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Young Professionals Vital to Credit Union Movement

Young professionals (YPs) are vital to the future of the credit union movement in Missouri and nationwide. Luckily, through opportunities like the Cooperative Trust's "crasher" events, YPs can collaborate with their peers, learn from the current leadership and explore their passion for credit unions. One of the most recent "crashers" from Missouri, Danielle Buscher, was selected to attend the Credit Union National Association's Governmental Affair Conference. 

"Crash the GAC was actually my second crash event; my first was Crash the CU Water Cooler Symposium last September," says Buscher. "Both crashes have proven to be pivotal moments in my career. I would encourage any young professional who is passionate about credit unions to get involved with the Cooperative Trust and apply for a crash event. It will change your life!"

Buscher is the manager of Learning and Development for West Community Credit Union. For the past year, she has created a training department for the credit union. She has held various positions at credit unions for more than eight years; she worked her way up from a teller to member services to training/development. 

"I have fallen in love with training and credit unions and cannot picture myself going anywhere else," says Buscher. 

We asked her to share some of her thoughts on her latest crasher event. 

1.) What did the day in the life of a GAC Crasher look like?

Our days were very busy because the Crash program has participants attend extra sessions which occur before, during, and after the GAC General Sessions. Here is a sample of our typical day:

  • At 7 a.m., we would report to our conference room to have breakfast and listen to a special guest speaker and have a discussion about the speaker’s topic. Speakers typically came from organizations like Filene, CUNA Mutual, CUNA Councils, National Credit Union Foundation, etc.
  • The remainder of the morning would be spent in general sessions with the rest of the GAC attendees.
  • At lunch, we would report back to our conference room to have lunch and listen to another special guest speaker and have another discussion.
  • In the afternoon, we would attend the general session with the rest of the GAC attendees.
  • After the general session concluded, we would report back to our conference room and have another speaker and discussion.
  • In the evening, some crashers would have events or dinners to attend with their state leagues or credit unions. All other crashers would attend whatever social event that may have been occurring. The events were a great opportunity to network with interesting credit union people.

2. Crashers met with a number of credit union leaders and industry experts. During GAC, what was the best piece of advice you received? 

Find a mentor. Be a mentor.

3. In your opinion, what was the most valuable part of GAC Crashers? 

It is really hard to say what the most valuable part of the program was, especially since just being able to attend was so valuable. If I have to choose though, I would pick networking. Attending as a crasher made people really curious. A lot of them wanted to know what we were doing there and what the crasher program was all about. Their natural curiosity made it easy for us to meet several interesting people. It was also really amazing to network and form this unique bond with all of the other crashers.     

4. How does this event inspire young professionals to get more involved in the credit union movement? 

Crash the GAC made me realize how important advocacy is for credit unions. We can’t expect MCUA and our senior leadership teams to advocate for all of us. We all need to be concerned about advocacy, because if we aren’t fighting for us who will? The answer is no one will, but banks will still be out there fighting against us. I plan on bringing this message to WCCU’s young professional group (NeXt! 2.0) at our next meeting and developing a plan of action to get us involved.   

Caption (top): Danielle Buscher sitting at U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner's desk during the GAC legislative visits.

Caption (bottom): 2015 GAC Crashers on the red carpet at a GAC awards ceremony.