Julia Michalec - Leader and Mentor
Updated: Aug 21, 2019
It is extremely gratifying when you see someone who continually puts in the work, shows up, and ultimately gets rewarded both personally and professionally. I have had the absolute privilege to get to know Julia Michalec, hear her goals, see her push herself, and watch her grow into a leader and a mentor. Julia gives high praise to her peers, her CRASH group, her team, her boss, her credit union, and the Iowa Credit Union League but we think the praise really belongs to her. She has absolutely maximized her experiences pushing herself before, during, and after CRASHING ICUL Convention to continually grow in her career. She is an inspiration to many, has accomplished a lot in a very short amount of time, and above all she encourages everyone to get involved and stay involved all while leading by example showing up and putting in the work.
How has your role at the Credit Union expanded, what led to this?
My role at the credit union has evolved immensely since starting over 2 years ago. I went from being a part of the front line as an MSR to transitioning into a lending role. I came from the banking world so when I learned the real difference between a bank and credit union my interest grew, initiating my personal growth. I’ve also grown into a leader within my office and I credit a lot of that to the league, other young professionals in the state, and the events/training's that have been available. I would encourage everyone to take part in these events and training's as the depth of the content can really set you up to have career and personal growth. I am lucky to have a CEO who supports my involvement outside of the office and I always try to bring back content and motivation others can use within the Credit Union.
You have been very involved in the CU movement, what events and people have helped with your growth?
My growth is partially credited to all the Emerging Leaders Connection (ELC) Events the Iowa Credit Union league puts on. I have met so many other YPs in the industry and we all help each other grow. I urge other YP’s to keep in mind that so much of growth happens after these events, staying in contact and building a professional network has been key for me and my growth. If you have an elite speaker you saw, tell them how much it impacted you. If you meet a leader in the industry stay in contact with them and pick their brain. At CRASH 2018 our growth did not start until we got back to our Credit Union the following Monday. We were given the tools and resources at CRASH but it was all on us individually and collectively to make the most of our experience once we got back into the office. In addition, a lot of my growth has come from the awesome team I get to work with at Metco. My CEO and teammates push me every day to become a better employee and person and I wouldn’t be where I am today without their guidance and encouragement.
We’re approaching a year since you CRASHED ICUL, what did this experience do for you and what has changed since?
Crashing convention opened my eyes to what the credit union industry is. I knew it was something special but being able to experience it on a completely different level really proved to me that I am where I’m supposed to be. I am so thankful for the opportunity I got to be a CRASHER and it changed my daily work. In 3 days I developed such a passion for what I get to do daily and sharing it with not only my team, but my members has truly been an honor.
Diving deeper, CRASHING convention took me outside of my comfort zone and helped build confidence I needed to continue to be successful. I went into day one nervous and shy and I left convention being comfortable walking up to someone I’ve never met before and striking up a conversation. It not only affected my career but helped me build life skills I’ll need for the future.
I love that your major takeaway was what you do after CRASH, what is next for Julia?
There’s a lot coming up in the next 6 months that I’m excited about. First off, I was selected to be a Mentor at convention this year and guide the 2019 CRASHER'S. I am looking forward to sharing my experience with them and help them get the most out of the opportunity they have been given. We really have a great group this year! Being a 2018 CRASHER opened the door to a lot of opportunities for me to grow into a leader within the industry. After my own CRASH experience, I was more eager and open to attending events and training's; giving me the push I needed to want to become a mentor and role model to other YPs in the industry. I’m hoping my journey and story will give others the encouragement they need to push themselves to be something bigger within their own credit unions. I want to not only tell my story but also help create stories for the 2019 CRASHER Group.
I am also looking forward to taking on additional responsibilities within the Metco office. We have an employee transitioning out due to retirement in early 2020 and I am ready to play a bigger role within Metco’s lending department. Had it not been for my team’s support, the connections I have made and my experiences I would not be in this position today. I urge everyone to get involved and stay involved.
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