CeJae Vtipilson has always been fascinated by politics.
In high school, it was student government. At Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va., it was a degree in political science, followed by various roles with local, state, and federal political campaigns.
His role in a congressional district office, however, taught him the importance of serving constituents and the value of building relationships.
Today, Vtipilson uses those skills as director of political affairs and state advocacy for the Virginia Credit Union League, which serves the commonwealth’s 104 credit unions.
He also coordinates fundraising for the Virginia Credit Union Political Action Committee, the state-level PAC supporting political candidates friendly to credit unions.
Vtipilson’s expertise as a relationship builder also helped grow the league’s Emerging Professionals Network into a 500-member organization. The initiative connects credit union professionals for networking and professional development.
Vtipilson recently handed over the reins of this group to a league co-worker.
“I’m lucky to have met and befriended so many phenomenal and passionate people in credit unions,” he says. “I love their stories about the lives they change—like how they helped a member save on a car loan or consolidated a member’s debt, saving them hundreds. Through those stories, we showcase the credit union difference.”
Those stories also drive needed change, Vtipilson says. “Each of us can and should be an advocate for credit unions. It’s those everyday stories of member service that help us make the case for policies, and provide avenues to promote, protect, and strengthen credit unions.”
He also appreciates that there’s no typical day at the league. His workday could include a 4 a.m. wake up to track legislation or attend a lawmaker meeting. Or he might listen to congressional hearings well into the evening.
“But some days I drive across Virginia to meet with credit union professionals, talk about advocacy, and help them discover what it means to be part of this amazing industry,” he says.
Talk to Vtipilson, and you’ll immediately note his passion for credit unions. He also aims to jog every street in Richmond, try every restaurant in the city, and visit each of Virginia’s craft breweries.
Vtipilson also loves spending time with his wife, Amanda, and their 120-pound mastiff mix, Harvey.
“I hope my passion and enthusiasm for people and credit unions shine through,” he says. “I’m proud to work for an organization dedicated to credit unions’ success and their ability to help people. For me, it’s always about people.”