Q: What have you done to set yourself up to move into leadership?

Credit Union Young Leader:
Ericka Hewitt
AVP, Channel Effectiveness & Corporate Planning

Credit Union:
Coastal Community Credit Union

A: Credit Union employees have access to a diverse and extensive suite of leadership programs, tools, and resources. To maximize the impact these tools can make on your personal leadership development, it’s vital to be courageous, curious, and committed to life-long learning.

Here are a few tips that have made a lasting impact upon my leadership journey in the Credit Union system:

  • Seek out opportunities to participate in system-wide initiatives and programs
    For example, my exposure to the National Young Leaders Committee began at a think-tank session held in Vancouver. I was then given the opportunity to be a mentee during the inaugural cycle of the National Mentorship program. In 2010, I became a member of the NYLC; and today, I’m a proud member of the NYLC Alumni community. All of these experiences helped to broaden my understanding of the Credit Union system, and to create a strong network of contacts from across the country.
  • Push yourself out of your comfort zone, and bring ideas forward
    From presenting at the National Credit Union Conference, to sharing my thoughts on a variety of strategic topics with the Executive team at Coastal Community, all of these opportunities have come with a certain amount of nervousness. But the reward at the end of the day is an increased sense of pride in what I do, and the contributions I make within my Credit Union.
  • Be a sponge
    Seek out opportunities to work with various departments and senior managers in your organization. Learn from their leadership experiences. Take time to listen and ask good questions.

The single biggest lesson I have learned throughout my 12 years in the system is that leadership development is a life-long journey; there’s no “one size fits all,” and there’s no secret recipe to success. Perseverance and determination is key. Express your interest in leadership development and reach out to those around you to hear their stories. And last but certainly not least, enjoy the journey!