Where Will Your Next Leader Come From?

If there’s one thing that’s absolutely certain for every organization it’s this: The key to sustainability is adequately preparing the next generation of leaders. No organization can survive without competent, equipped, passionate young leaders.

For the Credit Union industry to not only have a place in the future economy, but to assume its role as an essential driver of the future economy, we must develop an industry-wide culture that anticipates and creates the future, rather than just reacting to it. We must create a culture of accessibility, accomplishment, accountability, innovation, and excellence. To do so requires current leaders to look beyond today and wisely elevate and prepare the next generation of leaders.

This is equally true for our industry as whole as it is for individual Credit Unions. So, as leaders, it’s wise for us to constantly be asking, “Howconfident am I that when it comes time to pass the torch, I’ll have someone to pass it to?”

It’s no secret that leadership development and succession planning have long been a challenge for Credit Unions across the country. The challenge isn’t in convincing current leaders that leadership development is important. Credit Union executives know that few things are more important to the future of our Credit Unions than the development of our future leaders. The challenge has been in effectively training leaders specifically for the Credit Union industry, and setting them on a well-articulated career development path. This kind of preparation involves both theory and hands-on experience. It must combine practical operational training with the development of leadership skills in a structure that allows future leaders to apply their training today while imagining future possibilities.

It’s a tall order. Which is probably why it hasn’t existed – until recently. 

The Mountain West Credit Union Foundation’s Executive Leadership Program is a signature program created to support the training and development of the future leaders of the Credit Union Movement.

The Executive Leadership Program (ELP), now in its 7th year,was created to effectively prepare the next generation of Credit Union CEOs and executivesfor tomorrow’s challenges and provide them with the tools they need to pursue their passion for serving members.

Each year, a total of three recipients are selected to participate in the Leadership Program – one from each of the three Mountain West states (Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming). Once selected, the recipients dive into a five-year program where they are immersed in organizational leadership, credit union philosophy, and credit union operations along with mentoring and coaching from top credit union leaders.

This year the Foundation will select three more scholars to begin the journey.  The nomination process includes the submission of a nomination form, a letter of recommendation, a set of assessments, and interviews for finalists.  Once selected, the scholars will join the ranks of this high-powered training group and will receive more than $20,000 of funding over the next five-year period as they prepare themselves to become a senior level Credit Union leader.

The deadline for nomination is November 30, 2018.  Learn more about this exclusive program and how you can nominate a candidate in your credit union.

Snapshot of the ELP Program

Scholars selected for the Mountain West Credit Union Foundation’s Executive Leadership Program will receive $20,000 of full funding for five years of Credit Union leadership development.  The program’s curriculum is divided into four quadrants:

Quadrant 1:  Mountain West Credit Union Leadership Institute

The Leadership Institute is about providing practical preparation that equips future leaders to lead with confidence.The Institute’s in-depth series of workshops is designed to help participants identify, define, and resolve leadership challenges that Credit Unions face every day. Participation is interactive and requires participants to work together to come up with solutions to common problem.

Quadrant 2:  Credit Union Development Education (DE) Training

DE Training is about understanding how every employee plays a meaningful role in the future success of Credit Unions.The program immerses students in the history, philosophy and issues that directly impact the way that credit unions operate. The program uses experiential learning and collaboration with bright minds from within and around the credit union industry to promote social responsibility, cooperative principles, and the practical philosophy of “People Helping People”.

Quadrant 3:  Western CUNA Management School

Western CUNA Management School is about teaching students to lead with both passion and compassion. The program is filled with exercises that promote the organization of ideas and collaborative problem solving that spans all members of a Credit Union team – not just those in higher ranks. The curriculum covers Strategic Planning, Operations, Finance, Marketing, Lending, Human Resources, Technology, Business Development, Economics, Business Law, Communications, Leadership, and much more.

Quadrant 4:  Mentoring and Coaching

The Mentoring and Coaching that Executive Leadership scholarsreceive is about encouraging them to grow towards their full, unique potential.

The Executive Leadership Program is strenuous and demanding. We know candidates are up to the challenge, but assigning a professional coach and mentor to help guide them is one of the most powerful aspects of this program. The coach chosen for each candidate ensures they stay on track, sharpens their skills, and provides encouragement to dig deeper and stretch boundaries. Once classroom training is complete, candidates are paired with a current credit union leader to serve as a mentor and help them apply their knowledge to real-world situations. Mentors guide students to identify and resolve current issues that require action at the executive level, providing invaluable practical, executive management experience.

Ready to begin?

Applying to the Foundation Executive Leadership Program is easy:

  • Fill out the 2019 program application by: November 30, 2018
  • Get a letter of recommendation from your credit union’s chief executive officer
  • Submit your application and letter of recommendation by the deadline posted

Learn more about this exclusive program and how you can nominate a candidate in your credit union, the next generation starts now!


About Dan Finerty

Dan Finerty is the Director of Marketing at the Mountain West Credit Union Association, a Credit Union champion, a Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE), and an award-winning marketer. Dan has over 14 years of marketing experience in communications, retail, packaged goods, and, of course, Credit Unions. He believes that Credit Unions have an incredible story to tell and works with some of the brightest Credit Union professionals to help promote Credit Unions to the public. Dan holds two Bachelor’s of Science in Marketing and in Management. He is also a swell guy.

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