The importance of professional education

As a mortgage professional, you take your job seriously. You know that it’s not enough to have great member service skills; you also need to be a student of the business. You read blog posts and the latest letters and circulars when guidelines are updated. You attend training courses and keep your licenses current, and when you’re scanning through social media you read anything about the industry that catches your eye. As a professional, you know it’s important to do all of those things and you’re proud you do.

But, it’s not enough.

Reading up on programs and keeping your license current is vital, but it takes more than that to become an irreplaceable professional succeeding in today’s market. You need to get out and see what’s happening. You need to meet with others who are doing what you’re doing and doing it well. You need to attend events that will give you fresh ideas and help you grow.

If you want to continue to grow as a professional and reach your goals, you need to make a commitment to professional development. Here are three keys to maximize your development:

1. Content is King

When you attend a conference or workshop, you want to check out the agenda. Be sure you’re getting top notch content that will give you some action items to take back to the credit union the next day. Sometimes these sessions become all fluff and no real depth, they may make you feel good, but they don’t help you in your day-to-day routine.  Read through the descriptions and see what to expect before you register. Make sure it’s not a session you’ve already attended, but don’t shy away from speakers you’ve heard before. Great speakers will get hired repeatedly and often write new content to stay in the circuit of presenting. They are experts after all. Don’t forget to search for speakers you don’t know. You’ll want a fresh perspective as well.

2. Take Time to Talk Shop

Networking is also a necessity at these events and one of the main reasons you must physically attend a workshop or conference. This gives you the chance to sit and talk with peers to learn what’s working and what’s not. You can find out what challenges others are facing and compare notes on how to handle them. You can learn about helpful tools or vendors and even find tips on other events that are worth attending.

3. Application is Essential

When it comes to any type of workshop, conference, webinar, class or any other type of professional development, it means nothing if you don’t apply it and let it impact your daily life and processes.  A good educational session will spur ideas, give you some applicable actions items and help you make changes to your day-to-day. It will help you grow and achieve or even surpass your goals. Whatever it is you’ve learned at your event, take it back to the credit union and apply it. That’s where you are going to get the most out of your attendance.

If you want to surpass goals and achieve a new level of personal growth, you must make the commitment to attending outside events in your field on a regular basis. It’s not just one event a year; it’s multiple events a year. It might be trying out something new or scheduling something out of the normal calendar too. Attending the same event year after year might not be the best way to develop, although it’s a great start. When it comes to development I challenge you to find new ways to learn and develop your teams. What do you have next to take your professional career, better yet your credit union, to the next level?

I highly encourage you attend one of our great events this year as your something new. For more information please find details of our next great event at

Alison Barksdale

Alison Barksdale

Alison Barksdale is the Assistant Vice-President of Marketing for CU Members Mortgage and has worked in the field of marketing since 2000. Her various positions within the field of marketing ... Web: Details