Q: To improve your value to both customers and your organization, what professional development courses are most valuable in the early stages of your employment?

Credit Union Young Leader:
Matthew Beckett, BCom, CFP, FCSI, FCUIC
Private Wealth Advisor

Credit Union:
Coastal Community Credit Union

A: My major focus from a professional development perspective was on public speaking and networking. I started by joining “toastmasters”. I also took every opportunity to present at branch meetings and executive presentations from committees so I could refine my skills in speaking and presenting. My role, like many that are member facing in the Credit Union system, uses a lot of jargon. Speaking clearly and (in most cases) in layman’s terms is the best way to empower your members so they make better informed financial decisions.

Another skill builder was joining networking groups. Attending these groups helped to get my name out there in the community and somewhat forced me to get out of my comfort zone. Some of the networks I set up early became major referral sources as we grew up together through our careers – some have become really good friendships too.

Over the years some things haven’t changed… I have rejoined toastmasters, continued to participate in our Young Professionals group, become a Rotarian, and have a goal of one public speaking engagement each month. Credit Union leadership is an ongoing skill that continually needs to be practiced and improved.