Filene’s young professional community, The Cooperative Trust, focuses on power of network

New leadership, programs and opportunities slated for 2020 starting with CUNA GAC Crash applications

MADISON, WI (October 1, 2019)Applications open Oct. 1 for the annual “Crash the GAC” at CUNA’s 2020 Governmental Affairs Conference as Filene’s Cooperative Trust program prepares for a future with members of its young professional group stepping into leadership roles in the credit union industry.

While networking has always been a standard business practice, the power of those connections to give people a voice and to make an impact on the world is often left unharnessed. Mentorships and online networking will be a focus of the program in the year ahead.

The Cooperative Trust is the credit union industry’s largest young professional community. The “Crash” program is designed to empower credit union young professionals through professional development and by finding and amplifying their voices to advocate for the role of young people in the industry.

“The goal of the Cooperative Trust and the Crash program is to bring all voices to the table so credit unions can stay relevant into the future. We are a community of hard-working, savvy, future-thinking professionals with a passion for making the world a better place,” said Cortney Angeley, Filene’s director of community development and new leader of the Cooperative Trust community. “The power of this program comes through not only attending industry conferences, but also getting special content and access to the best of the best in the financial industry—opportunities that many others in this industry wouldn’t typically get. The other essential element is networks and tools to grow professionally through the mentorship program and the Cooperative Trust website where people can connect and learn from like-minded young professionals all over North America.

Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is the primary sponsor of the Cooperative Trust and makes the Crash program possible for hundreds of young professionals each year. Once again in 2020, Filene will bring its largest group of Crashers to attend CUNA’s GAC. The program, throughout its ten-year tenure, has consistently created loyal credit union advocates from its ranks.

“One of the bigger things that I see with credit unions, not only my own but also with others throughout the United States, is how hard we work to be community leaders, community partners, and just overall community members,” said Joey Coffman, IT Service Desk Manager at Bay Federal Credit Union and 2019 GAC Crasher. “That’s something I hold near and dear to my heart and it is definitely my mission to grow my community and assist in whatever way I can.”

This network is not only advantageous for young professionals looking to grow and advance their careers, but also for leaders and CEOs looking to better serve, attract and retain young talent and members.

“If you’re looking to really understand your Millennial and Gen Z audience, the members of the Cooperative Trust are willing to talk. They’re willing to share,” said Angeley. “We’re at a point where it’s really about the conversations and how can we bridge the gap to finally allow a constant flow of communication where it’s respectful and effective to make actual change happen within our organizations. We just need people that are willing to be the conduit of that change, and the Cooperative Trust is exactly that.”

Credit union young professionals can apply to be a Crasher at all of Filene’s research events, Filene’s annual big.bright.minds, and many major industry conferences in the coming year. Crashers get professional development tools, meet with industry leaders, network with peers, and experience each event in a dynamic way.

“The true strength of our generation is that there are no boundaries to what we can do next. When we partner together, we can affect real and far-reaching change,” said Lauren Culp, former leader of the Cooperative Trust and current publisher/CEO of CUInsight. “We’re leaders with lots to offer, and with lots to learn. I’d argue that’s true no matter your age. It’s time for our generation of “young leaders” to drop the qualifier and identify simply as the “leaders” we are.”

In addition to application forms and resources available on the Cooperative Trust website, credit union young professionals and leaders can learn more about the program and experiences of those involved in the 2019 GAC Crash through Filene’s podcast at

About Filene Research Institute

Filene Research Institute strengthens organizations through innovative research and incubation to improve consumer financial well-being. As an independent cooperative finance think tank, Filene’s membership network connects a community of leaders and bright minds to change lives through innovation, truth and cooperation. In addition to delivering cutting-edge, actionable academic research, Filene also provides incubators to test and scale solutions, events to spark organizations into action and advisory services to help accelerate and implement innovation. For more information, visit and @fileneresearch.

About the Cooperative Trust

The Cooperative Trust, with its award-winning Crash program, is the international community of young credit union professionals, brought to you by Filene Research Institute and made possible by Credit Union National Association. To learn more, visit


Holly Fearing

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