Jenny Miller was named the CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council’s 2022 Rising Star for her work at the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA). As the communications director for the association, which represents Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, Miller does what she can to make a difference.
She recently spoke with CUNA News about what drives her work, keys to her career success, tips for communications professionals, and what excites her about working at the NWCUA.
Jenny Miller: I first came to NWCUA in January 2020 after being referred for the open communications manager position by a friend who worked at the association. I was at a point in my career where I wanted my work to mean something—to make a tangible difference for others.
When I started, like many others who first enter the credit union industry, I didn’t fully grasp the immense impact credit unions have on their communities every day. It was inspiring to see credit unions step up to go beyond offering financial services, and how they’d collaborate with community organizations and other cooperatives to solve complex challenges such as food and housing insecurity, access to education, and so much more. A big part of my role the past two years has been finding ways to amplify the reach of this great work so that more people are aware of the credit union difference.
A: Something that has proven incredibly beneficial to my development as a communicator is a constant drive to be better than I was yesterday. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in the field or how many articles, press releases, executive memos, or scripts you’ve written—there is always room for improvement. There is always something to learn. The more you can diversify and evolve your communication skills, the easier it is to adapt your messaging for different voices, tones, and mediums.
A: My biggest piece of advice to other communications professionals—and all professionals, really—is to regularly step outside your comfort zone. Make it a point to say yes to things that scare you a little bit. Pressure makes diamonds, and some of the best opportunities I’ve had come my way were the result of 30 seconds of courage.
A: My favorite part about working at NWCUA is hearing about the unique ways credit unions are creating positive change in the communities they serve. The people helping people philosophy is not just lip-service; it’s a commitment I see put into action every single day. I also have the privilege of working with a passionate team of individuals who are fiercely dedicated to serving our member credit unions. Their talent, enthusiasm, and drive are infectious, and they inspire me to bring my best self to the work I do alongside them.
A: I’ve been on so many amazing trips over the past few years but spending a few days in Switzerland last fall was absolute magic. My husband, brother, sister-in-law, and I rented the most adorable Airbnb in Grindelwald overlooking the majestic Jungfrau summit. Every morning, we woke to a scene so beautiful that it looked like something straight out of “The Lord of the Rings.” The near-constant tinkling of cowbells echoing across the velvety green hills made me feel like I stepped into a fairytale.
One of the days, we rented e-bikes and explored the Lauterbrunnen Valley, stopping to marvel at the many 200-foot-tall waterfalls cascading down on either side of us. We took a gondola lift to the top of a mountain, bikes in tow, and rode to a small restaurant overlooking the valley. Between sips of beer and bites of delicious cake, we watched paragliders leap off nearby cliffs and float gracefully down toward the earth. It was an absolutely perfect day—one I’ll never forget. I can’t wait go back.