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A Direct Line Blog

Engaging the Next Generation

March 10, 2021 7:30 am

By Donya Parrish, MCU VP–Risk Management

One of the ongoing themes of discussion in credit unions is where to find new board members when you have your next opening. That theme is followed closely by the conversation of how to engage the younger generation in credit unions. Yes, we want their ideas, energy, and tech-savvy spirit, but where do you find them?

I came across an idea in this article that might have a solution to both issues. Montana State University’s Leadership Insitute has a mentorship program called Boardroom Bobcats, which places student leaders on the boards of local non-profits. They explained that the “program provides students practical boardroom experience, familiarity with the nonprofit sector, mentee opportunities and lifelong leadership skills. In return, nonprofit boards gain the perspectives and service of university students.”

There is no reason a credit union couldn’t look at a similar program. By collaborating with a local university, community college, or young professionals group, you could find an eager pool of younger individuals who are generally looking for practical experience to add to their resume and knowledge base.

According to the article, MSU’s program has some additional support and requirements for the students who sign up. “[I]n addition to regular board meetings, Boardroom Bobcats undertake specific projects for their boards and participate in a variety of virtual professional development trainings, which are designed to develop their leadership skills as active board members.”

This sounds like a win-win for both parties and I hope your credit union will consider it!

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