A panel of four young credit union professionals offered advice to peers at the 2018 CUNA Young Professionals Conference in Madison, Wis.
The discussion included topics such as responding to myths about millennials, taking an active role within the movement, handling failure, and engaging other professionals.
Four pieces of advice they offered:
1. Make your voice heard
There’s a stigma that millennials are lazy, entitled, and not respected when it comes to workplace discussions. Being prepared and knowledgeable about topics when you go into discussions will earn you respect from your peers.
“We want to have a voice, we want to be heard,” says Brian Lee, chief financial officer at Landings Credit Union, Tempe, Ariz. “But it’s not necessarily just talking loud.”
2. Make your environment work for you
Do so whether you work 70 or 40 hours per week, or use your desktop computer or your smartphone to respond to emails. Find a work style that fits you, but know that you might have to explain your habits to co-workers.
“We work a little differently. We use technology,” says Richard Sellwood, director of member services at The Summit Federal Credit Union, Rochester, N.Y. “Have conversations about it, and explain that we work differently.”
3. Accept your failures
Everyone fails, whether it’s developing a product that doesn’t catch on with members or pitching an idea to the board that doesn’t quite measure up.
Take accountability for the failure, but don’t let it define you.
“Don’t let your failures become who you are or let other people identify who you are based on your failures,” says Gabrielle McClure, marketing director at Members Choice West Virginia Federal Credit Union, Charleston.
4. Get engaged
Become involved in your credit union, your community, and the credit union movement. Network with other professionals at industry events or groups, join a board, or pursue opportunities that are outside your comfort zone.
Share knowledge you gain at events with others at your credit union. Not only will you teach them something, you might also ignite another person’s passion.
“Pay attention to the opportunities and apply for openings,” says Sara DeLance, senior vice president of retail at Heritage Family Credit Union, Rutland, Vt.