When I first entered the Credit Union industry, I can safely say that I knew nothing.
I knew customer service and I knew how to count money.
The rest was a mystery to me.
When I got a phone call from my current CEO about some class in Wisconsin, I was nervous.
What in the world was CUDE and where was the National Credit Union Foundation?
First, I had never traveled by myself.
Second, I had no idea what this class was even about nor what I would do it that weeks’ time.
Third, I was new.
So new that I was still marveling that the girl who struggled in math class was now a teller.
Before my heart spoke to my brain and my brain filtered the clutter, I said SURE! I will go.
I found myself on a plane to Madison, Wisconsin to await adventures that I knew nothing about…yet.
I was on my way to the Credit Union Development Educator program.
…BUT what WAS it?
I need to tell you, I felt fancy traveling by myself.
Just a Midwest gal flying abroad…okay not abroad…but it felt like it being my first time alone.
I got off the plane and managed to find my luggage just fine.
Next stop, find a taxi.
I had landed early and had about two hours to spare before I could actually check in to my hotel.
I decided to be super travel lady and ask to go to State Street in Madison.
I had done some research and saw that it was a cool downtown spot with outdoor seating and eclectic shopping.
My taxi dropped me on State Street with my rolling luggage.
Any other time I would have felt like a travel dork, but being my first solo trip I felt mysterious and cool.
I wasn’t. I just felt it.
So I sat on State Street and had a coffee and sandwich while I watched all of the people walk up and down the sidewalks.
I want to tell you about how this is the first time that I saw bubble tea and how I thought I should get one…AND how I got one and choked on the bobbas in it and nearly died right there on State Street in Madison…
BUT that is for another time.
It was time for me to grab an Uber and head to the hotel.
I got into my Uber as the driver placed my luggage in the trunk.
He gets into the driver’s seat and says, “Where we going?”
I tell him the address.
He stalls for a moment as if he wanted to say something, but started to drive instead.
Two blocks and one left turn later, I was at the hotel.
Yes, I took an uber for two blocks.
Turns out my research on State Street did not include the whereabouts of my hotel.
I wanted to tell him that I had a bum leg.
I wanted to tell him that I just wanted to support Uber drivers.
I wanted to tell him that my luggage had lost a wheel and this was easier.
Instead, I tipped him extra and prayed he didn’t have to pick me up again during the duration of my stay.
Checking in to that hotel and starting the DE process was life changing.
Big statement. I know.
It DID change my life.
I would love to tell you all of the details of what you will go through and learn.
I want to tell you about the variety of chances that you have available to network and connect with your peers from around the world.
I want to tell you that if you finish the CUDE program and don’t feel a thing, that maybe you aren’t in the right industry.
More so, I want to give you the low-down details.
I am sure you expected it too.
Every DE knows that there is a level of secrecy to the process.
Nobody ever said it was a secret, but the magic within that experience leads to this fantastic mystery that surrounds the wonder of the program.
I am sure you read this article to get some insight to the schedule.
Maybe a play by play of each day.
What I will tell you is this, you will NOT regret sending yourself, your employees, your board members…
What I will tell you is that it does NOT matter how long or how little you have been involved in the industry; this IS for you.
What I will tell you is that if you want to know how WHO you are can meet WHAT you do professionally and ignite this fantastic flame, go to CUDE.
I said yes to the opportunity and it changed my life.
It changed my credit union path.
It changed my passion for what I was doing professionally.
It made me see life clearer and with an empathetic lens.
It made me realize that who I am is exactly what the credit union movement celebrated.
I didn’t know what a credit union truly was nor had I had a large cup of what is referred to as the “CU Kool-aid”.
I was nervous.
I was scared that I would not know enough and that I would stick out like a newbie.
Instead, it lit my flame for the movement and caused this never-ending rush of CAN DO attitude.
So, I guess after all of the things that I have said above, what I am TRULY saying is…
Drink the CUDE Kool-aid.
Best served with a warm heart and a passionate spirit.