Q: How can I move up in my career when I live in a small rural location?

Credit Union Young Leader:
Mark Gorman, MBA, FCUIC
Marketing Manager

Credit Union:
NBTA Credit Union, NB

A: One thing I’ve learned through working with Credit Union people from coast-to-coast, is that most Credit Unions, both urban and rural, are supportive of developing their employees personally and professionally. However, sometimes you have to take the initiative to find opportunities to develop yourself. Perhaps in a small, rural location or small Credit Union, taking initiative for your own career development may be more important in the absence of career options available in immediate sight.

On the education side of things, there are several opportunities through CUSource such as the National Mentorship Program and the new eLeadership Academy, both of which I would personally recommend, and other specific programs to sharpen your skills and knowledge. There are also several great online or blended programs through Canadian universities and specialty training providers. NBTA Credit Union, for example, supported my efforts to earn my MBA from a local university but it was only after I was accepted and had shown the initiative to go through the application process myself. Also, try to think outside of your current job description. If you work in retail lending for example, why not learn about how the deposit, wealth management, or commercial side of the business works?

Finally, I would recommend seeing if there are opportunities to get involved with your Board or with your Central. Some of the most rewarding learning and experience I’ve received while working in the Credit Union system has been working on projects with my Board, my Central’s Regional Marketing committee, and with CCUA’s National Young Leaders Committee. There are opportunities out there wherever you live; sometimes you just have to look a little harder if you’re in a smaller location or credit union! Having said that, when you find you have exhausted opportunities for growth locally, you may eventually have to face the reality of A) relocation for the right opportunity or B) considering a change of career.