This past weekend, I made an outlandish and uniformed comment via one of my favorite social channels, Facebook. My statement was about credit union trade organizations and the role that they play. While my intentions were to create a meaningful dialogue, my comments turned into a direct attack on the organizations that work every day to further the reach and impact of credit unions. I am deeply saddened and disappointed in myself for my words and actions and I apologize to everyone that I have offended or discredited.
I realize that my statements reflect negatively upon me personally and may be perceived to represent the thoughts and beliefs of the various organizations I am a part of. I can assure you that the thoughts I expressed this weekend were entirely my own and were formulated with no empirical evidence to support them. This past weekend was most definitely a low for me.
While it would be easy to ignore my mistake or downplay the impact my words had, I realize as a Wisconsin Credit Union YP, it’s more powerful to own up to my mistake and share what I have learned.
I should never let my desire for meaningful change, my passion for credit unions and my impatience cause me to lose sight of the end goal. As a firm believer in the power of cooperative finance (cooperative anything, really), I believe that every credit union young professional can learn from me by remembering to be mindful that we are an industry founded on cooperation and that the cooperative principles are our biggest differentiator from other financial institutions.
After reflection, it’s clear to me that it takes diversity to make an industry great. We need our trade organizations to help us grow professionally and our trade organizations need us to provide them with constructive feedback and insight into the topics that we feel we need to gain a better grasp on. Most importantly, we need organizations like CUNA to carry the political advocacy torch for us. But, CUNA cannot do it alone. We need the fresh ideas of professionals – young and seasoned – to bring new thoughts and viewpoints to the table to keep our efforts effective and fresh. The credit union industry is very diverse and is made up of “shops” large and small. Credit union vendors are an excellent way to help smaller credit unions make up for inefficiencies due to lack of resources human and/or capital and remain relevant in their respective marketplaces. Though we face big challenges, when we move forward together, we are unstoppable.
As I look forward to working in the credit union industry for many years to come, I know that the lessons I learned this week will help to guide my way of thinking as I continue to grow professionally. They have reinforced my understanding of the importance of remaining accountable for my thoughts, words and actions. I hope that my fellow young professional friends can use some of the above takeaways in order to further their own professional growth and be the assets that we need them to be so that we can continue to grow and make a positive difference in the lives of current and prospective credit union members.