publications and news feeds. We get together for lunch about once a month. In addition, we exchange e-mails and phone calls periodically as specific issues and questions arise."
As the 2015 CUaware Protégé Competition gets underway next month, the mentor program will be continued as a benefit for all the chapter level winners. "We will be looking for ways to expand the mentor program beyond CUaware later this year," shared Jeff Hardin, CCUL's director of cooperative initiatives. "Its powerful when experienced leaders at credit unions can give of their time and talents to inspire the next generation of credit union leadership, and leave an imprint on our movement."