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A Direct Line Blog

Bringing Young Professionals On (the) Board

August 18, 2021 7:30 am

By Donya Parrish, MCU VP-Risk Management

I read an article recently that not only made some excellent points, but also offers a solution to the leadership void our industry will have in the future. The Triple Win of Young Professionals Serving as Board Members makes valid arguments to bring credit union young professionals onto your board, but also leaves me a little baffled since they would have to come from another credit union. Let’s start with the reasoning around the benefits of having directors who are credit union professionals and talk about my question later.

Author Bill Kennedy notes the three “wins” for bringing credit union young professionals to your board. They include

  1. learning “key skills from board service that they can’t learn in middle management roles, including strategic planning, budgeting, and how a board works with the senior management team;”
  2. offering “the incredible benefit that credit unions get from having people with fresh perspectives — and knowledge about things like technology — at the board table;” and
  3. having “young people serve as credit union directors not only strengthens today’s board governance but also prepares them to lead the industry as the expected wave of executive retirements continues.”

Amazing reasons to do it, right? Now my big question — how do you find a young professional credit union employee from a “non-competing credit union” in Montana? Any board member candidate has to be a member of the credit union to run for the board, so that typically requires them to live in the same area and be familiar enough with the community the credit union serves to be a successful board member. With expanding fields of membership, multiple credit unions serve most counties in our state now and are technically “competing.”

I would love your feedback and thoughts on this, so drop me an email if you would like to discuss this further. We had a previous blog noting the benefits of a younger focus on your board as a way to engage that generation. I’ll be highlighting a few examples from around the state in the coming weeks of some programs that your peers are using, so stay tuned for more on this topic!

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