Alvaro Macias - Paving The Way
It is rare to attend a credit union function and not see Alvaro Macias. He was one of the first young professionals I met who was shaking up the industry and really wanting others to succeed. He has opened so many doors for YP’s in his community. We sat down with him to discuss his journey and how much young professional development has changed since his original CRASHER group set the tone for years to come.
When I think of The Original CRASHERS I think of you. Tell me what has changed from when you had the opportunity from those that have opportunities to CRASH today.
When I took part in first CRASH for the Iowa Credit Union League Convention in 2011, I really didn’t know what to expect. We couldn’t ask colleagues about their experience or watch videos of previous CRASHERS, it was a newer thing in the industry. For the most part, in attendance at the conference were people in management roles at the Iowa convention so it was obvious that the group of young people were the CRASHERS – so it made us feel like little celebrities and everyone was very welcoming. We were really surprised at how much importance they gave the CRASH program. It was an experience I still value today.
Judging from the achievements and promotions that many CRASHERS have experienced after my opportunity, today I see it as a key experience that can turbo-charge one’s career. It can be just what young people need to be noticed in their organization and when I see the youth being represented it makes me proud.
You definitely set the bar high for future CRASHERS, you’ve stayed very involved for years. How do you stay motivated and what brings you back?
I feel like the league offers so many ways for people to be engaged beyond CRASHING, from the innovation groups, to the emerging leaders series, and advocating for our industry. There are so many ways one can continue to learn and build on the relationships made. The Iowa league has been kind enough to invite me to take part in a convention panel and present at a Marketing Roundtable, and I’m actually participating on another panel during the Legislative and Regulatory Conference on February 19th. This is what this movement is all about- sharing best practices and insights to help all of us succeed.
While these opportunities have been wonderful, it was very daunting at one point. Fortunately, I have had great mentors and leaders who have empowered me to take advantage of these opportunities. I would urge others to do the same and take advantage of all the opportunities that exist today. Young professional development is not going away anytime soon.
Well said. You are also extremely involved in the community. What’s your proudest moments and what’s in store for 2020.
I’m very proud of the Newcomers Initiative program we began in 2014 as a partnership with a non-profit immigration service provider. It helps people pay for costly fees and introduces the participants to credit unions instead of predatory lenders that target them. Since the program began we have successfully written grants to replicate the program with two other organizations, but most importantly have helped make these services affordable so that families can get important civil matters addressed while improving their financial lives.
You can watch the story of one of our first individuals who went through the program here on YouTube. Charlie’s story shows you how we are truly making an impact in people’s lives and how they can become lifelong members because of it.
In 2020, we will be a site for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program coordinated by the United Way of the Quad Cities and it allows families and individuals to get Free tax preparation if they make under $57,000 annually. Our new home office building has a large community room that is perfect for this program and we will help those who come in with financial education and with any services they may need.
As far as what is next I have been very busy working with our marketing department on a new website and it has a lot of really cool new features. Last summer we added three new staff in the department and I have been helping to train and mentor them, it’s very rewarding.
I would recommend to any young professional to try to learn other aspects in their department if they have the chance. It has been very helpful to me as we have transitioned to a new team and a new home, and it makes you a very valuable person to the organization.
Don’t have an attitude of, “it’s not my job”, instead look at those opportunities as a way to expand your knowledge base in your organization. Be a lifelong learner. Many of us helped pave the way for YP programs today and I can tell you first hand if you put in the work it will propel your career and your life.
To this day I read business articles and follow creative people and pages on social media. I love what you have created with CUltivate. My belief is you never know what can inspire your next idea. This coupled with a hunger to continue to improve my professional and personal life, has opened many doors for me, and it has not been easy. I’ve worked nights, weekends, and am to a point in my life that I’m working smarter and balancing my family time with my workload.
CUltivate is people helping people with our mission to spread the word, connect the people, and give an outlet to share your stories. Know someone in the industry we should interview? Drop us a line at CultivateYP@gmail.com