Growing Season

Spring is in the air and I have been planning a new garden box and have been thinking about the lessons that are learned from growing a garden. From the planning stage through to harvest, there are successes and failures, but one thing is for sure, you are never in control.

At the beginning we can plan the perfect location, prepare our soil and then sow our seed when the time is just right. Once that seed sprouts we start to nurture, train and protect the plants as they grow to maturity and hopefully, we have a bountiful harvest. Of course, it isn’t that easy. From the time the seed is sown to maturity, there will be a number of challenges and obstacles in the way of that harvest. We are better equipped than ever in dealing with the challenges, but without control there will always be variable results. You can do everything “textbook” and still have a crop failure or you can give up and later find a flourishing plant; sometimes it just doesn’t matter.

A gardener can only create the conditions for growth and as long as those conditions are maintained the growth will continue. As leaders, we need to provide the right conditions and be agile enough to meet the evolving needs and be able to react to the changing environment around us.

Steven Schwartz
Prairie Centre CU

SYL and NYL working together!


The SYL Committee is pleased to be partnering with the National Young Leaders Committee at the 2016 National Conference for Canada’s Credit Unions.  This year the Conference is being held in our very own province.  The conference runs from May 1-4, 2016 at the TCU Place in Saskatoon.

The first days of the Conference focus on the CU NextGenTM Leadership Intensive.  The NextGenTM Leadership Intensive is an exciting leadership development program hosted by the NYL Committee.  It provides Canadian credit unions with a unique opportunity to develop their young and emerging leaders by preparing them to be next senior decision makers in our system.   The remaining days of the conference will feature keynote speakers, forum discussions and a trade show.

The SYL Committee’s involvement in the Conference will include:

  • A booth at the trade show
  • Volunteering throughout the conference, specifically NextGenTM events
  • Co-hosting an event with the NYL Committee on the evening of May 1 (open to all conference participants)

The SYL Committee would love to see you at the conference. Registration to the conference is filling up quickly.  For more information on the Conference, as well as registration please visit: The Conference booklet can be found on the website.

As always, feel free to reach out to any of our SYL Committee members with questions or comments:

Ashley Kennedy | SYL Chair | SaskCentral | | 306.566.7746
Naomi Seaborg | SYL Vice-Chair | Conexus CU| | 306.365.2254
Brittany Halkyard | Crossroads CU | | 306.547.3213
Chantelle Doratti | Affinity CU | | 306.657.6836
Darren Enns | Luseland CU | | 306.372.4444
Sheena Soke |Cornerstone CU | | 306.786.2254
Steven Schwartz | Prairie Centre CU | | 306.967.1212
Summer Allen | New Community CU | | 306.653.5134
Amy Bott | Admin Support | SaskCentral | | 306.566.1227

Against The Grain


What does it mean to be a leader? I think it means that sometimes you need to walk on your own by taking or even creating your own path. Not all great leaders are appreciated at first; well actually some are even made to feel like an outsider. You have to be strong and stay strong, comfortable with being uncomfortable and committed to what you believe in. Especially as young leaders, when people might judge you on your lack of experience, knowledge or skills.

It takes a strong individual willing to stay committed and always being true to themselves in all aspects of life whether in business or personal to set us apart from those that just want to be a part of the crowd. By being your truly authentic self you will inspire the same for others around you and start a ripple effect.

Never lose sight that you are a part of a team that requires you to lead the way. Of course it’s always important to be a great team contributor but as a leader you will stand out in a different way. Continue to encourage and be aware of the influence you have on others, your influence should be used as a way to help strengthen those around you. Leadership isn’t just about doing what you would expect to do as a leader, but taking the chances where you might fail in order to have success around you.

The advantage of going against the grain is not being tainted by past experiences or failures and not being afraid to fail. You can come to the table with a fresh inspiring perspective, maybe something that has actually never been done before. I think it’s especially important for us, as young leaders in the credit union system, to constantly challenge ourselves. We face so many challenges and changes in our industry; a fresh new perspective is exactly what is needed from young leaders to come up with solutions to current challenges.

Credit unions have paved the way in many aspects, being innovators in the financial industry. I bet many of those ideas were the direct result of innovators that were initially turned down, but kept persisting. Some of those Credit Union firsts were inconceivable and had never been thought of or seen as bad ideas, but they turned out to be the way of the future and all the other financial institutions then followed along.

Set your own path in regards to leadership, but remember that going against the grain can be a positive, but difficult task that is in its own is very rewarding.

Summer Allen
New Community Credit Union