CUaware mentors, proteges reflect on yearlong journey
April 6, 2015
RALEIGH, N.C. (4/7/15)--With CUaware, the Carolinas Credit Union League (CCUL) has taken an innovative approach to fostering the development of young credit union professionals.
And according to those who participated in the program, the approach has paid off.
The CUaware Protege contest pitted six finalists--who qualified through their CCUL chapters--in a competition last year that consisted of written tests and public speaking engagements.
The winner, Micah Smith, member service specialist at SC Telco FCU, Greenville, S.C., was awarded a position on the CUaware Leadership Council and will serve for one year as a dual-state spokesperson for young adults.
Five of the six finalists were also paired with mentors who worked to help further develop these young professionals for their careers in the credit union movement, and both the mentors and protoges could easily see the difference the program has made (In the Loop April 1).
"(My mentor) is focused on providing me with the information, tools and opportunities I need to be successful in furthering my career in the industry," said Jennifer Moore, Tarheel Chapter protoge, about mentor Arlene Babwah, risk operations manager at Coastal FCU, Raleigh, N.C. "Arlene is a leader ... she defines what a true mentor is."
"I see so much of myself in him," added mentor Mark Curran, president/CEO, Lion's Share FCU, Salisbury, N.C., about protege Jon Hamby. "I am continually reminded of when I was new to credit unions. I wanted to learn as much as I could and I needed encouragement all along the way."
Curran also said he encouraged Hamby to enroll in CUNA's Financial Counselor Certification program.
CUaware's co-developer, Troy Hall, chief operations officer, South Carolina FCU, North Charleston, S.C., said the main driver of the program's success is the relationship between proteges and mentors.
"Emergent leaders need one-on-one opportunities to identify, challenge and adopt the beliefs and values of strong leadership models to prepare for their future endeavors," Hall said. "The CUaware mentor program offers that type of a connection and ensures there exists a succession of leaders within the credit union movement ready to step in at any time."