New supervisory committee members are faced with an array of unique opportunities and important responsibilities, often including a lot to learn in a short amount of time. We sat down with Chelsea Treboniak, supervisory committee member at SAFE Federal Credit Union, to learn about her journey towards becoming an informed, impactful voice for her credit union.
Jumping at the chance
When Chelsea joined the supervisory committee at SAFE just over a year ago, she’d already developed a diverse array of skills, both from her service as a U.S. Army veteran and as the owner of Critical Ops LLC.
“It’s been a hit-the-ground-running role,” says Chelsea. “I thought it was very much a link to marketing. Little did I know it had so much to do with accountability of internal audit and risk management.”
Fortunately, she felt well-equipped to handle several aspects of her role and was eager to tackle every new challenge and opportunity head-on. “I love to learn. I’m one of those nerds,” she said.
One of the earliest learning opportunities Chelsea had was attending last year’s CUNA Supervisory Committee & Internal Audit Conference (SCIAC), which she hoped would provide her the chance to meet others who were passionate about the future success of credit unions, as well as a forum for her to have her questions answered.
In her own words, “I felt like it was a cool opportunity for me to step up and say, ‘I don’t know anything.’”
Chelsea made a point of maximizing her conference experience, both by pursuing networking opportunities and learning all she could from the sessions. One of the sessions she found most valuable was the Credit Union Hot Topic & Best Practices Forum, in which credit unions are grouped by asset size to discuss topics most relevant to them: “I thought that was incredibly valuable—to learn that we aren’t alone in marketing to the X and Y generations.”
She also recalls taking plenty of notes in discussions on enterprise risk management by representatives from Rochdale Paragon, as well as the conference’s annual economic update, presented this year by Steve Rick.
“There was a ton of lessons learned that were shared in terms of the marketing approaches that worked and how to get some more folks involved,” she says. “So I made a full five-page highlight sheet that I gave to our credit union.”
Fearless for the future
These days, Chelsea is continuing to make waves at SAFE. After networking with other credit union supervisory committee members at the conference, she returned to her credit union with marketing strategies for successful re-branding, as well as plans for SAFE to begin serving small businesses and small business accounts.
She’s not done learning though, and she’s making sure her fellow committee members aren’t either. “We’re sending three of us to the conference this year,” she says, including herself. “And all of us are taking courses to get certified as a volunteer.”
Advice for other supervisory committee members
When asked what advice she’d give to new supervisory committee members, Chelsea said:
“When you volunteer you really can’t fail. But I also think people nowadays fear failure. Check your fear at the door. Not that they’re intimidating conferences, but it’s a lot of material. And if you have a question, ask the question without fear. Because I guarantee there’s someone else in the room that doesn’t know the answer either.”
You can learn more about how to advance in your role by visiting cuna.org/sciac.