Edward Budway once saw his role as marketing specialist at $292 million asset Evergreen Credit Union in Portland, Maine, as a small business in a small state. Then he “crashed” the GAC in 2018.
“I realized credit unions are a massive, country-wide movement with thousands of credit unions working together to help people,” Budway says. “It was pretty cool.”
The greatest value came from networking with peers, as well as executives, in casual settings where it’s easier to ask questions. Meeting CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle gave him an infusion of “positive, energizing inspiration.”
With Evergreen’s leadership, he developed a career roadmap that could someday lead to an executive role. “That’s really had a massive impact,” Budway says.
He ties professional development to personal growth. Budway used the CrossFit program to go from squatting 75 pounds four years ago to 375 pounds today.
“Both are about consistent effort with small improvements over time.”
The CUaware group for young professionals sponsored by the Carolinas Credit Union League made a big difference to Phil Kadzielawski, product development specialist at $3.2 billion asset Coastal Credit Union in Raleigh, N.C.
“That’s where I found my footing in planning events and advocating for more young professionals to get involved,” says Kadzielawski, who was named the 2018 CUNA Emerging Leader, which was presented at the CUNA Emerging Leader Institute.
Listen to a CUNA News Podcast interview with Phil Kadzielawski.
With the help of mentors at Coastal and other credit unions, he also learned to become more comfortable networking and getting involved in the local league chapter. While he’s been fortunate to have guidance, he recognizes not all young professionals get that opportunity.
That’s why Kadzielawski advises young professionals to learn to speak up for themselves. “If you don’t have it handed to you, you may have to advocate for it to make sure you get the opportunity.”
On the other side of the equation, credit unions must recognize young professionals’ motivation will decline if leadership development stops when conferences end.
“There needs to be continued investment in professionals that are identified as high-potential employees,” Kadzielawski says.