Christina Salemi - Social Media Guru
Updated: Sep 3, 2019
We finally met Christina Salemi at the CUNA YP conference. We have been huge supporters of hers for years given her strong social media presence for the movement and after meeting her we were blown away with how much she does for up and coming professionals. Christina has been a part of the credit union industry for 5 years and in that time she has become a CUDE, a CRASH mentor, and a Committee Member for the Children’s Miracle Network 2025 Committee. Christina is kind, intelligent, encouraging, and driven to help elevate YP’s in the industry. She has such a passion for helping the youth and it is contagious to be around. Christina is the social media guru behind CUNA and we were lucky enough to get the chance to chat with her!
How did you get your start in the credit union industry and what keeps you here?
I started working for CUNA in 2014 – so I’ve been in the movement for almost five years. Up until taking my position, I didn’t really know too much about credit unions. However, over the course of my career I’ve gained a much deeper understanding of credit unions, and other financial institutions. Lately, what’s been keeping me involved are the other young professionals I’ve met along the way. It’s reassuring to know there are other professionals in the same field that are going through the same thing as you and are motivated to make a difference. I’m an avid supporter of investing in young talent early on in their careers. It’s a win for both the employee and employer.
You beam with pride when talking about being a DE – tell us why we should all become one and what was the biggest thing you learned while attending that training?
I’ve wanted to become a CUDE ever since I joined CUNA. After going through training in April 2018 - with the best class ever - I learned several things. First, there’s good people out there who want to help you make your financial dreams come true. Second, it’s not just a professional growth but a personal one as well. Third, it’s the longest/shortest week of your life. And finally, trust the process! The CUDE program focuses on exploring the “why” and purpose of credit unions. The week long training allows you to escape your daily distractions and work obligations by focusing on why we do what we do. It’s a transformative training that will stay with you forever!
Tell us your experience with CRASHing conventions? (What have you crashed and what did you take away from that experience)
Since I work for CUNA I can’t ‘technically’ crash an event. However, I unofficially crash crasher events at CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC). During my first CUNA GAC in 2015, I was astonished to see that I was a minority (age wise) among attendees. Luckily, James Marshall (who was the crash mentor at the time) took me under his wing and let me hang out with him and 50 crashers. Ever since then I’ve been passionate about getting involved with the crasher program and recognize the importance of getting young professionals involved with CUNA’s advocacy efforts. They are our best advocates!
You have also been a mentor; tell us about that experience and why it was important to you to do?
I was a crash mentor at CUNA’s 2019 America’s Credit Union Conference (ACUC) with Lauren Culp from the Filene Research Institute. It was great to meet 15 future leaders and hear what they’re experiencing on the front lines assisting our members. It was also satisfying to hear they enjoyed the ‘VIP’ meet and greet sessions I arranged with CUNA senior staff. I like to use my connections at CUNA to help other YPs network and succeed in their positions. And most of all, make their conference experience enjoyable! I’m excited to be a crash mentor at CUNA and WOCCU’s joint international conference in July 2020.
You are also involved in the CMN 2025 group. How did you become a part of that and what are you taking away from that experience?
My colleague, Felicity Guerin who use to work for CU 4 Kids, nominated me for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Project 2025 committee. It’s been great to be part of a group of aspiring leaders who want to make a bigger impact within the movement. Right now, we’re researching ideas to help revolutionize how credit unions can fund raise for CU 4 Kids in the future. Our hope is to have CU 4 Kids be the number one fundraising entity for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
What would you like to see change in the credit union industry?
I would like to see more technological advancements be made and younger people take leadership roles – both of which are fundamental to the future of our movement. Banks are investing so much of their money into mobile apps, payment services (e.g., Venmo, PayPal, payments in Facebook or Snapchat), websites and it’s paying off! Credit unions need to take immediate and urgent action in order to stay relevant and grow! Having younger professionals in leadership roles will allow for more change and innovation within the movement.
Tell us a bit about what you are involved in outside the CU industry?
Besides being a wife to a Veteran, and a mom to a golden retriever – I like to travel, hang out with family and friends, and keep up with pop culture. I also get involved with my husband’s Army National Guard unit. The process for enrolling in College courses can be difficult, so I have been helping some soldiers and their wives in navigating through the different applications and forms that need to be submitted for educational benefits from the VA.
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