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Michael Murdoch - Unprecedented Passion

Been there done that would be an understatement for all that Michael Murdoch has accomplished throughout his Credit Union journey as a young professional. Confident, passionate, and above all, still giving everything he has to improve the future of the Credit Union industry. Michael is very appreciative of his opportunities and is determined to help others and his community. It was a privilege to sit down with Michael and discuss his journey and perspective.

Tell us about your credit union journey - how did it start and how did you get to where you are today?

One of my favorite things about this movement (and I have many) is that often when I meet a fellow credit unioner, it inevitably comes up that neither one of us sought out a credit union career. In fact, in many ways, it was the credit union career that sought us. Of course, I knew not what I wanted to do in all the time beforehand. I graduated from the University of Oregon with degrees in theatre and in military history – clearly, I wanted to be a US Civil War reenactor. No, but frankly, it wasn’t until the wonderful happenings during and around 2008 when I was laid off from retail and somehow landed myself a marketing position with a Portland, OR area credit union. I wasn’t averse to credit unions; I’d been a member of Oregon Community Credit Union (then U Lane O) since birth. As most do, I still called them “banks” – to the chagrin of my hiring manager – and knew very little about the structure, philosophy, or otherwise.

Within months, I was hooked. One of our go-to terms, my “Kool-aid” moment occurred therein (read about it on!) I met people from all over the country, with whom I identified with immediately. I Crashed the GAC in 2017, developed my own financial education program for undeserved youth, and made life-long mentors and friends so quickly, my head was spinning. I am where I am today because I knew so little about the industry. I am where I am today because when I had mere sips of this this movement and witnessed the magic of “People Helping People,” the commitment and passion of my colleagues from around the world, and the willingness to bend banking rules to change the life of someone I knew I would never meet…I was sold for life. I am where I am today because the credit union industry is the greatest in human existence – it was an easy sell.

I swear executives look for people who don’t even know what a credit union is, this does happen all the time. I have read a lot of your published material on CUinsight, and it is excellent, how did this start?

A couple of years ago, I found myself stewing over the daily conundrum us credit union marketers think about late at night: how do we educate the masses on the credit union difference? Well, I couldn’t sleep, and what I tend to do when I have trouble sleeping is…write. So, I poured out my thoughts and feelings onto LinkedIn. I was seeking an ear? A voice, maybe? Or; as many of us do, we turn our frustrations over to social media. Well, the result wasn’t anything mind-blowing. However, I was/am an avid reader of CUinsight. I recall meeting Robbie Young at the GAC when I Crashed and thought, ‘Heck, why not send this over and see if I can get it posted on the forum section or something alike.

Robbie is so great. She not only guided me to the right spot, but soon asked if I’d like to be a contributor to the community articles. I didn’t flinch. Yes. How can more YP's get involved in writing and getting their message out there? The answer is to simply just ask. I am rarely surprised by the passion and commitment of our young professionals – they are truly the superheroes and the real skeleton, muscle, and heart of this movement. I have nothing but respect for the leadership of this world’s financial cooperatives, but it is our YPs that are the future, and to them I bow first. Ask them, and you will have interest, support, readers, writers, CEOs (Lauren Culp is a classic example!) Are you a YP that wants to advance, has ideas, or...whatever? I am in your corner.

YP’s Helping YP’s… PREACH… You have been the President of the Oregon YP Professionals for a few years now, what have you been able to accomplish?

The Young Credit Union Professionals of Oregon and SW Washington is an incredible organization, and well before my presidency, my board and our members have moved relative mountains. I’ve served YCUP since late 2016 and it has gifted me some of the greatest wisdom in leadership, career development, defeat, friendship, and professionalism. YCUP accomplishes amazing things. Follow us and learn more about the YP movement in the PNW at What are YP's still struggling with today? YPs struggle with the same things every credit unioner struggles with – there is relative difference in the drive between, say, a CFO at a gigantic shop and a passionate member consultant at the single location around the corner. However, there are more serious issues at hand for YPs in recognition, voice, and advancement (will get to that in a minute) but leadership discounts YPs at their own peril.

