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Rejuvenating My 'Why' at a Young Professionals Conference

May 22, 2023
By Tommy Machun, Area Sales Manager
Attending my first Young Professionals Conference representing Catalyst Corporate was an inspiring experience. I thoroughly enjoyed all the speaker sessions, power hours andTommy Machun networking events Cornerstone Credit Union League (CCUL) hosted for young professionals.

Opening session and keynote speaker Jovan Glasgow brought all the energy and explained how to decipher the difference between your “why” and your “what.” We discussed the impact of the adversity experienced in our lives and the lessons we can learn from it to positively impact our workplace and teams.

We then went to our first power hour. I attended the “Member Experience” session. It was great hearing perspectives on how everyone is impacting the member experience at their credit unions and sharing best practices to provide strong service. From surveying members, enabling video chat services or just providing more digital services for members, it was insightful to hear what everyone was doing to understand their members better.

Tuesday’s opening session was “Commit to the Pursuit.” Master Your Mic Speaking Coach Israel Lazo spoke about learning how to step into unknown territory and how that can lead to positive results. His journey started in collections at a credit union. People told him no one ever leaves collections, but he wanted more. He committed to the pursuit of advancing from collections into a position where he could be in front of people. Lazo did a great job motivating us for the day. He gave us impactful advice about how to overcome a negative mindset and set yourself up for success. Lazo taught us how to lead through action and make positive changes that directly impact one’s work life. Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone and commit to yourself to yield the most results. This session was all about once you commit to something, don’t give up and keep a positive mindset even when you are struggling.

The second round of power hours, I attended the “Account/Finance” session. New to the credit union world, it was amazing to hear how everyone is improving their credit union’s liquidity position and how to best position their credit union for the long run. During this session, we discussed the current rate environment and its impact on credit union MSRs, finance professionals and even member interactions.

Tuesday afternoon, Courtney Moran, Executive Director at Cornerstone Foundation, andretirement experience Cynthia Campbell, Chief Experience Officer (CXO) for BALANCE, facilitated “The Retirement Experience.” This unique session took us on a journey using common scenarios of those in different stages of life (20’s through 60’s) and how their retirement plan might look. Moran and Campbell provided us great tools to apply and helped us feel more comfortable about planning for retirement.

Communication coach Shari Alexander lit up Wednesday with her session “Dare todare to compare Compare.” Alexander helped attendees be mindful of comparing one’s situation to someone else’s and how it can steal joy out of life. She also shared “power tools” for how to control and recognize negative triggers that make us compare. Alexander explained not all comparisons lead to negative effects; they can spark creativity, increase self-worth and motivate.

Courtney Ramsey concluded the conference by informing us about the power of emotional intelligence. I learned how our thoughts and feelings impact our behaviors at work and home. If a leader has a high level of emotional intelligence, they can recognize not only their emotions, but their peers' as well. I now know how to be empathetic to those feelings – mine and theirs.

The Young Professionals Conference taught me about committing to myself, financial literacy and creating a retirement plan, and the power of emotional intelligence. I came out of this conference inspired and excited about my future growth in the credit union industry.