Daizey Kinn, branch manager at the Valley CU branch in Roundup, was Montana’s 2020 Crasher at the GAC. Now that she’s back and full of knowledge, we asked her a few questions about her experience.
How did you go about doing your video applications? Were you creative or did you stick to the basics?
My video was embarrassing! I was so nervous and I took it so many times. I wish I had the ability to redo it because it truly makes you cringe! That being said, I would definitely love to help anyone in the future with a better video than mine. The best advice I have is to think about what you are passionate about and what you want to get out of the GAC.
How did your credit union respond when you were selected to go? I assume they were ecstatic! But did you have some older co-workers question what this was you were going to or was most everyone up to speed on what goes on at the GAC?
So the story of me applying and getting accepted is actually really cool. Darla Card, our CEO, sent the application email to our whole YP group and I had replied to it asking if it was something we really could apply for. She said yes! Then about a week or two went by and she replied to the same emailing telling me that the deadline was coming up so I needed to get my app in! It was like a sign! So that same day I threw together a poorly made video (see above) and talked about my passion and what I love about my company and how I want to set an example for my daughters. THEN the waiting started. As soon as I got the email that I was accepted I forwarded it to Darla and my boss Casey Klein with the words in all caps “I GOT IT!!!!” Darla’s immediate reply was “I knew but was sworn to secrecy!” The company was so great. Darla sent an email to everyone with a nice little blurb about me and how I would be representing Valley on the national stage at the GAC. It truly was and is a moment I am so proud of.
While you were there, what were your day-to-day activities like?
I think there are two different types of GAC conferences honestly. There is the GAC that most execs attend to network, gather info, etc. Annnd then there is the CRASHER GAC, which is a whole other ballgame. I had no idea what I was going to be doing. Honestly. All I knew was that it was life-changing. My day started before the sun was up EVERY DAY. We would have breakfast as a crasher fam usually and then would immediately start with life-changing info. The first day we heard from Courtney Angeley about Filene and The Cooperative Trust; Andrea Finley about D. E. and I.**, which had all of us moved to tears; Ben Baur about Innovation and Mindset, and, then, Becca Davies from Visa and our elevator pitch. This is DAY 1. The rest of the days were just as full, just as meaningful, and just as EXHAUSTING in the best way. As a crasher you are at the GAC to have a life-changing experience.
What was the most valuable thing you feel you have learned from this experience?
I took away so much from the GAC. I actually get emotional speaking about it. A couple things have stuck to me as I settle back into my routine outside the GAC. Andy Jannings spoke to us one morning and he said, “If you want to run fast, run by yourself. If you want to run far, stick together.” That really resonated with all of us. We are a family now. We have a group chat with 60+ people that’s active every day. We really are trying to run far and stick together. We also had Antonio Neves speak to us. He said something to our group that actually moved me. He said, “Just because you’re good at something, doesn’t mean that’s where you’re supposed to be.” That’s resonated with me. I love my job and I am good at it! But what I am really passionate about is my community, my people, and I know my future is in doing those community development and advocacy projects. I really found my direction during the week of GAC.
What is a piece of advice you could give to anyone interested in attending the GAC?
The piece of advice I have to any future crasher is to live in that moment. Love the people around you, use your resources, be present. You’ll be tempted to want to get extra sleep or be on your phone; but to really get everything that’s being offered to you, you have to be present. My life is different because of that experience.
**Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion