In 2014, Corey Pace was taking a step back. The career development team lead in the learning center at South Carolina Federal CU had a young family and had gone to part time status in order to balance her home-work life.
Having heard about the CUaware Protégé Competition the past couple of years, she recalled thinking it would be fun but not a good fit given the stage of life she was in. That's when she got a helpful nudge from Nicole Miller, her supervisor. "I think you would be great at it," Pace remembers Miller telling her.
Armed with this encouragement and a willingness to accept a career opportunity despite limited time, Pace entered the competition and went on to win the Lowcountry Chapter Competition. She would go on to place second runner-up in the 2014 CUaware Protégé Finals Competition.
Pace shared her journey with CUaware Podcast hosts Phil Kadzielawski and Sara Portis in the latest installment of the Protégé and Beyond series. The series shares the experiences of past CUaware Protégé Competition finalists in order to encourage participation in the program and offer insights on how to successfully navigate the competition process.
Looking back on that decision to compete, Pace is glad she stretched herself. "If it scares you a little bit, it's probably worth doing," Pace offered. "It was tough with three little kids and everything to decide to take this on, but I am so that glad I did."
In exchange for the time and energy devoted to the chapter and finals events, Pace notes that the payoff came in the credit union world that opened up for her. She engaged with the CUaware Protégé Mentor program, first as a mentee and in 2018 as a mentor.
As the 2014 second runner-up, Pace had the opportunity to attend the Principles and Philosophy Conference on scholarship. She also got involved with the Lowcountry Chapter and would eventually be elected to its board.
Pace notes that the competition widened her perspective and appreciation for the credit union movement and helped her to grow personally and professionally. "It stretched me, it pushed me and it really opened up some doors that might not have been there if I had not taken the leap," Pace says.
While encouraging young professionals to make a similar leap by embracing the opportunities available to them, it's likewise important for leaders to take responsibility in the process. "As leaders in the movement, we have to start to open up a conversation," Pace shared. She believes that by offering a helpful mentoring role in the lives of young professionals, they can receive helpful feedback that will encourage their participation in growth and career development opportunities like the CUaware Protégé Competition.
Special Thanks to our Featured Protégé!
Corey Pace is the career development team lead for South Carolina Federal Credit Union. With over ten years of experience in talent acquisition and career development, Corey specializes in connecting employees to the resources they need to make their career aspirations a reality, and developing talent into dynamic leaders of the credit union industry.
Corey oversees employee career coaching and development, South Carolina Federal's High Potential Employee and Successor programs, and is certified in facilitation for the Integrity Coaching program. She believes happy, fulfilled, employees who are using their talents are better able to exceed their member's expectations.
Corey is a past participant of the CUaware Protégé competition, the CUaware Mentor program as both a protégé and a mentor, and is serving as vice president of the Lowcountry Chapter of Credit Unions.