I’ve seen young professionals fall out of the sky – many who’ve fought beside me among the ranks of our highest officials in change and advancement for our members and communities – and turn to other organizations because their efforts were left unheard, unkempt, or worse, dismissed. All of our ideas, from Nussle to nobody, are valuable enough to be scrutinized or ignored. We work shoulder to shoulder in a space where “cooperative” often feels foreign, and that’s a bummer.

Tell me about your involvement with CUNA and how others can do to use all the resources and programs that CUNA offers.

My passion is relatively unprecedented, almost to a fault. Us movement-sworn, trust the process die-hards often say, I yam what I yam. Although, I will not bend or break when it comes to supporting the forward momentum of this industry simply because I have an idea to perhaps improve something, criticize something, share something. My ideas are so often spawned from our associations, amazing vendors, and one another. In my first year as a credit unioner, and as I rode that honeymooning steed (I have to be honest; I think it’s still going strong and yes all of this sounds so wrong, yet so right) with credit unions, suddenly – WOW - I was introduced to National Credit Union Youth Month.

My first year managing CU Youth Month, I met so many incredible people at CUNA: Ariel Bilskey, Julie Lang, then Jeremy Tucker, the list goes on. The support from our National Association, is unprecedented, to use the word again. Our CU that year won the national savings contest, had over $12k in deposits (a lot for a little CU!) and opened nearly 100 new youth accounts. That was it for me. I quickly became a Youth Month Mentor. Within time, I joined the CUNA Diamond Awards Judges. I serve on the Marketing and Business Development crew. Shy of bragging further, CUNA is an astoundingly fabulous organization. CUNA is hip and connected. CUNA is vital and all of us must look to them for advice, share with them our ventures and practices, and hold them true as our leadership hub. Visit this instant and involve yourself, for the resources and networking opportunities are abundant.

Incredible! Diving in and continuing to push yourself, this is great. Your social media is very strong, especially on LinkedIn, showcasing all your awards and achievements - what have you done to make sure your social media is not only relevant but also carries your personal brand?

Social media is not the best representative of oneself, but it’s been a valuable tool for sharing successes or otherwise. I stay relevant by doing the job I am passionate about. My personal brand lies within those that I have met and have networked with; I stand solely on my reputation in what I’ve done. On the other hand, I’ve been more vocal in the last few years regarding achievement, simply because I’m completely insecure and struggle from imposter syndrome.

I’ve learned to embrace that because these are real issues YPs do struggle with and it would be lovely to address them openly. Social media is a place that I’ve found caters well to professional openness and otherwise. I love following magical personalities like Rachel Pross, Jill Nowacki, Tansley Stearns, Maria Martinez, and so many others. I’m a bit stumped on the “strong” reference regarding my presence on social. For some reason, people like what I post...still trying to put a finger on that one. I suppose my advice for anyone wondering 'why' is to never give up on showcasing the industry, one another, and most importantly, yourself.

Personally, and because you asked, I feel like your social media stands out because it is factual, confident, and really shows who you are. Tell us a bit more about your community involvement.

I appreciate that Chris, honestly, I am just trying to help people. Outside of the credit union, I volunteer for the Oregon Food Bank, the Pacific Food Bank, Solve, Junior Achievement, and a number of others. As credit unioners, we are designed for community service, and during these times especially, we have to be involved, we must put in the time. I stand fast and stand to with our cooperative natures in thinking of our communities first, this moment, at night, in the morning, and in every step we make.

I look up to so many people in this industry and they push me to be better each and every day. My Chief Experience Officer, John Moore. He’s without a doubt one of the more brilliant people I’ve ever known. I look up to my friend, Troy Stang, who teaches me that agility and honesty are components of good business. I look up to Greg Mitchell of First Tech for calling every single one of his employees on their birthdays. Sarah Buck,President of the Cascadia Chapter of Credit Unions here in Oregon, for embracing the social presence. Mary Vasquez of Point West for being an advocate for those we continue to deem voiceless. Tiffany Pillars of Providence for her commanding draw and leadership. Nick Fugal of Clarity CU in Idaho for basically walking on water. Seth Schaefer of Rivermark for taking reigns with fervor and showing us all what it means to be a champion of our members. Christopher Morris for exuding Lois. Last but not least, to those who serve on my YCUP Board, who seem to be bullet proof and riddled with amazingness. My sincere thanks for thinking of me, Chris. Cheers and stay safe!

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


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