“I’ve got a pretty good idea what children are, and we’re not children. Children can lose sometimes, and nobody cares.”
― Orson Scott Card, Enders Game
First of all this is not a blog about losing. Please do not let the quote fool you. I just saw Enders Game (one of my favorite books of all time) in the theatre last week as it has now been made into a movie. This blog is really about learning.
Most of you reading this know that I was blessed enough to take part in a competition that started with 141 candidates and I made it to the Final 5. Things didn’t shake out the way I wanted them to, but in the end, the credit union industry has gained another driven, progressive and energetic leader and Next Top Credit Union Executive 2013 in Amanda Brenneman from Maps Credit Union. I was fortunate enough to spend several days with Amanda, Chad Huseby (@HUSE59), Zac King and Rob Carabelli (@MHFCURob) this past week and I can tell you with 100% certainty that we all share the passion and desire to make an impact in the lives of the members we serve and the industry we love.
I would be lying to all of you and myself if I said I wasn’t disappointed when I left San Diego, but the saying goes, “You learn more from your loses than your victories.” After 24+ hours, now I need to focus on what I can learn and how I can become a better credit union advocate, young professional and leader. The Next Top Credit Union Executive Competition has taught me countless lessons about time management, presentation skills, networking and working hard while also completing my daily responsibilities. I’d like to thank the Credit Union Executives Society (CUES), DDJ Myers and Currency Marketing for making this opportunity available to young credit union leaders.
I’ve learned a ton about myself and one thing I can’t help but reflect on is how much amateur and high school wrestling has taught me about being a successful young professional and good person (my own opinion) in general. The only way to make it to the Final 5 is to have self-discipline and that is most certainly required of anyone who has wrestled, had to cut weight and complete their studies while depriving themselves of their favorite meals. In this case, it wasn’t about not eating delicious food, but I had to really pick and choose when I was able to participate in leisure activities and when I needed to write a blog, brainstorm for videos (Thanks to Jordan Destree for his professional video editing skills) or practice my presentation (58 live run-throughs, btw).
One on one. When you wrestle, you compete to help your team score points, but essentially you are out there on the mat and whether your hand gets raised or someone else’s does, well, that’s all on you. I think the same goes for public speaking. When you’re on that stage, it’s your job to perform, present your message and “win” the crowd. There are plenty of other similarities, but I think that you get the gist.
Last and certainly not least, I couldn’t finish this blog without thanking everyone who has supported me through the entire process. I will undoubtedly leave someone out (not on purpose) but here goes. I need to thank Jane Anderson for thinking enough of me to send in my first nomination. Jane, you’re faith in my abilities and my project has meant the world. Kevin Ralofsky, my friend, mentor and colleague also deserves special acknowledgement. Kevin took a chance on me a little over 3 and a half years ago and to this day, we work together as a team and I learn something new from him every single day. Kevin and his family have become a part of my family and I think that it is safe to say that I have become a part of his. I’m not sure about what gave him the inclination to take a chance and hire a twenty-something with no knowledge of credit unions, but I am thankful that he did.
My parents. My parents have always been a driving force in my life. I think most children are always seeking ways to make their parents proud, so, I’m really no different than anyone, but not all children are fortunate enough to have parents who raised them to understand the importance of working hard for the things that you want, being respectful and willing to learn from anyone you can and being open to “losing”, but at the same time never making excuses. I don’t really believe in luck and some people will say, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.”, but I believe that everyone should work hard at everything they do and the better person you are, or, said differently, the more you give of yourself, the more blessings you will find come your way.
Friends and family. My friends and family have been amazing. For the last several weeks, I have been the most annoying Facebook “friend” and Twitter users that ever existed, yet people have rallied behind me. People have spent their own time sharing things about me and doing their best to promote my efforts for the Next Top Credit Union Executive title and I can’t help but think, “Why?” Their (your) efforts and the time you gave benefitted them (you) in no way and yet they (you) did it anyways.
I thank you all for what you have done for me. Please know that I am grateful beyond any words I could possibly comprehend or type. I intend to push forward and make this project successful and continue to develop new ideas. Thank you for the outpouring of support and love.
Best regards and without wax,