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Leg Reg Update

This year’s Legislative & Regulatory Conference had a very different vibe to it, a confidence, and a unification. It was heavily attended by Credit Unions throughout the State of Iowa, Board Members, and also The Youth.

Having attended this Conference for the last 5 years I have never seen a crowd this young, this large, and this eager. ICUL once again had a CRASHer Program for 3 young professional to CRASH the Leg Reg Conference and get more involved in the movement. The agenda was packed full of economic updates, governmental bodies, taxation questions, and thought provoking panel discussions but what impressed me the most was the amount of Credit Union Employees who dedicated their lunch breaks and afternoons to show up and attend the hike the hill portion to talk to all our legislators about The Credit Union Difference. Nothing displays the People Helping People Philosophy more than dedicating your break to helping the greater good of Credit Union Advocacy, not to mention doing so during the middle of a snowstorm. The room got hot and crowded and it felt like a team. There were no captains, no egos, just everyone as one.

My key takeaway was the most valuable tool you have is your story. Talking about your Credit Union experience and how you have witnessed the “people helping people” philosophy in real life will resonate with elected leaders. Powerful stories about how Iowa Credit Unions are serving Iowa citizens and businesses will raise awareness and help impact policy issues. It is almost as if the elevator speech has been reinvented and its focus is now how this has had an impact on me and my life over the old school elevator speech of selling yourself.

Anytime I think of advocacy it has to be personal, it has to be brief, it has to come from the heart, and most of all it needs to be told to the masses. Not one legislator is going to change things, not one letter is going to change things, not one tweet is going to change things, we have an opportunity to tell our stories to the masses, have others tell their stories, form unification and stand as one as an industry that has nothing to hide.

I urge you to get involved no matter how awkward or intimidating it may be at first, it is worth it for the greater good. Politics is scary and intimidating but not as scary as sitting around and watching things happen. Change will happen inevitably, either be proud of being part of the change or sit back and adapt once the change happens. The choice is yours. 

-Chris Olson

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