CCUL Headlines: Industry Insight

#CrashtheGAC18: education is key to our mission, inspiring future leaders & thinkers, says Teper

Tuesday, March 27, 2018   (1 Comments)
Posted by: Allie Teper, Carolina Foothills FCU
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Enjoy this Crash the GAC series where each of our five crashers from the Carolinas share the highlights from their experiences at CUNA’s 2018 Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC). This week, Carolina Foothills FCU’s Allie Teper focuses on the educational impact of GAC, and how to pass the knowledge on to more future leaders and thinkers in the movement.

Crashers listening to CUbroadcast and a wonderful panel of industry experts bright and early this morning! - @trustdotcoop (Cooperative Trust on Twitter)

Education. Awareness. Inspiration. Growth.

By Allie Teper
Carolina Foothills FCU Card Services Specialist

If these words don’t sound related to you… please, keep reading. And if they do sound related, congratulations! But please, keep reading. You’ll enjoy this.

My name is Allie Teper and I just went to #CrashtheGAC18 as a representative for Carolina Foothills FCU (based in South Carolina) and it was an extremely insightful experience. An abundance of knowledge, energy, and passion was in the air. And I was breathing it in!

By nature, I have always loved learning and education. To me, education is all about understanding the foundations of a subject to imagine it, create it, expand it, and most importantly, share it with others. This has always been exciting to me! I love education, and especially CU education and financial literacy (I can hear the #CUNerd comments now). I love it because as we all know, knowledge is power.

In the credit union world, power by definition, is our ability to help people. I find it uncanny how (literally, while writing this) I stumbled upon a quote from Albert Einstein’s book titled, Ideas and Opinions (1954) regarding education: “the aim must be the training of independently acting and thinking individuals who, however, see in the service to the community their highest life problem.” Isn’t this exactly what the CU Movement strives for? I think so. CUNA and the GAC thinks so too and places an importance on financial literacy for all. For both the consumer and the movement alike, financial education provides the freedom and opportunity to grow, the confidence to explore new avenues, and it allows you to “open your eyes!”

Wait - did you see what I did there?! No? Well, if you missed it, “Open Your Eyes” is CUNA’s newest educative campaign to increase awareness for credit unions. Its focus is to educate consumers on who we are and why they should become a member, and it also aims to join all credit unions across the nation under one (strong) voice.

The unveiling of the “Open Your Eyes” initiative was presented to us at the GAC. CUNA even supplied a photo booth for attendees to showcase how they can open their eyes!  I somehow missed that photobooth, though. Maybe I was a little busy chatting up one of the guest speakers, Gian Paul Gonzalez? Either way, it’s a great campaign that strives to bust through the myths around credit unions to educate and inspire Americans to #BankBettertoLiveBetter! CUNA’s creative team knows that without knowledge – without consumers knowing WHO we are and WHY we do WHAT we do, and without us within the movement knowing the same – we’d have nothing, and credit unions would cease to exist. It’s a powerful movement. I invite you to check out their campaign website, (password: openyoureyes) to learn more and get involved.

CUNA also called on its GAC attendees to support education for grade school children in the heart of Washington, D.C. We were asked to donate towards the Biz Kid$ initiative which provides grade school children with financial literacy kits. We provided kits to 20,000 DC school children right on the GAC stage! It shows that the CU Movement cares. It shows that we make a difference. We were also honored to be visited by Moziah Bridges, a young entrepreneur who with the support of Biz Kid$, was able to start his own business, Mo’s Bows. A business that sells bow ties. Credit unions and Biz Kid$ together helped put him on a path of success. His story and accomplishments are validation that education is important, and that it must start with each of us.

From my experiences at GAC, I see now that education is the tool to awaken our mission and inspire both our current and our future leaders and thinkers. Therefore, it is so important that we all do a little research and educate ourselves so we can positively affect the communities and the members we serve daily. And honestly, it’s super easy to do!

How, do you ask? That’s easy. But let me start by asking YOU a question...

Are you a member of the Filene Research Institute?

I hope you and your credit union are. But if you’re not, and especially if you are, please visit as soon as possible. Well, right after I tell you what it is, of course!

This amazing institute gathers the puzzle pieces for us. Filene takes data from all areas of the CU world and puts together awesome “white papers” or reports for us in categories such as (but not limited to) operations, leadership, strategy, products & services, and one of my favorites, young adults. And they’re posted online for all to read! You can view reports and see data on topics ranging from “Credit Union Recruitment in a Competitive Labor Market,” to “funda-MENTAL: The Mind-Money Connection,” all the way to “Mortgages and Credit Union Performance: 1980-2011.” Like, wow!

I’m sure if you’ve been in the industry for more than a day, you’ve heard the term “Credit Union Mecca” (which really is just Wisconsin, where CUNA, Filene, and other institutions reside to make the magic happen), right? Well, the Filene Research Institute website is literally the “Credit Union Mecca” of the internet. This data and research is the butter for our bread. It’s proof of where we have been, where we are, and where we are headed as an industry. It’s proof of what the world needs. It’s knowledge that we can utilize for growth. It’s information that will help us not only keep up with but surpass the disruptors in our society. Education is everything to us – make sure to encourage it!

With that, I want to take this last moment to drive the importance of education for young professionals and ask the decision makers reading this right now for a favor. I ask you to invest in the young professionals within your institution. Guide them, teach them and show them opportunities to grow. Allow them to take part in events such as the CUNA GAC, or the newest conference, the Young Professionals Conference, small events that the League puts on, and any webinars that they can. Actively involve them in your decision-making process. Listen to their thoughts and their perspectives.

As a young professional and “millennial” myself, I know what some of you are thinking… “Change is scary!”, “Growth is hard!” or maybe even, “Young professionals should just follow our instructions!”

One of GAC’s guest speakers, Scott Stratten of UnMarketing, said that “innovation is insubordination - Let these minds innovate!” I think it rings true. It may seem that the YP in your institution is challenging you because they think they can or because they’re nosy (not that I have experience in that area, or anything…) but I promise you - we want to affect change, too.

Current CU leaders at the GAC such as Tansley Stearns, Mollie Bell, and even Lauren Culp all shared the same overall message to us young professionals: work hard, learn hard, pave your way, and don’t back down! Learn to collaborate with your C-suites, learn to create networks and connections, learn more about who we are as an industry, and apply that knowledge to yourself and your communities.

And that’s what we want! We want to help in this mission. We want to grow into your shoes. We want to show we care. So, if you have a YP that seems to always ask why, let them ask. Answer their questions. Be honored and help them. Please. Without that drive, and without that determination from the upcoming generations, the CU Movement could be lost.

Educate. Awaken. Inspire. Grow.

-Allie Teper


Related News

Portis: Don’t let #CrashtheGAC18 be the best experience in your life—it’s just the beginning (3/13/18)


Terri Hendrix (Taylor) says...
Posted Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Awesome blog Allie! Remember, everyone in a C-suite position of a credit union, was once a 'young professional' just like you. We expect many great things from our credit union YPs and can't wait to be 'wow'-ed!

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