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CRASHED and Promoted!

Updated: Apr 8, 2019

We had the chance to sit down with Hayley Vanderpool from Serve credit Union. Hayley recently CRASHED the Iowa Credit Union League Convention and shortly after, she received a promotion to Member Outreach Coordinator! #CUltivateTheMovement

Tell me about your time as a Crasher? What were your expectations going into Crash and how did they change?

When I was nominated by my branch manager to apply for Crasher, I was still in my “I love my job, but it’s just a job” phase. So I really had to push myself and put in some time to convince myself and others that I was the right person for this opportunity.

There was a lot of anticipation and excitement leading up to convention as we started hearing from Jodi and our mentors. Everyone telling us, “This experience can really change it all for you”. And although I believed that could happen, I certainly didn’t assume it would happen to me.

When I showed up to the hotel that day, I still wasn’t sure. There were a lot of different personalities, all there for their own purpose and goals (and I had no idea what mine was, which intimidated me!) But everything changed the second we arrived at Habitat for Humanity, because at that moment, we were all there for the same purpose, with the same goals. And we all at least knew one thing about the credit union movement, and that was “People Helping People”. I will forever be grateful for the time spent at Habitat Restore. I bonded with the “demolishers”, the “organizers” and the “builders” and was able to appreciate what every Crasher brought to the room. The bus ride to Habitat was completely unrecognizable from the bus ride back to the hotel, it was the start of us becoming a team, and eventually, a little family!

The rest of Crash never slowed and never disappointed. We were pushed out of our comfort zones to speak to business owners, to mingle with CEO’s and to dance…with nobody or anybody! There was an energy within our Crashers that seemed to excite an entire room, which was incredible to be a part of. Now don’t get me wrong, I learned A LOT from the guest speakers (I also learned that it was okay to disagree with someone who had a microphone) and seminars, a lot of which I was able to take back to my credit union. I learned that it was okay to not know my purpose yet, but to never stop searching for your “why”.

But the most important thing that I learned through my experience with Crash is this much bigger picture that exists outside the 4 walls of my credit union. I didn’t know that it was normal or valuable to cultivate friendships with the “competition”. I didn’t even know that as an MSR, it was appropriate for me to seek these friendships and connections. And I quickly realized to never say that I was “Just an MSR”. Because becoming a Crasher immediately gave me this new platform to stand on. People within the industry began knowing my name, they heard my story, they knew I could do the worm and play cornhole, and they cared about my goals.

I came back to my credit union with a 180-degree attitude. I was driven by passion, engagement and morale and was desperate to share with my peers and management. And although it fell flat sometimes, I knew that this new spirit of mine could eventually spark something in someone; maybe in a coworker, maybe in a member, and definitely in someone with this brand-new network that I got to create!

This experience really can change it all for you…

Congrats on the recent promotion, how did you get to the next level in your career?

Thank you! I 100% attribute the start of my success within my credit union to my experience as a Crasher. Like I said, I loved my job as an MSR, but it was just a job for me. I knew there was a marketing position, and I thought it looked like fun, but I had no reason to believe that I could bring any value to it. It wasn’t until I attended convention that I realized just how many different roles can be played within a credit union, and how positions can be tailored to an individual.

I expressed to my fellow crashers what I could see myself doing within the credit union and had an opportunity to talk to other individuals who were doing similar things, and I began to take notes. These notes, over the next couple of months, turned into my perfect job description. With the passion I had packed up from convention, I prepared a presentation for my branch manager and CEO to ask that this position be considered and created. Before I had the opportunity to present, the Marketing Manager put in his 2 weeks and my CEO took the time to re-brand the marketing position. As luck would have it, she created the Member Outreach Coordinator, with a job description that matched mine.

The next couple months of the interview process was stressful and nerve-wracking. I watched other people come in and interview for the position, I saw the position get shared on social media, and my stomach turned every single time. But then I realized, I had the upper hand. I realized that I was interviewing for this position every single day I stepped into the office, and every interaction with the members and my coworkers was making an impression. Every new idea and every creative project that I brought to them was proving a point about myself.

Confidence in myself was solidified during my 2nd interview when I had a wonderful discussion with my branch manager and CEO. They explained to me their desire for someone who was creative, for someone who could do things that their brains simply couldn’t do. And that’s when I knew that I was who they were looking for. Because in an industry where arts and crafts and hair brained ideas didn’t seem as obvious as finance and loans, I had found my place.

I am 3 months into my new position and absolutely adore what I do every single day. My position allows me to be involved with the League and advocacy, event planning, designing, volunteering, and spending much needed time with our members. Serve Credit Union is the only place that my money has ever known, since I was 10 years old. And never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would have a career in making this place as special to others as it is to me.

Staying involved post crash is key what are some things you have been involved with?

Staying involved post crash has been much easier than I was expecting, simply because the opportunities are always around to be involved. We created a GroupME chat that allows the Crashers, mentors and a few key role models to stay in contact. We use this chat to pose questions, develop ideas, and engage in opportunities with each other. Chapter meetings have also been a wonderful avenue to stay involved. Although these aren’t a huge opportunity to network and spend time, they are a great way to just check in and keep other’s in your chapter accountable for involvement.

The best way that I have found to stay involved is through the League’s Emerging Leaders Connection. I am so grateful for this group, because their one and only goal is to keep us connected. These round tables provide young professionals with tools and new approaches to advance in the credit union industry, and offer incredible discussion to help us succeed. But if I am being completely honest, my favorite thing about the Emerging Leaders Connection is knowing that I am going to run into familiar and some of my most favorite faces in the industry!

What struggles are there today for you specifically as a young professional or your role at the credit union? How do you overcome these?

My biggest struggle in my current position and as a young professional is that I am the only one in my credit union who does this role, and it is a new role; so I am doing my best to develop this position into what I think it should be and what my CEO hoped it would be. The opportunity to bounce ideas around with others is slim to none within my 4 walls simply because I do not have a team to collaborate with. Along with that, my supervisors and my board of directors are from a much different background than I am, with different approaches to success, so there’s just a bit of a gap between how things are currently done and how I would like to do them.

With all that being said, I am very fortunate to work for a credit union that embraces change and new ideas! I do not feel any pressure or judgement from my supervisors and board to perform a certain way due to me being a young professional. There is the argument of “generations” and their differences in the workplace, and I don’t experience that in the slightest. We all have the same goals, and we just have to understand that it is okay to reach these goals in different ways!

What’s next for you?

My biggest goal right now is to make this new position successful and completely my own. I know my CEO had dreams for the Member Outreach Coordinator and has entrusted me to follow through, so that is what I plan to do, with my own spin and surprises! Beyond that, I want to be an inspiration. I have taken the greatest joy in watching myself become something in this movement that I never thought possible, and I want that for my team as well! I plan on applying for the mentor position at convention, for the opportunity to watch other’s grow and find their place!

As you can see, Crashing was an amazing experience for Hayley and we know you would love it too! Crashing applications for the Iowa Credit Union League Convention should be out in the coming months and there are other opportunities through the Cooperative Trust now!

CUltivate is people helping people with our mission to spread the word, connect the people, and give an outlet to share your stories.


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