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YPs Encouraged to Apply for GAC Crashers

Now planning its 6th year, Crash the GAC will give credit union professionals under the age of 35 the chance to not only participate in Credit Union National Association’s Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC), but also offer an opportunity to have meetings with veterans of the credit union system. This year's GAC will be held March 8-12 in Washington, D.C. 

The event provides a number of great opportunities for young professionals at credit unions in Missouri. Just see what last year's crasher, Rachel Barker, of Holy Rosary Credit Union, had to say about the experience. 

MCUA: Why did you apply for GAC Crashers?

Barker: I applied for Crash the GAC for a few reasons. I had heard about this Crash network from another employee who crashed the Missouri meeting several years ago, and I thought it would be cool to be involved with an event that had typically been for executives and other high level CU employees.

This was a great opportunity to network with other young professionals and learn about legislative issues affecting credit unions.

Another major reason that I applied is due to the support from HRCU’s President, Carole Wight. She encourages staffers to pursue educational opportunities through events, seminars and networking. She knows the benefit of attending GAC—it was definitely a major reason I applied!  

MCUA: How would you describe the application process?

Barker: The application process was fun, but stressful at the same time! The online application took a bit of thought. It was not like a typical job application or scholarship application. They asked questions like:

  • Describe yourself in three words.
  • Who is your favorite superhero?
  • What is your favorite song?

The questions were a little stressful because there were no right answers and I knew I was going to be picked (or not be picked) based on my answers. The process must have worked though, because the selected Crashers were so awesome to meet and connect with!

​MCUA: What were your takeaways from the event? 

Barker: Being a Crasher is an amazing opportunity for any young credit union professional—it is hard to list ALL of my takeaways from the event.

One major takeaway is the importance of being involved and keeping yourself updated on credit union issues. Find your local chapter and get involved with it—go to events, network with other credit unions, join the board. This will keep you from feeling bogged down in the day-to-day operations and give you an opportunity to share ideas, plus keep you up-to-date on anything new in the industry.  

Another major takeaway is that there are a lot of really amazing credit unions out there doing really awesome things. It reinforced my love for credit unions.

Finally, the experience helped me to see the bigger picture. Holy Rosary Credit Union is pretty small when compared to other credit unions, but the legislative issues still have the same impact to our members. I not only work in the credit union industry, but I am also an advocate for credit unions and our members.

MCUA: Were you able to implement anything you learned from GAC Crashers?

Barker: My time as a Crasher helped me become a better leader. We discussed how to improve ourselves and make a difference at our own credit unions. After this experience, I strive to lead by example and be a problem solver.

MCUA: How have you benefited from the event? 

Barker: The benefits of crashing extend way beyond the GAC! I am a member of the Cooperative Trust, which is the network of young professionals (YP) that have crashed before. Recently, it was opened up to other YPs. It is a great tool for communicating with other like-minded people and a way to continue the conversation started at GAC.

MCUA: Any other comments?

Barker: I encourage any YP to apply for Crash the GAC. Missouri is a great state to be a Crasher! The support you get from MCUA and other local Crashers (shout out to Laura Eblen and Justin Mouzoukos) was very encouraging. Even if you are not selected for GAC, there are many other events to crash—I will be applying for another event soon!

Applications must be in by January 2. Apply here -

Caption: Rachel Barker, 2014 GAC Crasher, meets with Rep. Emanuel Cleaver.