Phil Kadzielawski, product development specialist for $3.1 billion asset Coastal Credit Union in Raleigh, N.C., received CUNA’s 2018 Emerging Leader Award.
Kadzielawski was a finalist in the CUaware Protégé competition in 2015. He’s also president of the Carolinas Credit Union League’s Tarheel Chapter of Credit Unions, where he advocates for professional development and networking opportunities for young professionals.
Kadzielawski: I was excited and honored to be nominated in the first place and then to be selected among the crowd of excellent young leaders we have in the movement. It’s also affirming. It lets me know that I’m on the right track and that my efforts, hard work, and focus are being noticed and appreciated.
Emerging Leader Award winner says participation, networking, and professional development build leadership skills.
When you try something new, it’s tough to know in the moment if what you’re doing is right. So something like this is incredible, and shows me I’m making a difference.
Kadzielawski: We can’t just sit around and hope someone else will influence change on our behalf. It’s important to stand up and do that.
The movement’s future leaders are out there. The movement is actively inviting leaders of all ages to get involved. This is important for career development and professional development.
Don’t wait for an official position [to be a leader]. If you see an opportunity, raise your hand—even if it’s intimidating. The support is there.
We can’t wait for someone else to create change for us. We need to be part of it.
Kadzielawski: Find a mentor. Find a young professionals group. Find an opportunity that resonates with you and that you think will work.
CUNA Emerging Leader Institute: December 2-4, 2019, San Diego
Set goals that are attainable; something you can work toward. It’s important to set goals to guide you along the way. Find ways to get exposure at your credit union and with other credit unions. Introduce yourself at league events too.
Also, find a way to add value to yourself and others. Leadership isn’t just about me or you. It’s about creating something for others.
It’s about being humble and knowing when to let others have opportunities. If you find something you’re passionate about and a way to add value, you’ll want to put in the effort.