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Invest in the Next Gen: the value of hosting an internal CUaware Protégé Competition

Thursday, July 6, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jeff Hardin and Courtney Jackson, CCUL
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(Written by Courtney Jackson and Jeff Hardin of the Carolinas Credit Union League.)

The CUaware Protégé Competition kicks off this month across North Carolina and South Carolina! It’s an awesome opportunity for credit unions and chapters to recognize the value and potential in rising professionals age 35 and under while reinforcing cooperative principles and credit union philosophy.

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Credit union chapters across both states are busy planning their competition events (see our FAQ No. 5 for a list of participating chapters). After the events conclude a group of young professionals will head to Charlotte February 1-2, 2018 for the CUaware Protégé finals at Carolinas Credit Union Connect.  

Having been involved with the CUaware Protégé Competition for several years, we get to witness how big a commitment this program is. You have to commit time to researching credit union history and philosophy, develop a five-minute oral presentation, and study up for a test. This is on top of the 9-to-5 work commitments and personal demands.

Beyond the time commitment, young professionals deliver their presentations in front of leaders with years of experience in the credit union movement. Put it all together and you realize that this competition is not for the faint of heart - it's for people who have plans and goals for their lives and challenge themselves to reach them.  

In the same way, it is vitally important for credit unions to support the passionate and driven young professionals — the literal cream of the crop sitting in your credit union right now. To that end, we encourage your credit union to consider developing an internal CUaware Protégé Competition. 

There are several advantages to developing an internal CUaware Protégé Competition at your credit union, including:

  • It clearly demonstrates that the credit union is committed to professional development opportunities for young professionals;
  • It offers a clear opportunity for your young professionals to be positively challenged in their career and to seize a growth opportunity;
  • It better prepares the person who will go on to the chapter competition;
  • It is an opportunity for young professionals to learn the history, purpose and mission of the credit union movement. This is vital information for a generation that values making a difference in the world;
  • It gives the entire credit union team an opportunity to encourage and support the career growth of young professionals;
  • It reveals leaders and passionate advocates you may not know you have. 

Developing and retaining true advocates from the Millennial generation — the people who are bought in to the credit union's mission and purpose — is vital to building a culture that is innovative and an engaged workforce that will move the credit union forward. To this end, we hope your credit union will consider holding an internal CUaware Protégé Competition. 

Below are a few “best practices” tips from credit unions that have hosted their own internal competition before, but if you have any questions or would like to learn more, please contact Jeff Hardin ( or 919-457-9063) or Courtney Jackson ( or 919-457-9076).

Courtney Jackson, the League's director of communications, is the CUaware Protégé Competition Coordinator. Jeff Hardin, the director of cooperative initiatives, assists with the competition and coordinates the CUaware Protégé Mentor program.


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