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Hiking up the Hill for Credit Unions


By: Stephanie Armas

Hiking up the Hill for Credit Unions

Laura, Community Development Manager, was given an opportunity to attend a national conference because of her efforts in bringing financial education to our members, as well as helping us earn our sixth Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Desjardins Award. Whether she is visiting schools, businesses or connecting with members and non-members at events, Laura is always helping to educate individuals about credit unions and the credit union movement.

This year, Laura, attended the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC), in Washington, D.C. Every year thousands of credit union employees and supporters come together to meet with legislators and advocate for their credit unions. Attendees meet with key individuals to discuss the issues their credit union faces and work that can be done to overcome them. Laura shares her experience as a first-time attendee and what she was able to take away from attending.

GAC 2019: Advocacy and Representation

Throughout my life I’ve always kept current on political events and credit union advocacy at all levels of government, so being able to attend GAC has always been on my bucket list. Through this amazing opportunity I was able to meet many credit union professionals and grow my network, all while learning more about advocacy and what others are doing in regards to financial education in their credit unions and states.

Over four days I was able to attend many presentations and hear some amazing keynote speakers, including Alison Levine, John Kerry, Vice President Mike Pence and Malcolm Gladwell. My favorite keynote speaker, Alison Levine, offered stories of perseverance and achieving her goals in the face of setbacks and failures, by maintaining a positive attitude. As a credit union advocate, it’s important that I continue to persevere and educate individuals on the benefits of credit union membership and partnership, despite any obstacles I may face.

I was also able to attend some breakout sessions during my time at GAC. The first, The State of the Movement: Addressing Diversity, Equality and Inclusion within the Credit Union Movement, discussed how the credit union industry is addressing diversity, equality and inclusion within our membership, communities and employees. Everyone should have an equal opportunity to participate in a credit union co-operative and gain access to the wealth of knowledge and services offered by becoming a member.

Another session I was able to attend was Your Role in Credit Union Advocacy, where they reviewed the programs and resources CUNA has to help credit unions develop relationships with our state and federal lawmakers. Continuing to foster relationships and be able to reach out to local, state and federal lawmakers concerning our issues benefits not only our credit union, but our members as well.

When I wasn’t in presentations or breakout sessions I also had the opportunity to learn more about companies that partner with credit unions and solutions they offer. These companies offer services ranging from loan solutions to financial wellness programs to data insights. I was able to bring back information on new products and services that would benefit the credit union and our membership.

This amazing opportunity through Electro has grown my professional network of peers, offered more ways to continue advocating for credit unions and additional ways I can educate our membership. I’d love to see more advocacy involvement within our staff and communities we serve and will strive to involve employees and members however possible.