What is WYCUP?

by. Devin Selte, Servus Credit Union

WYCUP is networking.

WYCUP is growing.

WYCUP is sharing.

WYCUP is an opportunity to help us understand that as young leaders, we have the ability to do so much more in this world.

Realizing that has made all the difference for me.

From the World Council of Credit Union’s WYCUP page:

World Council’s Young Credit Union People Program (WYCUP) is an annual scholarship program established in 2001 that is designed to engage and promote the next generation of credit union professionals and volunteers in the international credit union movement.

The program encourages the nomination of individuals age 35 and younger who have made a significant contribution within their own credit union or credit union organization. Nominating organizations sponsor their WYCUP nominees’ attendance to World Council’s 2013 World Credit Union Conference in Ottawa, Canada, where the scholarship is awarded.

The WYCUP scholarship is awarded annually to five outstanding nominees whose skills and accomplishments have already made a significant impact within their own credit union system—locally, regionally or nationally. The individuals selected for the scholarship are those the committee believes to have the greatest potential to contribute to the international credit union system.

The 13th annual WYCUP scholarship will be awarded to five recipients at the 2013 World Credit Union Conference in Ottawa, Canada, July 14–17, for attendance to the 2014 World Credit Union Conference in Australia. The scholarship covers all associated costs, including registration fee, travel, hotel accommodations and expenses.

The history of WYCUP stems back to the year 2000, when David Grace, currently the Managing Partner of Dave Grace & Associates, conducted a global survey of all of WOCCU members to determine their needs and how it could evolve from becoming a development consulting firm into a strong trade association.  The only area that all of its members had in common as a challenge was the need for attracting and retaining young members and employees.

“Being several layers removed from serving members, WOCCUs aim was to focus on young talent working in credit unions. Let’s face it, not many business, finance or economic undergrads know much about credit unions or think about them as they considering work in the financial sector.  To keep the good people once they enter credit unions, we needed to collectively give them the challenges and opportunities to stay involved and engaged. A huge piece of employee motivation and satisfaction is related to recognizing people for their contributions,” said Grace.

At the same time David was surveying WOCCU’s members, his roommate from college had just been named one of the top 30 photographers in the world under the age of 30 by Details magazine.  David saw the boost this recognition gave his roommate personally and professionally and decided to bring this idea into credit unions.  The initial name for WYCUP was 30 Under 30, with sage input and support from WOCCU’s board of directors, the program became called WYCUP under the direction of a new committee chaired by now Senator of Poland, Grezgorz Biericki.

It’s hard to put into words what WYCUP has meant for me and how it has impacted my career.  In essence, it led to my creation of the Servus Young Leaders Network after attending the 2009 session in Barcelona.  After my attendance at the 2010 session in Las Vegas, I made a video about my experience titled Forever Young, Forever WYCUP.  This was to show my credit union and others the impact that WYCUP can create for our young people.

Through this international young leader development program, I’ve been able to meet some outstanding people within the credit union movement.  I’ve asked a few of them to share their thoughts on the benefits of the WYCUP program.

Anna Corona, United States, WYCUP Winner 2008: “My experiences at the WYCUP sessions in Hong Kong and Barcelona have definitely been a highlight in my career.  Discussing with other credit union professionals from around the world common issues and sharing solutions and successes was enlightening.  It was amazing to be around other young credit union professionals who share the same passion for credit unions and strongly believe in the credit union philosophy of “People Helping People.”  The conferences increased my dedication to the credit union movement and the friendships that developed will last a lifetime!”

Ross Lambrick, Australia, WYCUP Winner 2009: “WYCUP provided me with the ability to understand how different cultures deal with their environment to achieve the best they can for their community. In Australia, we have a heavily regulated Financial Services system. In Canada, you were bound by a number of restrictions which limited the ability of a Credit Union to expand its brand. Then you learn how people in African countries barely make ends meet but have a very strong community for them to work to everyone’s benefit.  Without talking to all these people at WYCUP I would never have understood all the differences and challenges associated with worldwide credit unions.”

Marcy Lovberg, Canada, WYCUP Winner 2011: “My experience in the WYCUP programs in Glasgow and Gdansk were absolutely amazing, not only from a professional perspective, but also on a personal level.  The program allowed me to form a network of associates and friends from various countries, all working to support the Credit Union movement.  The impact of meeting such dynamic young leaders from around the world, sharing experiences, and collaborating together is hard to express in words, and is an opportunity that I am extremely grateful for.  I am a huge supporter of the program, and strongly recommend anyone able to take part in WYCUP to do so.”

Young leaders like Anna, Ross, and Marcy have inspired others to make a difference in the lives of our staff, our members, and the communities that we live in.  They have inspired me to not just talk about making a difference, but living the world wide credit union movement philosophy of people helping people.

While you would think this type of programming would be the crowning jewel of a credit union young leader’s development, it hasn’t been.

“Despite a who’s who of credit union leaders that are now alumni of the 12 year old program, there is at times waning support for the program as people that have not been young managers themselves struggle with understanding the importance of community building among such leaders”, says Grace.  “For the program to remain strong and available to others, alumni of the program must promote it and support each other.  WYCUP has opened many doors for those that have passed through it, but like most doors it requires initiative to open them.”

So please, join me in my home and native land of Canada, and participate in WYCUP.

I promise you, you will not regret it.

Devin Selte

Devin Selte

Devin Selte is a 15 year veteran in the credit union industry all with Servus Credit Union. On top of his position as Branch Manager in Stony Plain, he is ... Web: www.servus.ca Details